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Living Locally

When there’s a will, there’s a way

January 17, 2017

It’s never too early to start thinking about a will.

Estate planning is one of the fields of expertise at Dorward & Company Chartered Accountants. “There are so many things that can go astray if your estate is not set up properly,” says Lorn Stanners CPA, CMA who manages the estate practice, based out of Dorward & Company’s Edmonton branch.

“People often don’t realize things like when RRSPs and Retirement Income Funds have a named beneficiary, it’s the beneficiary that pays the taxes on it,” Lorn says he’s had situations where the beneficiary was going through a divorce or was in a higher tax bracket, and ran into trouble when their parent died and suddenly they had all this additional income.

However, there are some optional tax returns that the beneficiary can file to help save them several thousand dollars in taxes. The most common return is the Rights and Things Return. “If you have certain income items that are received after the death of an individual, you can put them on a separate tax return that gets almost all the same basic tax credits. It can be paid out at little or no taxes on the amount,” says Lorn.

Dorward & Company also helps its aging clients prepare their estate. “That might be looking at their portfolio to see what they have in place while they’re alive, so that when they pass away it’s not difficult for the beneficiaries to deal with,” says Stephen Johnson, chartered accountant and founder of the Calgary branch.

Stephen and Lorn stress that if you have a will already, it’s important to keep it up to date. If not, your assets could go to someone that’ll make you turn in your grave, like a hated ex or family member. Or, as Lorn recalls a particular instance, it can go to someone who doesn’t mean anything to you anymore.

In this story, a man passed away before he could update his will. His brother – who would have been the sole beneficiary -- found an old will, in which the deceased had left his house to a woman who’d lent him money to buy it. The woman was eventually tracked down, now 95 years old and living in Africa. The deceased hadn’t seen her for at least 30 years.

“I’m making people aware that they should have enduring powers of attorney, allowing somebody to take care of their financial affairs should they ever be unable to,” says Lorn.

Lorn has been in accounting for 40 years, and naturally evolved his specialty for estate planning as his long-time clients and their loved ones started passing away. “I sometimes say that people are dying to have me do their taxes.”

“It feels good to be able to help people. Soften the blow of losing their loved one and explain what the procedures are.”

As a final word of advice, Lorn says “if somebody wants to leave more money to the government, don’t bother planning or making a will.”


Click here to learn more about Dorward & Company Chartered Accountants’ estate planning services.
Connect with Lorn and Stephen on LinkedIn.
Reach out to Dorward & Company Chartered Accountants at (403) 719-7985 or via email.
See Dorward & Company Chartered Accountants’ Sustainability Profile

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Sustainability for Breakfast: Cultivating Connection for Greater Prosperity

Jan. 27, 2017 - Jan. 27, 2017

Sunalta Community Hall
1627 10th Avenue SW

Welcome to a fresh new year of Sustainability for Breakfast! This month, REAP is breaking the mould of our Sustainability for Breakfast events. We invite you to join us in a World Cafe style conversation that cultivates connection for greater prosperity. World Cafe is a method for creating a living network of collaborative dialogue around questions that matter in service to real work. This event will provide guests an opportunity to have meaningful conversations and make new connections with other local business owners who share their values while contributing to the evolution of the Sustainability for Breakfast series. The focus of conversation will be on what drives value for local business owners, facilitated by Conscious Brands. We want to ensure that as guests attend our events, they are receiving maximum benefit from their investment of time and money. Our goal is to have every attendee of Sustainability for Breakfast event leave with 2-3 new connections that will advance their work, thereby increasing prosperity for everyone in our local economy. Arrival, breakfast & networking 7:30-8:00 am World Cafe roundtable discussions 8:00-9:00 am Visit for transit options. Don't forget to bring your travel mugs for drinks! Payment is required at the time of your RSVP and is $10 per person. There will be a limited number of spaces at the door for those wishing to pay by Calgary Dollars. Please reserve one of these spaces by posting a comment.
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