CATEGORY : Uncategorized

CATEGORY : Uncategorized August 18th, 0 Comments

Sending your older kids milestone notes

Sending your kids day-to-day notes, like love notes or lunch box notes while they are young is always a special treat and definitely instills a sense of happiness and belonging at an early age.  A bond through note writing is a strong one.  However, often many forget the practice when their children get older.  Writing milestone notes is even more necessary when your children start to face complicated events in their lives, and recognition or acknowledgment that you may have experienced the same will do wonders for their resilience.  It is also a great way for them to know more about you and to see you as a 3-dimensional person rather than a specific lens of parent and child. 

Whether you write them now and send them through the Time Secured Time Trigger vault option for later, or write them, as they get older, it does not matter.  So long as the notes are written and shared for your growing children to treasure.

Here are only a few notes that you should consider writing to your older children, but there are plenty of other additional reasons to send them heartfelt thoughts through notes. 

“Just Because” Note

As our children grow up, you may feel communication with your older children is becoming routine, regimented, and one-sided. So write a note praising your kids praising them or showing how proud you are of them for the littlest things they have done.  You can add encouragement, and sometimes these notes can make all the difference in the world for their day or more.

College and Career Note

A note that acknowledges the most important things to instill in them as they were growing up. Before they leave the nest, with a list of traits or characteristics that you want them to take away with them as they face the next chapter of their lives.  Here is where life advice can be wisdom well imparted. They can also keep those notes for their kids or loved ones in the future as a reflection of your relationship with them.

“Remember When” Note

However old the children are, they will always get a nice laugh or tear from specific memories that have touched you and them or taught them a valuable life lesson – whether they know it at the time or not.  Reflection on the past also reinforces your shared bond and brings up stories and positive feelings that may have been forgotten over time.

“What You Should Know About Me” Note

You will be hard-pressed to meet someone who did not wonder what their parents felt or thought about particular things or events in life.  Even if they don’t admit it.  These notes are about you, but it gives your children anywhere from closure for traumatic events, to deep feelings you could not openly share with them.  Notes make this easier by taking out the walls and preconceptions.  These are valuable messages to your kids to not only teach them about the person you are, but inevitably also about the person they are as well or want to be.  Anecdotes and analogies on what certain things mean to you make it all the more accessible and give them a new understanding of you.  Whether they are shared while you are around as your kids are older and able to understand your perspective or later on in life when you are no longer around (both of which can be done through the Time Secured App easily); these notes are invaluable.

Any of these note types can be shared through scans or emails with multimedia add-ons easily using the Time Secured App. More importantly, the substance and content they entail will be appreciated by your growing children or any loved one for that matter – guaranteed!

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July 1st, 0 Comments

Making sure your share the important information

Want to make sure that your partner, children or any dependents, and other loved ones have all the information they need if something were to happen to you? Whether you are rendered unconscious or worse, you want to make sure that those you rely on and rely on you have access to your money, assets, and any other information they need to help you and themselves out in the process.

The Time Secured app allows you t do this without having to necessarily give access – so long as you plan ahead.  In the Time Secured app, all you need to do is set your “Passing” vaults, upload your files, and choose your beneficiaries.  Choose the days you have to respond to file access requests, it can range from 3 days upwards.  The shorter the time you choose the quicker your loved ones can access the information without your involvement, but the less time you have to keep the files unshared until you are ready to do so.

This is a precious and underrated luxury you are offering your loved ones.  Giving them access to all the information they need at, what could be, a very stressful time is priceless.  Sharing information such as:

  • Email passwords to pull up important information
  • A list of contacts and names to make things easier for them without chasing people around
  • A scan of IDs and other documents that they can use to access whatever they need
  • Bank accounts, so that they don’t have to waste a lot of time chasing down your assets
  • Passwords and pins
  • Even instructions and direction on what to do first and who does what can be invaluable
  • Some would even include, scans or copies of wills, and living wills with specific wishes – including burial sites and directions on how the funeral is to be organized

Don’t underestimate what straight-to-the-point information and checklists can do to your loved ones in their time of need, especially if you are unable to help or guide them.  This is something they will thank you for and ensure that even when you are not available, you are still thinking of them.


