Perspective – Estate Process Part 5 : Preparing the Next Generation

Perspective – Estate Process Part 5 : Preparing the Next Generation

Estate Process – Part #5

This may be the most important objective as you establish an estate process!

Preparing the next generation.

You have spent a lifetime providing for your family and your retirement financial needs.  To just dump your hard-earned assets after you and your spouse no longer need them without sufficient direction does seem a little simple.  What if you could help to ensure that your assets would continue in the values and principles that had guided you in life?  It would be comforting to know that your family and beneficiaries respected the financial responsibility you have entrusted to them.  Preparing the next generation is something that should start now or as early as 6 or 8 years old.  It is an activity in which you should take leadership as you develop your Estate process.  Here are a couple of brief points to consider.

  1. Parents are the primary teachers of money and money management.
  2. The best legacy is to pass along the values before passing along the money!
  3. Family values, generosity and money management skills are transferrable.
  4. More is caught than taught!
  5. Children learn to manage money by managing money. It can have generational impact!
  6. Recognize that your family & beneficiaries are unique individuals each maybe requiring different treatment, yet you love them the same.
  7. How best can you help them flourish, mature and grow in their life and with their family?

Family Involvement.

In most cases, if you have family, they will be involved in the execution of your Will and estate.  So many times after a person passes away, there are questions and a significant level of surprise as family and beneficiaries learn for the first time what estate objectives have been established and who has responsibilities.  At that point there is no opportunity to clarify any reasoning with the deceased.

In light of keeping the next generation prepared it is good to plan and host a family meeting.  Once your estate process is reviewed and set with counsel from your legal, tax and financial advisors, it is good to ensure that all family members know of your general plans and who has responsibilities as your Executors and Power of Attorneys.  During this family time you can share your heart for the settlement of your estate and any desired actions for your Power of Attorneys.  You can remind your loved ones of the life skills and financial management you have taught by your example.  Your family will gain a level of confidence if a portion of this meeting can be arranged with your legal or professional counsel present to explain the general plans you have made and answer any questions.  It is important that if some family members cannot attend due to distance that they be able to attend via the conferencing or virtual platforms available today.

You can prevent a ‘scavenger hunt’ by showing your executors where all the details are kept and making sure that required documents and contacts are in one place.  These files should be reviewed regularly and at least every few years to ensure that there are no required changes or additions.  Once your family have an initial understanding of your estate process, any future changes are easily communicated.


This series of articles are not exhaustive by any means.  Yet their purpose is to provide a strong encouragement  for you to prioritize your estate and POA preparations and get things in order.  Not only will it give you a significant sense of peace, it will save your loved ones from a lot of additional grief when help is needed most.  There is no better time than right now.  Make the call to the professionals who can assist you with your estate process!  They have the resources to help you get started.

Perspective – Estate Process Part 4 : Practical Steps

Perspective – Estate Process Part 4 : Practical Steps

Estate Process – Part #4

As the Estate process continues, consider some of these practical steps that may help achieve a desired & efficient transfer of estate assets.


Some good, cost-effective estate planning can be achieved through the following opportunities. The key here is to determine the most appropriate and tax efficient distribution of your assets to provide for the care of those you leave behind.

1. Establishing appropriate named beneficiaries

Naming beneficiaries on products such as life insurance, RRSPs, Pensions and TFSAs will take those assets out of your estate and in most cases transfer them directly to your beneficiaries.  It is important to note that any tax obligations remain the responsibility of the estate.  It is also important to ensure that your named beneficiaries are consistent with and in the same percentages as desired or directed in your Will.  For some estates it may be best to distribute all assets through the direction of the Will.

2. Consider the spousal roll over provisions

CRA provides for a spousal roll-over provision that will defer tax obligations for the surviving spouse.  This means that on the death of the first spouse, there would be minimal tax burden on transferred assets. A significant tax burden could restrict the survivor’s ability to manage life financially.

3. Setting up joint ownership of some assets

Establishing joint ownership of some assets (either with survivorship or as joint tenants) can allow for an efficient transfer of ownership at death.  Some or all of these assets will generally not form part of an estate.  Transferring ownership of property (i.e. real estate, equity investments) may cause a taxable disposition or future tax obligation.  It is important to seek good counsel on these decisions.

