When it comes to estate planning, getting professional advice is worth it

21 December 2021 by National Bank Investments
Multigenerational and diverse family photo

According to Dr. Tom Deans, intergenerational wealth expert and best-selling author of Every Family's Business and Willing Wisdom, there are 12.5M Canadian adults that do not have a will1. Perhaps you are one of them? Why are so many people reluctant to getting one? Maybe it’s an uncomfortable topic that many people want to avoid. Here are some of Dr. Toms Deans key insights to better explain will and estate planning and demonstrate how professionals are helpful resources along the way.

Why should I consider estate planning?

The global pandemic crisis has been a wake-up call for many, illustrating just how precarious health and life can be. If someone is affected by unpredictable life events, no one wants their estate or other very personal aspects of their life to be determined by governmental laws, institutions, or distant relatives.

Yet half of Canadians2 do not have a will, an executor, or health care directives. In other words, many of us have no plan in place. The good news is that it’s never too late to start planning.

Where do I start?

Engaging in estate planning allows you to look to the future with confidence and, most importantly, to make informed decisions.

If you’ve ever asked yourself some of the following questions, you’ll probably appreciate professional advice and assistance in some of these areas:

  • How much money do I need to retire?
  • Will I have enough money to fund my long-term care?
  • When can I start giving money to my children or grandchildren?
  • How can I teach the next generation to be savvy investors?
  • What contributions can I make to philanthropy, charities, the community?

One of the main benefits of going through this exercise with an advisor will be to determine how much money you will need at retirement. Afterwards, having the freedom to use the excess capital as you wish, will bring you immense satisfaction. 

Why should I involve my advisor?

Considering your specific needs, your advisor will be able to offer professional advice on a wide variety of topics, such as selecting an executor, finding an attorney, defining health care directives, mitigating taxes, avoiding litigation, conducting comprehensive family meetings and more.

Your advisor can help you go through these complex matters with clarity, ensuring your plan is well managed and reflects your evolving situation and your wishes over the course of your lifetime.

Even without the complexities of asset division and unpredictable family reactions, talking about money isn't always easy. Therefore, you’ll appreciate the experience and the knowledge of an advisor in this specific context.

Should my family members be involved?

One of the first recommendations an advisor will make is to hold family meetings. The practice and skills of the counsellor are a must here.

The advisor will provide professional expertise and support so that members with varying levels of financial literacy are all able to understand the issues and make informed decisions.

Under favorable conditions, dialogue can help address several delicate issues:

  • Would anyone like to continue the family business3?
  • Want to act as executor?
  • Be willing to care for their aging parents if it became necessary?
  • Want to keep and maintain the cottage? And so on.

Providing a supportive environment to facilitate these meetings goes without saying. It allows the most delicate points to be discussed in a respectful way with all generations concerned. Above all, it makes it possible to resolve latent conflicts, ensuring the transmission and conservation of the heritage according to clear instructions endorsed by all.

What are the benefits of will and estate planning?

Engaging with your family in estate planning is more than passing on tangible assets to future generations. It's about learning to talk about money with confidence and developing healthy attitudes towards financial well-being. And even more rewarding, it's about giving true meaning to the family legacy.

Plus, surprisingly, no more than 30 minutes annually is required to maintain your plan. It’s the easiest way to ensure that when life surprises us, because it will unfortunately, you and your family will be in the best position to make a smooth, quick, and timely wealth transition.

After all, isn’t it the most extraordinary legacy a person can leave behind?


1Dr. Tom Deans, intergenerational wealth expert and best-selling author of Every Family's Business and Willing Wisdom

 2Dr. Tom Deans webinar, The Top 6 Estate Planning Ideas Successful Families Master

 3 Beyond the family tree: How advisors should broach the family business legacy planning topic

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The information and opinions herein are provided for information purposes only and are subject to change. The opinions are not intended as investment advice nor are they provided to promote any particular investments and should in no way form the basis for your investment decisions. National Bank Investments Inc. has taken
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