Top Questions to Initiate Estate Planning Conversations

Most people do not like to consider their own mortality – I know I sure don’t. And this is why the discussion of estate planning is often a neglected aspect of financial planning.

But with our aging population, in fact one statistic indicates that 1 in 4 Canadians will be a senior by 2030, the need for financial advisors to start the estate planning discussion with their clients has never been more urgent.

As a trusted advisor your mission is to safeguard and enhance your clients’ legacies with tailored strategies that seamlessly integrate personal and business wealth into a comprehensive Estate Plan.

Here are 8 questions designed to spark conversations on Estate Planning with your clients and help assess interest in exploring further possibilities:

  1. Is there an intention to distribute an estate equally among children, and if so, is there sufficient liquidity available immediately after death to accomplish this without selling assets or incurring debt?
  2. Are preferred shares held personally with a fixed value? Is there a plan in place to provide immediate liquidity to cover taxes that the CRA will expect shortly after death?
  3. Is there interest in exploring strategies to leave significantly more tax-paid wealth to heirs and preferred charities, while drastically reducing estate tax obligations to the CRA through charitable donations?
  4. In cases of owning shares in a Holding or Investment corporation, is there awareness that the CRA deems these shares disposed of at fair market value upon death, expecting timely tax payments from the estate? Is there enough cash on hand to prevent the need to sell assets or incur debt?
  5. If a Family Trust is in place, who are the beneficiaries, and when does the trust reach its 21-year mark? Is there awareness that, unless properly planned, the CRA will deem the trust to have disposed of its assets at fair market value at the 21-year anniversary and assess taxes accordingly?
  6. Considering the highly favorable tax treatment of permanent life insurance, is there awareness that pre-tax internal rates of return to life expectancy could likely exceed 10%, compounded annually?
  7. For those with investments in safe, low-yielding fixed income that won’t be needed during one’s lifetime, is there interest in learning how to leave substantially more to heirs with lower risk and less taxes paid?
  8. The concept of an Estate Anchor using Universal Life insurance allows for transferring 100% of the investment risk to an AA credit quality third party (e.g., Manulife, Canada Life, Sun Life), ensuring the estate value will never be less than the amount covered under the policy.

We’re here to help you provide the very best in estate planning advise to your clients. Reach out to me anytime at 905-331-2285 or email me at [email protected].

jordan matters 2 leyland matters insurance solutions

Jordan Matters CPA, CA, CIM

Partner, Leyland & Matters Private Client Insurance Advisors

Jordan brings focused expertise in accounting, taxation, and investment management. A graduate with an Honours Bachelor of Accounting from Brock University, Jordan’s career transitioned from public accounting to wealth management, where his strategic acumen in financial planning shines. His dedication to professional growth and community involvement positions him as a trusted advisor for clients looking to protect and enrich their legacies.