4. Possibilities of trusts

Some of the tax advantages of trusts have been reduced in recent years.  A trust can be established while you are alive or set up as instructed in your will.  There can be trusts for disabled dependents, families and for charitable wishes.  Trusts can take different forms and are generally fairly complex demanding annual filings and reporting by trustees.  Again, good counsel is required.


Life Insurance policies can be your estate’s best friend.  Death benefits are tax free and can be paid directly to your estate or beneficiaries.  There are a variety of insurance policies and each have advantages for the right circumstance.  Consider the advantage of a tax free death benefit to your estate or beneficiaries.  You may want to consider how your life insurance policies can provide increased benefits through available dividend options.  Some estates will have an unavoidable tax obligation at death, and life insurance benefits can provide the means by which your estate will not be eroded by these taxes.  In other words, make sure your life insurance is working as best as possible for you.  Good advice from an insurance professional is important.


Many people have had a special interest in their church and in specific charities throughout life.  These charities can provide your estate with interesting and tax effective options that in turn provide you with the comfort of knowing that you are able to include a lasting legacy and contribution as part of your estate.  Charitable donations can counter a portion of the potential tax obligations calculated on your terminal tax return.  There are a number of provisions allowed by CRA for estates to direct funds or assets to registered charities and reduce tax obligations (i.e. donating securities).  Most of us would rather support a charity of our interest and choice then to have more taxes paid.

Next time, our final article in this series, yet maybe one of significant importance!

Perspective – Estate Process Part 3 : Estate Issues & Action List

Perspective – Estate Process Part 3 : Estate Issues & Action List

Estate Process – Part #3

In this third part of the series on the Estate Process we will start to outline some specific areas everyone should consider before it is too late. This series is meant to be a general explanation of estate issues and help you to generate an action list. Each person needs to seek council for their unique situations.

1. Having an up-to-date Will document, designed to accommodate your specific wishes, is extremely important. If you don’t have your own Will, you may be interested to know that the Government has one prepared for you, but it might not be considerate of your wishes. You can actually have more than one Will to direct your estate. For instance, if you have ownership in a business or corporation, you might want a Will appointing someone with more specialized skills to help your estate deal with those assets. Your personal assets would be directed according to your personal Will by the executors you have chosen for that part of your estate.
2. You will also want to ensure that you have your two Powers of Attorney in place; a power of attorney for property and a power of attorney for personal care. Many legal offices will help build the Will and POAs for both you and your spouse at a package price.
3. Be sure that your chosen executors know where to find your estate information when needed and ensure their understanding of any special instructions.
4. Your estate documents should be reviewed at least every 5 to 7 years or if there is a material change in your life.
5. Keep it simple…uncomplicated is good!

There is nothing morbid about having your funeral and burial plans arranged. Having your burial plot purchased and a marker erected is being well prepared. As a final expression of love to your family It would be comforting for them to know of your wishes for your memorial service and for those who might be involved. You can use life insurance or assigned assets to provide for these ‘final’ costs. Or consider setting up a plan through your funeral home to prepay your funeral costs. The more decisions you have made before hand, the easier it is for your loved ones who just want to know what you desire for these arrangements.

Estate Lawyers, Estate and Tax Accountants along with Financial and Investment Planners are professionals who will assist you to plan and ensure that your Will is executable and your estate assets distributed in the most tax efficient and appropriate manner. Let them help you establish a process that is best. They will also be available to your family for advice and assistance when it is needed most. It is imperative that your estate trustees and family know how to contact these professionals for their help.

In the fourth part of our series on estates there will be more practical and specific steps you can take.

Perspective – Estate Process Part 2 : Estate Preparations

Perspective – Estate Process Part 2 : Estate Preparations

Estate Process – Part #2

Further to the last Perspective, this is the second in the series on Estate Planning issues everyone needs to prepare for.  Since the beginning of time, living beings have come to the end of life.  Because no one will avoid this event, it is prudent to be prepared and to instruct those left behind.  In this article, let’s think about a few other perspectives that may help in estate preparations.


