Be Local is brought to you by REAP.
We're an association for locally owned businesses that care about the community and the planet.
Be an Agent of Change!
Help local businesses grow with your next move.
Join our business network!
Become a member today.
January 17, 2017
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
Did you know?
Sustainability for Breakfast: Cultivating Connection for Greater Prosperity
Sunalta Community Hall
1627 10th Avenue SW