Tax and Estate Planning

Have you written your financial autobiography?

How will your life’s wealth story be told? A financial autobiography ensures that in life, in death, in life beyond death, you have a plan for your wealth so that your money lives longer than you. Here are 6 steps to create a plan that will allow your money to live on for generations.

1. Let your beneficiaries know that they’ll be receiving an inheritance.

Create an information package and share it with your loved ones. By having conversations years before there’s a critical need, you’ll ensure a smoother transition of your wealth to your heirs. What should you discuss? There is no right or wrong answer here. Topics will vary from family to family, including wills, location of important documents, even advance care planning and funeral and burial preferences. The idea is that you have a conversation that will allow your money to live on for generations.

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Watermark Stone WealthHave you written your financial autobiography?
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Managing savings when you are self-employed

Freedom is often a word associated with the self-employed, but being your own boss requires a lot of organization around your savings and retirement. We explore tips for managing savings when you are self-employed.

Small businesses account for 71% of the total labour force in Canada.1 That’s a lot of people who are experiencing the new normal workforce – no pension plan, no group RRSP, and no employer helping you manage your obligations back to CRA. As independent business owners, we live these issues every day. We can help you manage fluctuations in your income so you can sustain your lifestyle while also saving for retirement.

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Watermark Stone WealthManaging savings when you are self-employed
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4 key topics to cover every year

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Your financial plan is a living, breathing, document. As your life changes and you experience different life events and stages, it will need to be updated. We’ve outlined 4 key topics to cover every year with your advisor:

1. Am I on track?

There are two main portions of a financial plan; savings and growth. You are in charge of contributing the agreed upon amount of money to your investment accounts. Did you meet your savings goals? Your advisor is responsible for managing the investments in your accounts. When you put your plan together you agreed upon a rate of return you need in order to reach your goals. Did you reach your growth goal?
Review your plan. You may need to make changes when you:

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Watermark Stone Wealth4 key topics to cover every year
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Creating a care plan with your loved one

Acting as caregiver for a loved one will test your emotions, physical strength and patience. Creating a care plan with your loved one can provide clarity and guidance.

We are very lucky in Canada to have government health care, but many Canadians believe that it is more all-encompassing than it is. Most Canadians believe that our health act guarantees our care services. It is simply untrue.

Generally speaking, care for loved ones can be very limited. Governments are strapped for money and cuts continue throughout the CCAC (Community Care Access Centre). The onus of responsibility will shift to the Local Health Integration Networks (LIHN)1 In turn, these cuts mean that family members are the ones that will have to provide care for their elderly loved ones, and/or pay for private care.

How many hours a week of private care would you need? Let’s visit Karen, and her daughter Lucy:

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Watermark Stone WealthCreating a care plan with your loved one
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7 resourceful ways to use your tax refund

Did you receive a tax refund this year? What should you do with it – spend it, save it, or pay off debt? We’ve compiled 7 resourceful ways to use your tax refund.

First off, the best thing you can do is try to avoid getting a tax refund next year. It’s called a refund for a reason. That cash represents the amount you overpaid in taxes during the year. If you often make a big RRSP contribution you might want to think about asking your employer to deduct less tax off of your pay. You won’t get a refund in the spring, but you’ll have more money in your pocket on a monthly basis during the year.

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Watermark Stone Wealth7 resourceful ways to use your tax refund
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A Guide to 2016 Tax Reporting

Rufus_holding_envelope

Meet Rufus, your friendly neighbourhood mail carrier. Rufus has started delivering your 2016 tax slips and documents and will be bringing more to your doorstep over the coming days.

We know you are itching to get your tax return completed, that’s why we do our very best to dispatch Rufus shortly after receiving information from issuers.

To aid you in your collection of tax slips we’ve created a guide just for you. It outlines the slips and documents you may receive, the information they provide and their purpose.

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Watermark Stone WealthA Guide to 2016 Tax Reporting
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Passwords are driving executors mad!

Passwords are driving the modern day executor mad! Without a paper trail to follow, many executors find themselves puzzling over finances when people die.

In an article posted by The Globe and Mail on Dec 2, 2015, What’s Mom’s password? Online accounts and estate-planning headaches, Augusta Dwyer writes about a son who inherited his late mother’s iPad – but not its password. Despite providing Apple with a death certificate, a copy of the will, and a lawyer’s letter outlining the fact that he was co-executor of the will, Apple was not forthcoming with the password. While Dwyer writes that Apple did eventually relent, the story highlights a problem that the modern executor often comes face to face with: How am I to manage an estate I can’t access?

Executors in our digital world have a tougher time than their paper-loving predecessors. In years gone by executors were able to rummage through shoe boxes and file folders to find statements providing clues to financial lives. The digital world is a bit more complex, and it’s not just Twitter, Facebook, and email accounts causing the concern.

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Watermark Stone WealthPasswords are driving executors mad!
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The family that estate plans together stays together

Transitioning your wealth smoothly means being open and honest with your family and communicating your wishes to them. This time of family gathering can lend itself beautifully into discussions around estate planning – without breaking up the family. We have found that the family that estate plans together, stays together.

December is here!! Another year is almost in the books and for many, this month will be full of family gatherings and many holiday meals. It can be a wonderful time with generations of families gathering around the dinner table to eat, share stories and talk about traditions that have been passed along for many, many years.

Aside from the usual banter of best recipes or best kids/ grandkids or how inappropriate poor Aunt May has been at the dinner table, this time of family gathering can also lend itself beautifully into discussions around Estate Planning… without breaking up the family!!

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Watermark Stone WealthThe family that estate plans together stays together
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The Retirement Plan Protector

You’ve created a financial plan, great! But what if life doesn’t happen as planned? One of the most effective contingency plans is Long Term Care Insurance.

At Watermark Stone Wealth we want our clients to have a pay cheque and a play cheque for beyond life expectancy. With proper planning this can be your reality. But, to paraphrase wise Robert Burns “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry”. That’s why we include contingencies in our planning. One of the most effective contingency plans is Long Term Care Insurance. Our Insurance Consultant, Sophie Moryoussef walks you through why contingencies matter.

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Watermark Stone WealthThe Retirement Plan Protector
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50% of Canadians don’t have a will

Did you know that 50% of adult Canadians do not have a valid will in place? I hope you aren’t one of these people, but if you are, know that you are in good company. For those of you who do have a Will, congratulations!!! It’s a good start. The truth is that a Will is the cornerstone of an effective estate plan, but adept estate planning involves more than just “making a Will”.

Your Estate Plan should cover:

  • powers of attorney
  • beneficiary designations
  • nature of property ownership
  • trusts
  • selecting the “right” executor (liquidator in Quebec)
  • probate and tax planning

All elements should be considered in order to create an integrated, effective estate plan.

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Watermark Stone Wealth50% of Canadians don’t have a will
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