As much as a person may want to maximize the benefits after death for their family, handing over significant amounts of assets to beneficiaries may not be a good thing for them.  In most cases your estate is the result of your hard work and that effort is often not understood or appreciated.  Case in point is the call received from a lawyer’s office several years ago requesting that a particular estate liquidation be expedited much faster since one of the beneficiaries had purchased a new Mercedes and needed their estate funds to pay for it.  The deceased person had scrimped and saved through life to be able to provide value for their family.  In most cases, you cannot ensure responsible use of your hard-earned funds by your family.  Be assured that with many families there would be no problem.  Yet money inherited easily can change people who are not prepared.  Some beneficiaries may benefit from a trust that puts certain restrictions on the use of funds or at least controls income and the distribution of assets over a certain time period.


Many people, when planning for their estate affairs and the care of their loved ones, fail to consider that the grieving process may put serious limits on their family’s ability to make good and appropriate choices.  People who are grieving are often vulnerable and may make decisions that they later wish to reverse.  It is important to ensure appropriate counsel from trusted family, friends and advisors who will have your family’s best interests at heart and a clearer head to help navigate through required decisions.


The cost of authenticating a Will and authorizing trustees through the provincial courts is one of those estate requirements that may not be avoidable.  It is commonly referred to as the Probate fees.  Minimizing this tax is good.  However, sometimes an attempt to reduce probate can create unexpected tax or estate costs.  One example would be the potential tax implications if a principal residence is re-registered to joint ownership with family other then your spouse.  Should the new joint owner already own property, a portion of your principal residence may lose its tax advantage.  Changing the ownership of some investments would be another example that may create a deemed disposition triggering a taxable capital gain not anticipated.  Additionally, trying to avoid probate may lead to an inequitable distribution of your estate.  Any assets with joint ownership or a named beneficiary are not typically included in an estate value for distribution.  Surviving joint owners & beneficiaries would legally receive assets outside of your estate and then may also participate in the distribution of assets as directed by your Will.  Some beneficiaries could receive benefits that all beneficiaries were to share equally.

You need good professional advice on the most appropriate distribution and tax effective transfer of assets to your beneficiaries.  It might be better to pay a little and save more.

Perspective – Estate Process Part 1 : Estate Planning Process

Perspective – Estate Process Part 1 : Estate Planning Process

Estate Process – Part #1

If there ever was a topic that most want to avoid…it is the planning process for the settlement of your estate. The reason for the neglect could be because of the following realities: ”I will die!”, “I will take nothing with me!”, “I will probably die at a time I did not anticipate!”, “Someone else will get my ‘stuff’!” Since the beginning of time, it has always been the same. How could it be different now? Yet the way we deal with these realities can be one final act of stewardship and expression of love to those we care about. A person can only decide before they die who gets their ‘stuff’ after death. The end of life is appointed and is similar to an exam. If you study now and prepare, it always helps you finish well.

That is actually the first important point. It needs to be understood that wealth transfer is not an event…it is a process. The estate planning process should start now. Completing the process will bring a heightened sense of peace and confidence in knowing that your family will be looked after while at the same time ensuring your final wishes will be provided for. Just ask those who have already prepared.

The estate process is not only the transfer of your assets and belongings. A well planned estate will take into consideration the impact it will have on beneficiaries. Beneficiaries should never be surprised by the decisions of a benefactor. These decisions will be consistent with the way they lived their life and the priorities that guided their financial decisions.

And take some time to consider these questions. Are the next stewards prepared to responsibly manage what is left to them? Are your heirs, (Spouse, Children or Grandchildren) in a position to understand what would be an effective use of an inheritance that could continue the heritage you have left? Are they trained in the values and priorities that have guided you and that could continue a positive impact on the world they remain in?

Do they have an understanding of or know where to get good counsel on tax & estate laws and investment principles & strategies?

An estate process should not attempt to manipulate behaviour or change lifestyle. Neither should it be controlled by the demands or expectations of beneficiaries. It should help heirs rather than harm them financially. Even though some beneficiaries may need some guidance and protection, trying to establish control ‘from the grave’ may not be advantageous in all relationships.

R.G. LeTourneau once stated that “rather than leave our wealth to our children, we’d rather leave our children to the world.”

One day, all will leave ‘stuff’ to someone else. Doesn’t it make sense to be the one to choose who those “someones” are and be a part of helping them be ready to receive it? A well-prepared plan will relieve stress and give you comfort.

