My name is Mark Goodfield. Welcome to The Blunt Bean Counter ™, a blog that shares my thoughts on income taxes, finance and the psychology of money. I am a Chartered Professional Accountant and a partner with a National Accounting Firm in Toronto. This blog is meant for everyone, but in particular for high net worth individuals and owners of private corporations. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are written solely in my personal capacity and cannot be attributed to the accounting firm with which I am affiliated. My posts are blunt, opinionated and even have a twist of humor/sarcasm. You've been warned.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Sign That Will

I always try to ensure that my clients have up to date wills (if they have their own corporations I recommend 2 wills to reduce probate tax) that tie into their estate plans. Often one of the action points following a meeting includes updating a will. However, I have observed a consistent procrastination in relation to completing this task. In the end, I think it is an issue of mortality. People just don’t want to face their mortality and preparing or updating a will brings you face to face with the fact you are planning post mortem. I have seen situations of wills drafted months and years ago that remain in draft because of a reluctance to deal with the issue only to have that person or their spouse pass away with the draft will still unsigned. The proposed changes become null and void and the estate is forced to go back to a prior will that was usually created years and years ago when the taxpayer had limited wealth to distribute.

Thus, if your will needs to be updated, it is extremely important that you not only update the will, but also ensure the process is completed on a timely basis.

As noted above, I try to ensure that my clients’ wills are updated to tie into their estate plans. This can be problematic on its own. Some clients live in a penurious manner, denying themselves their just rewards so that their children will inherit the maximum amount possible, while others believe they deserve to live life to the utmost and if there is nothing left for the children so be it. Still others want their children to earn their own money and leave their inheritance to charity. Finally, there is the most common mid-ground, where a client wants to leave substantial funds to their children while still enjoying the fruits of their labour.

Whatever the decision, there are various means to achieve the wealth transfer from outright gifts to the use of trusts. The details of such means will be a topic in a future blog.

Bucket List

In the 2007 movie The Bucket List, starring Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, two terminally ill men head off on a road trip with a wish list of the things they want to do before they die. As result of the movie, the term “Bucket List” has become a common slang term.

In the movie, the characters were ill when they created their bucket list. The message of the movie is to live life to the fullest while you are able and not to wait until you are old or sick. The movie did not garner many good reviews, but the message certainly made many think about setting some time aside to create their own bucket list and stop putting off their dreams for "someday" in the future.

I created my own bucket list the day after watching the movie. My bucket list includes travel (African Safari, Bora Bora, Australia) and certain golf spots (Pebble Beach, St. Andrews) amongst other things.

Daily life often gets in the way and when you finally look up, time has flown by.
I suggest if you have not created your own Bucket List, you consider doing so and create a plan to start acting upon it.

The blogs posted on The Blunt Bean Counter provide information of a general nature. These posts should not be considered specific advice; as each reader's personal financial situation is unique and fact specific. Please contact a professional advisor prior to implementing or acting upon any of the information contained in one of the blogs.