What is an Estate?

An estate is everything you own or owe at the time of your death. While there are no estate taxes in Canada, most provinces charge fees to process (or probate) your Will—and these fees are based on the amount of your assets.

Estate planning may help reduce these fees and the taxes owed. A financial planner will help you understand what makes sense for you and work with your legal and tax advisors to customize your plan.

Important Steps in Your Estate Plan

Create a Will

Your Will is the cornerstone of your estate plan, outlining who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes, and how you want your assets to be distributed.

Close If you own private company shares or property in more than one place—whether that’s in different provinces within Canada, or different countries around the globe you may want more than one Will. A multiple Will strategy can help you minimize probate taxes. Ask a financial planner how it works.

Name an Executor (Liquidator in Quebec)

This is the person or corporation that is responsible for making sure that your wishes are followed after your death. Your executor is also in charge of issuing payment from your bank account to cover your debts and taxes.

Set Up a Power of Attorney (Mandate in Quebec)

A Power of Attorney gives someone you trust the power to make financial and/or healthcare decisions on your behalf if and when it’s necessary.

See Important Conversations to Have with Loved Ones

Make Your Wishes Clear

It’s important to be very clear about who will receive your assets and what those assets are. Make sure your beneficiaries are stated in your Will and on your various plans and insurance policies.

Close You can leave your RRSP, RRIF or TFSA to your spouse or any other individual(s) by designating this person as a beneficiary on your plan. This allows your registered plans to bypass probate and may reduce the amount of probate taxes your estate has to pay.

Evaluate Your Insurance

Life insurance pays a tax-free benefit to your beneficiaries upon your death. Depending on how you set it up, insurance may bypass your Will, resulting in a quicker transfer to your heirs. For business owners, insurance is an important part of minimizing any business interruption resulting from an unexpected illness, disability or death.

Make Funeral Arrangements

It’s something nobody wants to doso why leave it to your family? Making pre-planned arrangements can reduce stress, costs and confusion during an already emotional time.

Divorced? Update Your Will

Though the law varies from province to province, a divorce doesn’t typically cancel a Will or revoke a Power of Attorney. Is it time to revisit your estate plan?

See Protecting Myself Financially in a Divorce

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Settling an Estate

RBC Financial Planning is a business name used by Royal Mutual Funds Inc. (RMFI). Financial planning services and investment advice are provided by RMFI. RMFI, RBC Global Asset Management Inc., Royal Bank of Canada, Royal Trust Corporation of Canada and The Royal Trust Company are separate corporate entities which are affiliated. RMFI is licensed as a financial services firm in the province of Quebec.

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