Estate Planning Resolutions – 3 Easy Estate Tips to Use Before Super Bowl Sunday

Super Bowl Sunday is coming, and I am making plans already. My lists include who is coming over to watch the game, what to eat and drink. I’m digging up recipes for dips, wings and chili. I have time to stock up on exotic beers. And, oh, some low carb beers to help keep some resolutions.

Are you still trying to keep your resolutions? If you wanted to create an estate plan there’s still time. I’ll give you three tips to get it done before the big game.

To make it easier, I have a bonus to help. It’s a free ebook I wrote called “Are You Risking Your Family’s Future?” It will score a touchdown for your family. You have no obligations.

Three tips to make your estate plan resolutions

It’s not too late to complete your estate planning resolutions. You have three weeks before the game. That is enough time to do it.

1. Set a date.

Having a target to sign estate planning documents helps you follow through on resolutions. You need to find the right lawyer to give you two appointments. The first will be to review your needs and legal requirements. The second date is to sign your documents before February’s game.

Everyone doing estate planning can benefit from proper legal advice. If you are so sure your online forms will work, have a lawyer check them. Make sure you use lawyers who spend at least 25% of their time making wills.

2. Do something every day.

Start the conversation with your family over coffee. Read my free estate planning guide, Estate Planning: 7 Keys to Success. It’s a plain language how to guide.

Meeting with a lawyer can be stressful. Find out if you will be charged by a block fee or by time. Either way, make sure you come prepared. Make a list of your questions. This ensures you get the most from your meeting.

3. Plan a reward.

Estate planning is the right thing to do for your loved ones. Having powers of attorney can also protect you and your money. So celebrate super bowl style with a party. It does not have to be more expensive than having jumbo shrimp or real crab in the dip. Promise yourself something for a job well done.

Include Wills and Powers of Attorney in your plan

Your Estate Plan has a variety of tools, including these three documents:

1) Will to name executors to distribute your property.

2) Power of Attorney for your financial affairs.

3) Power of Attorney for health-care decisions.

Let’s look at the essential documents you’ll need:

 1. Will

 • Names an executor and backup executor

 • Names beneficiaries of gifts and allows for tax planning

 • Appoints trustee to hold gifts in trust

 • Appoints guardians to care for underage children

 2. Power of Attorney for Property or Finances

 • Names someone as a financial attorney

 • Specifies conditions and/or restrictions on your attorney

 • Is effective while you are alive

 • Usually states it is valid if you are incapable (durable)

 3. Power of Attorney for Personal or Medical Care

 • Also called health or medical care attorney proxies

 • Authorizes health and personal-care decision makers

 • May include attachments regarding your medical directives or treatment optionsŸ

 • Valid only if you cannot make your own decisions

Don`t fumble the ball. Get my free super bowl special “Are You Risking Your Family’s Future?” Discover the secret winning moves instantly by reading my free ebook. Please let me know if you find it helpful.

See my related posts and FAQs:

 • Target Your Estate Planning Resolutions

 • Estate Planning Extra to Consider

 • Ontario Estate Planning FAQs

About Edward Olkovich

Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and estate expert. He is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of Executor Kung Fu. Visit his website,, for more free valuable information.

© Edward Olkovich 2013


New Year’s Resolutions to Protect Your Money and Family

Here are three resolutions that you can make for the New Year. Use them and my tips to protect your money and your family. Then you can pop that cork. Celebrate your good start to the New Year.

1. Resolve to Have a Plan to Save Taxes

How do you make sure you don’t pay more taxes than you should? By having a tax-planned and professionally prepared will.

Wills, after all, control the taxes that you will pay when you transfer your wealth. If you are like most Canadians, your largest tax bill is your terminal or final tax return.

In Canada, we have no estate tax, but our neighbors to the south worry about estate taxes. In Canada, the government deems that you sold your capital property on your death. In other words, all the capital gains become taxable on the final return. That final return is the one your executor files for you.

The tax rules treat certain assets as income. The tax liability on stocks or investment properties – not your principal residence – can cost you tens of thousands of dollars.

What is the best way to minimize your tax bite? Consult a professional to help with your tax and estate planning. Your advisor can then minimize the tax bite and help your arrange your affairs.

Merely correctly owning your assets can defer capital gains and avoid probate taxes.

Here is another tip on registered plans like RSPs and RIFs. The value of the plan is included as income for your tax return on the year of death. There are exceptions that save you almost 50% of your plan. Make the beneficiary a qualifying spouse, dependent child or grandchild.

Ensuring you have the correct beneficiaries on registered plans protects money and benefits your family.

All tax advice should come from qualified advisors. But keep reading to see why saving taxes should not be your only motivation.

2. Resolve to prevent arguments over your money

When an estate dispute occurs, everyone has to hire a lawyer. Your family can dump what seemed like truckloads of money onto lawyers’ laps.

You can’t guarantee your family won’t fight over your money. But you can lower the risks with proper estate planning. Get an experienced estate lawyer to advise you but:

  • Never forget that you have moral and legal obligations to meet. Failing to provide for a married spouse, common law spouse or financial dependent can cause your estate to end up in court. The fees to settle such disputes can be significant.
  • Inconsistent wording in a poorly prepared will can cause people to go to court over your intentions.
  • With Powers of Attorney, someone you trust can protect your money during your lifetime.

3.  Resolve to avoid money mismanagement

The executor of your estate can mismanage your money. So choose the right executor for your will. Choosing an estate trustee nobody can get along with is a big mistake.

Judges will not blame beneficiaries who must remove an incompetent or dishonest estate executor. When you fix an executor’s mistakes, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars.

What if the judge blames you for choosing the wrong person?  Judges can make your estate pay for the legal battle with your own money.

If your family ends up in court fighting to remove the executor, it can cost tens of thousands of dollars. Fighting will only waste you and your family’s money.

Happy New Year to All!

See My Related posts and ebook

About Edward Olkovich

Edward Olkovich (BA, LLB, TEP, C.S.) is a nationally recognized author and estate expert. He is a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts. Edward has practiced law since 1978 and is the author of seven books. Visit his website,, for more free valuable information.

© Edward Olkovich 2012