This 5 part series will provide perspectives to strongly encourage you to prioritize an essential process of effective wealth transfer which will, when completed, bring you peace of mind! After that…live!

GIC Clients From Scugog Financial


Brian J. Evans Financial Services Inc. (Evans Financial) has reached an agreement with Scugog Financial to take over the management of their deposit (GIC) client assets.  Michael Konopaski and Megan Irwin, (pictured from left) have been looking after their client’s GIC investments for several years now.

Evans Financial continues to assist clients in the GTA communities and beyond, as they have since 1965 when the business was started by W. Laurence & Olive Evans.  Brian Evans, (pictured on the right) and staff make it their job to maintain a high level of service to all their clients.  At Evans Financial, Guaranteed Investment Certificates (GICs) are investment products intentionally offered to clients who are looking for shorter-term objectives or who want a higher level of security for their invested capital.  Evans Financial welcomes those clients from Scugog Financial and sincerely thank Michael and Megan for their years of service.

Perspective – Borrowing & Debt

Perspective – Borrowing & Debt

April, 2021

“I didn’t even know what I needed until I went to the Mall!”

We might laugh at that comment, albeit a little nervously! We all know that is so true in our own life
experiences. We have heard the ad tell us that “You deserve a break today!” or “You owe it to yourself!” How
really do they know I need a break? Maybe I just sat around my house for two days watching sports or movies.
What I really need is to go and do some work!! And what does it mean to owe myself? More than likely, I owe
something. Maybe it is time to pay off what I owe someone else!!

Here is a little exercise for you. Have you noticed how many ads are in a commercial break on TV? Sometimes
there are over 15. When you see or hear an ad in broadcast or print media think about it for moment. How did
that ad make you feel? It seems that many of these advertisements are attempting to make people somewhat
discontent with the way they look, the clothes they wear, the car they drive or maybe the food they eat. Did you
start calculating how you could acquire what you didn’t need a few minutes ago? Did that calculation include
thinking about where you could borrow the funds you would need? Yes, you are right. We are going to talk
about debt in this article. How many of the following comments do you already know?

There is a difference between borrowing and debt. Debt can be understood as a long-term obligation and is
generally used for items or objectives that appreciate in value, i.e., houses or businesses. Borrowing should be
understood as short-term obligations for items or objectives that generally depreciate in value, i.e., cars,
consumer items, groceries or credit card purchases. It doesn’t take long to learn in life that a loan is much easier
to acquire than to pay back. When you borrow funds, usually the enjoyment of the items purchased is over long
before the pain of repayment is finished. In the end, excess consumptive borrowing will sentence a person to a
lower standard of living.

In the book of wisdom called Proverbs, King Solomon states that, “The borrower is servant to the lender.”
Whether you have a mortgage or a car loan, the lender has control. Another danger is that loans presume on the
future. If everything remains static, you can repay the loan in a timely manner. Yet the future is unknown at
best. No one needs to think farther than the last year for an example.

It should also be understood that lenders lend money because they understand the magic of compounding. In
your investment portfolio, compounding is definitely your friend. However, with your debt, compounding is your
enemy. Your debt is part of your lender’s investment portfolio. So, your lender has a good friend!

A final point to ponder…debt is always repaid with after tax dollars. That means that for a debt of 10,000.00 the
borrower who pays 20% tax on their income needs to earn 12,500.00 to repay the loan. That is a good
calculation to review before you make purchases that require debt. How much do you have to earn to repay
your debt…principal and interest?

No one is saying that debt is wrong…though some forms of debt may be better than others. Decisions to borrow
need to be calculated as opposed to impulsive! As is often reported, with concern, in economic analyses, our
current society has a love affair with consumer debt and alarmingly it may lead to economic disaster. Interest
rates are lower than most of us have ever seen. Wouldn’t you think that a better perspective is to take the
opportunity to reduce or eliminate debt rather than borrow more? JUST SAYING!!!

Perspective – What is Really Important in Life?


Perspective – What is Really Important in Life?

March, 2021

What is really important in life?

