A key issue in estate planning that parents struggle with is, "at what age should children inherit?", says estate planning lawyer Margaret O'Sullivan, founder and managing partner of O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers LLP.
The answer to this question is: it depends on the individual children and the complexity and value of your assets as they accrue in value. There are a variety of solutions to pass wealth to children at appropriate ages, often involving using a trust which can have a number of advantages in protecting a child's inheritance.
O'Sullivan and her team are the authors of ‘Trust and Estate Essentials: Achieving Success in Family Succession,’ Second Edition.
"We wrote this book to provide a resource on a number of important estate planning and administration topics, and to help clarify and demystify major issues that arise in family wealth succession," says O'Sullivan.
She offers these tips for effective estate planning:
Estate planning is a continuing process, not a destination. Assets change: you buy a cottage, sell a business, and accumulate wealth over time. Divorces happen. Your executor is now incapable. Estate and tax laws change. Your child moves to the U.S. You have a new grandchild! You need to update your estate plan regularly.
The needs of each person are unique. There is no ‘one size fits all’ in estate planning. A tailored estate plan carefully prepared to reflect your values and to achieve your individual objectives and goals will give you peace of mind.
Smart estate planning also includes probate fee and tax planning and thinking ahead. Upon death, there will be a tax bill owing which can often be reduced with good planning to achieve optimal results. If you own international assets, you may be double-taxed.
This edition offers practical tips and suggestions for passing on wealth to family members and achieving success in doing so.
‒ Private Wealth Canada Staff