Posted by Vi Hughes on Jul 16, 2019
This week we head from Mike Brecken, a Wealth Planning Director with BMO and also Nesbitt Burns. Mike said that he helps clients to develop comprehensive wealth plans in conjunction with a team that includes an estate planner, a tax planner, an insurance specialist, a business succession planner and a cross-border tax specialist. The first things they look at are the family members, corporate organisation, estimates of returns (using conservative estimates), tax planning, insurance planning, philanthropy, disability planning, family law issues and estate planning.
 
They determine the client’s goals and objectives in order to customize the best plan for them. Financial planning is then used to develop a current net worth and work forwards taking into consideration things like business partnerships, transition from a business ownership, the impact of capital gains, sale of assets and the possible use of an estate freeze to make the transition easier for your heirs in the future.
 
He then discussed each of these items in more detail and the pros and cons of each, using examples of how common situations such as the ownership of a second home, or a home in the US can affect your plans. He said that we should all ensure that we have a will, a power of attorney and a personal directive in place to ensure we can be looked after if we become incapacitated and to ensure the smooth passage of our estate to our heirs after death. He discussed the use of a Henson trust to ensure income for any handicapped family members and then talked about some ways to make probate easier and ways to include philanthropy in your plan. In particular, he said that if you wish to leave money to a charity on your death it is best to state an actual number rather than a percentage value, as this can greatly complicate matters for your executor. He also said that you should be careful when choosing your executor as this can be a very complicated job. If you do not have anyone you think can handle it, the bank can also serve as an executor and that they charge the same fees that an independent executor is entitled to charge.
 
In closing, he said that they tie all of these things together to set up the best plan for you and that any advisor you have should also be doing the same, with a focus on things such as family, business and legacies.