Take a few moments to consider the actions of those in the world. Some run here and there, setting goals for
holidays, bigger houses and fun toys. Some are busy making sure they are getting home on time with refreshments
for the game. Some are preoccupied trying to plan for renovations or figuring out how they are going to get all the
work done at home and the cottage this weekend. Some make commitments to their children to ensure they have
more than when they were young. Not that any of these things are necessarily wrong, but what is important in life is
pretty evident.

During this pandemic it has been extremely nice to see families doing creative things together because…well, in most
cases…there was nothing else to do. Maybe the family fun times together will be one of the things that will re-shape
the new normal when life is not as affected by the virus. Some have come to realize that the enjoyment once
experienced by reaching for lofty and often expensive objectives can be replaced with impactful memories created
through less costly fun times planned within their homes. It is heartwarming to watch on almost every nightly
newscast the stories of families or young people who found helpful ways to reach out to those around them in
specific need. The relationship between parents, their children and neighbours are better for it. We are reminded
that the home is a good place for families to learn together some of the significant and practical lessons of life. The
family is one of the places where skills important to living productive and cooperative lives can be demonstrated.
There is no better place than with your family to learn proper perspectives and important attitudes about money and
to put them into practice.

The apostle Paul had a friend named Timothy who helped him so much in his work that Paul considered Timothy like
a son. In one of his letters to Timothy, Paul admonished him to remember that “the love of money was a root of evil
things”. He went on to say that the love of money actually distracted many from being motivated by what really
matters in life. That is because the things that really matter in life do not have a connection to money. For example,
things like love, joy, peace and friendship do not need money. They need personal commitments of truth, honesty,
trust and respect.

There are a lot of books that can help to educate families about handling money and possessions. For millenniums,
families have taught the next generations, through word and example, the best and most beneficial behaviours in
handling financial and material possessions. There are many creative ways to help each family member establish
good habits with money. It may be interesting to know that the Bible has over 2,300 references to this topic. The
Author knew that money and material wealth would create quite a challenge to us all!

The next generations need to be prepared and taught to be good stewards of their resources. The lessons about
financial responsibility, proper use of debt, the magic of saving and investing, understanding the concept of
contentment and cooperation with others can be learned and best demonstrated at home. What about the
important lesson that the purpose for money is not for one’s personal gratification only but can provide for the needs
of others too?

Money, if left unchecked, can become a master pushing a person to disregard and destroy relationships. Yet, by
learning better attitudes about money, a person will be the master of it instead. That sounds better to me!
What is really important in life doesn’t just happen on its own. It takes desire, determination and a bit of help at

Perspective – Opportunity or Rags to Riches


Perspective – Opportunity or Rags to Riches

February, 2021

Rags to Riches!! How often have you heard a story like this? You know, people that arrived in Canada, the land of
opportunity, with only 2 dollars in their pocket. Now, because of their generosity, they have wings of hospitals or
performing arts centers named after them. These people came to our country to find a better life for themselves and
their families. It is not that they were lucky. It was that they were motivated. They took advantage of what they saw
as opportunities in the economy that were not being satisfied. They were willing to work hard, make difficult choices
and take the chances necessary to reach their objectives. There were times, no doubt, that failure seemed imminent,
but they made adjustments and pressed on. Opportunity is available to us all…really it is! We don’t all have to start
companies or take risks. For some, the opportunity is to be a good employee in our chosen career. But we all can
make a difference in our lives and the lives of our families.

There are principles that guide us and govern our daily activities. Let’s consider a principle we learn from Moses. In
Psalm 90, Moses requests, “Teach us to number our days, so we can have a wise heart.” The principle is this: we have
been given a number of days. We know our beginning day but we do not know our ending day. Between these two
days, we have TIME! Time to love, time to help, time to work, time to serve, time to make a difference. The wise
heart comes when we realize our given amount of time and then set priorities that make a difference in our lives, our
families and the world around us. The sooner we gain this perspective, the more time we will have to effectively
impact our world. In a way, it becomes our own rags to riches story!

This principle is true in all parts of life. Take your savings for instance. A wise heart understands that what you do with
your resources is important. Spending all your earnings each year on your current lifestyle desires, while not planning
for your retirement needs, may be fun now but not so much later. It is a wise heart who realizes that a few sacrifices
now can be beneficial later in life.

