Estate & Succession Planning
Minimize your tax liability while maximizing your legacy
What is Estate/Succession Planning?
Estate planning is the process of arranging your assets and finances so that they can be passed to the next generation upon your death. The goal of estate planning is to minimize your tax liability while maximizing your legacy via the amount of wealth that you can pass to your heirs and beneficiaries. The way you plan your estate can have an immense impact on how you are remembered by family, friends, and community.
Estate Planning in Saskatchewan
The most critical aspect of estate planning is the authoring of a will that directs how your estate will be divided among your beneficiaries in the event of death. If you die without authoring a will, the distribution of your assets will be carried out according to the Intestate Succession Act of Saskatchewan, and you’ll get no say in who your beneficiaries are and what they get. In addition, you’ll probably end up paying a lot more tax.
In some cases, the executor of the estate may have to file for letters probate, essentially a court order that confirms the validity of the will. Probate fees in Saskatchewan are $7.00 per $1000.00 value of the estate, so an estate worth $500,000 would incur $3500 in probate fees. Probate fees can be avoided in several ways:
In addition to establishing heirs and beneficiaries through a will and avoiding probate fees, folks doing estate planning in Saskatchewan can:
Estate Planning for Saskatchewan Farmers
The Saskatchewan farmers that we work with face significant challenges in the area of estate planning. If the family farm is part of your generational legacy, you may want to pass it on to your children – and that’s where the problems start.
Invariably, one or more children want to work on the farm and keep it in the family. One or more children will want to sell the farm to pursue some other dream, and one may want to simply live on the farm and not work at all. As a parent (and as an estate planner), the most difficult situations to navigate are the ones with competing interests and big consequences.
For most farmers, the ultimate estate planning question is “How can I leave something unique and valued for each of my children while keeping everyone happy and keeping the farm in the family?” At ATA Financial, we work with you to understand your unique circumstances and build an estate and succession plan that fulfills your wishes.
By capturing the emotional and financial aspects of estate planning, we’ve helped farmers across the province enhance their legacies for the next generation.
Frequently Asked Questions about Estate Planning in Saskatchewan
There is no death tax or estate inheritance tax in Canada, but there are some other important tax considerations when someone dies. The executor of the will must file a deceased tax return to square up any income tax owing at the time of death. Once the income tax has been paid, the executor should file for a clearance certificate before distributing any property from the estate.
If a spouse inherits the estate, un-registered assets can be transferred directly to their ownership. If the beneficiary is not a surviving spouse or common-law partner, the deceased is considered to have sold all their capital property immediately before dying at a fair market rate. If any of these assets have increased in value, there could be a capital gains tax of 50% applied to them. An effective estate and succession plan can help reduce the total amount of capital gains and income taxes payable to the government upon death.
When someone dies owing money, creditors may try to recoup some of that money from the estate. There are limitations though – RRSPs and RRIF annuities are both protected from creditors, as are life insurance policies that have a designated beneficiary other than the estate. Money kept in a trust is also protected from creditors.
Our Three-Bucket Approach to Estate and Succession Planning
Our three-bucket approach to estate and succession planning is simple. You’ve got three buckets to fill with money from your estate: one bucket for your kids, one bucket for charity and one bucket for the Canada Revenue Agency. Which buckets would you like to fill the most? Let us show you how to get the most value out of your estate. Together, we can:
Review your existing will and estate plan while learning more about your desires and intentions for passing along your wealth to the next generation
Explore the personal and emotional aspects of your estate & succession planning strategy
Create a customized estate & succession plan that gives you full control of how your property will be distributed, reduces your tax burden and probate fees and ensures that your family members will be cared for after you’re gone.