FINANCIAL PLANNING SERVICES

Tax Planning

Tax planning impacts all areas of your personal and corporate finances. Decisions involving the timing of income, the purchase and/or the sale of an asset, selection of investments and the way you save for a major purchase or your retirement, all play a role in managing your current and future tax obligations.

The primary purpose of tax planning is to explore ways to accomplish the objectives of your financial plan in the most tax-efficient manner possible, allowing all elements to interact more effectively. However, while minimizing income tax is a common goal of any financial plan, it is important to not let tax be the only reason for deciding whether to implement any one strategy.

Another purpose of tax planning is to estimate the future tax liability of your estate to ensure there is adequate liquidity to settle all liabilities. Minimizing taxes due at death to maximize the value of your estate for your heirs is also a common goal of tax planning.

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Retirement Planning

Retirement planning is the process of managing your assets with the goal of achieving financial independence, so that earning an income is optional rather than a necessity. Although impacted by all areas of financial planning, it is highly integrated with Financial Management and Investment Management due to the dependency on available cash flow and the growth of investment savings.

A well-prepared retirement plan should provide you with clear options so that you can make informed decisions and accumulate the retirement assets you will need. Your plan should also address the most common questions many people have:

  1. Will I have enough income when I retire to do the things I want?
  2. How soon can I retire based on my current investments and future savings?
  3. Where should I be invested and what rate of return do I need to achieve?
  4. How much will I need in my retirement accounts, and am I contributing enough?

For people nearing retirement, another important purpose of retirement planning is to assess when to apply for Canada Pension Plan (CPP) and Old Age Security (OAS). Determining the optimal age to begin taking government benefits requires careful analysis. Select the wrong age and you could cost yourself thousands in additional income taxes and/or lost benefits over your lifetime.

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Estate Planning

Estate planning is a formal process whereby an individual arranges for the orderly disposal of their personal and corporate assets to eliminate uncertainties over administration and probate. Although impacted by all areas of financial planning, estate planning is highly integrated with tax planning as all capital property is deemed to be disposed of immediately prior to death, triggering any deferred taxes.

An important purpose of estate planning is estimating the liquidity needs of your estate to insure there is adequate capital available to pay income taxes and other costs associated with probate. Not planning for the capital needs of your estate can create additional expenses related to forced liquidation of assets at a value less than expected.

The focus of your estate planning will be determined by your specific goals and needs, and can be as simple or complex as your situation dictates. To ensure your family has a clear understanding of your intentions and to minimize the possibility of resentment between family members due to confusion over who gets what, you should maintain a Gifting Inventory of all gifts made prior to your death. You may also want to maintain a Memorandum of Wishes to provide any final requests, instructions for the distribution of personal property or advice you may want to give.

In addition to leaving informal instructions, your estate plan should include several legal documents including a Will, Power of Attorney, Personal Directive and possibly one or more Trusts.

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