The factors that make your investments grow are your contributions to the plan, the rate of return on investment and
the TIME you have to reach the finish line. Regular contributions and consistent rates of return are good. However,
the factor that makes the most difference to reaching your objectives is TIME. Understanding the effect of time on
your financial plans is imperative. You may have heard the saying, “The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago…the
second best time is now!” Obviously, we cannot change the past, yet we can learn from it. We can, however, make a
difference for the future. To get time working for you, it is best to just get started.

Here is a demonstration of the effect of time on our financial planning. Let’s say you want to retire at age 65. In all
these examples we will use 5% annual compound rate of return. When you start investing you contribute $250.00 per
month to your RRSP.

● If you start at age 50, after 15 years, the funds you invested from your pocket total $45,000.00 and the value
of your plan at age 65 is $66,900.00.
● If you start at age 40, after 25 years, the funds you invested total $75,000.00 and the value of your plan at age
65 is $148,900.00.
● If you start at age 30, after 35 years, the funds you invested total $105,000.00 and the value of your plan at
age 65 is $285,000.00.
● Yet if you started at age 20, after 45 years, the funds you invested total $135,000.00 and the value of your plan
is $507,000.00. For a plan to produce this same amount in 15 years, (the first scenario), you would need to
make monthly contributions of $1,900.00!!

Do you see how having a wise heart about time can affect our financial plan? Your TIME is your most important asset.
How can you best use the time you have?

Perspective – Understanding Stewardship

Perspective – Understanding Stewardship

January, 2021

Regardless of what you believe…that the world began after an explosion in the universe or that a Designer and loving Sustainer created our home in the vast universe…it can at least be agreed that there was a beginning to the earth we live in. As a second fact and as far as we know, there has been no further deliveries of care packages with additional resources supplied to Earth since that beginning. In other words, all the resources used to build the nations, cities, economies, medical treatments and product consumers demand as we have them today were developed from the resources discovered on the earth from the very beginning.

Governments become elected on platforms of renewable energy, reducing pollution and environmental responsibility in elections today. Human beings are aware that the design and building of all that we have in this world from its available raw materials have actually started to destroy the earth’s ecosystem and potentially damage a healthy world for future generations. The purpose here is to find perspective rather than wade into the multi-sided controversy of the social, moral or environmental issues that stimulate very deep discussions.

In respect to these conversations, have you heard the word ‘stewardship’ used? A steward is someone who manages property owned by someone else. When you think of it, that is what we all do in this world. We came into the world with nothing and will leave with nothing. All we really have is the opportunity to seek out truth, be responsible and make decisions that have a lasting effect on ourselves and others. While we sojourn here we may make an impact and leave a legacy in some form but all the things we call ours while we are here are not really owned. It might beg the question: who does own it all then?

As we come to the time of year when we consider making additional contributions to our financial and retirement plans, should the understanding of stewardship influence our decisions, at least in part?

When you make contributions to your investments you can investigate the way they are accountable to a sense of social and environmental responsibility by the manager. Each investment is managed to gain returns based on established objectives, styles and philosophies. Asset managers will consider risk or security of capital, company historical performance, a company’s share of their market sector and if they are positioned well for future opportunity and consumer demand. Once an investment has passed this scrutiny, some money managers will then subject their options to additional filters in consideration of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. For example, companies that have a record of not paying fair prices for farmers’ produce in third world countries or who may produce weapons or who are not developing processes to reduce pollution, will not score high in the managers’ decisions to invest. Now with financial significance as shareholders in companies these portfolio managers will also use the opportunity to influence company management, vote at shareholder meetings and file shareholder proposals.

Generally speaking, companies are required to follow government set social and environmental protocols. Yet investing some dollars in money products that invest in businesses who are really trying to make a difference in our world and in the lives of others could have a lasting impact. It is interesting that one of the first questions an investor may pose when considering RI (Responsible Investing), is, “Yes, but how does the rate of return for RI compare to other investments?” Generally, RI funds will not take a back seat on return, but in response, you might want to think about the answer to, “Is return more important than responsibility?” An interesting contemplation, don’t you think?

Evans Financial can tell you about some of the options for Responsible Investing. Please call our office.
After all, we really are stewards!