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November 5th, 0 Comments

Protect Your Wealth From Probate Tax Canada

It is no excuse to stumble through life without contemplating probate tax Canada and payments on your death. There are ways and means of protecting your wealth, perfectly legal and above board, and you’d be foolish to ignore these. Ensure all assets go to your beneficiaries and reduce gifts to the tax office!

Unlike countries such as the UK, where you pay inheritance tax on your estate upon death, this is not the case in Canada. However, individual states in Canada can charge what are known as probate taxes, dependent on the size of your estate. The level of probate tax Canada compares favourably to other countries, but there are still ways to further reduce your tax liability. This ensures that the maximum amount of your estate is passed over to your beneficiaries – where you wanted them to go.

Estate planning Canada

While writing your own will and managing your estate before death is possible, it can get complicated. Consequently, many people hire the services of an estate planning attorney, even just in an advisory role. They are well aware of the ever-changing tax environment in British Columbia and across Canada, and in many cases, their advice will literally pay for itself. So, when looking at estate planning Canada, what level of taxes might your estate face?

Probate tax British Columbia

Under The Probate Fee Act (Chapter 4), upon your death, your estate may be subject to probate fees on a sliding scale:-

  • No probate tax for estates up to a value of $25,000
  • Estates valued at between $25,000 and $50,000 will incur a probate tax charge of six dollars per $1000, or part thereof
  • Estates valued at more than $50,000 will also incur a charge of $14 per $1000, or part thereof, on the balance over $50,000

For example, an estate valued at $25,000 would incur no probate tax in British Columbia. However, an estate valued at $50,000 would incur a probate tax of $150; an estate valued at $100,000 would pay a total of $850. With estates valued in the millions of dollars, the potential liability to probate tax Canada would be significant.

It is important to note that the probate tax rate in British Columbia may differ from Ontario, Québec and other Canadian states. Consequently, taking advice and/or carrying out in-depth research is crucial. Many people have landed their estates with significant tax bills simply because they have failed to plan.

Consult an estate planning attorney

When looking at estate planning Canada, it is vital to take professional advice if you may be faced with a potential probate tax charge. In some cases, where your estate is valued at up to $25,000, there is probably no estate planning required. However, many people have personal, business, and maybe overseas assets. This is where it can sometimes get a little challenging!

Ways to reduce probate tax Canada

Thankfully, there are numerous methods used in estate planning Canada to reduce your potential probate tax and ensure your beneficiaries receive as much of your estate as possible. While you may need to speak with an estate planning attorney for the finer details, some of the more common ways to reduce your probate tax liability include:-

Name beneficiaries on your life policies

Any assets not assigned to a beneficiary will automatically become part of your estate and potentially liable to probate tax Canada. Therefore, if we take a look at, for example, life insurance policies, there is usually a simple form to fill in to appoint a beneficiary. They would receive any life insurance proceeds upon your death. These funds are paid directly to beneficiaries, usually spouses or common-law partners, effectively bypassing your estate.

It may be sensible to name two beneficiaries, in order of preference, in the event that the first beneficiary cannot carry out your wishes for whatever reason. If there was no backup beneficiary, the proceeds from your life insurance policy would be classed as part of your estate on death.

Designate accounts for beneficiaries

Aside from life insurance policies, many people will have other assets such as a tax-free saving account, registered retirement savings plan and registered retirement income fund. As these are officially registered accounts, it is possible to designate beneficiaries upon your death. This is often referred to as “transfer on death” or “pay on death” instructions. As the proceeds are paid directly to the named beneficiaries, they will not become part of your estate, and therefore there would be no probate tax to pay.

Joint ownership of assets

Many married couples and common-law partners will have assets they own jointly, the most traditional being their home. In this situation, you can revert to what is known as the rights of survivorship. This means that the surviving joint owner will automatically take full possession of the assets upon the other party’s death. As this is similar to direct beneficiary payments above, it would also avoid probate taxes and not become part of the individual’s estate.

If there wasn’t a defined split of ownership in place, in theory, a share of the family home could be sold to raise cash for the deceased’s estate.

Make gifts while alive

Understandably, when looking at estate planning Canada and other areas of the world, many people are reluctant to give away too many gifts while alive. In theory, it makes more sense to distribute at least part of your assets while alive, thereby reducing any potential probate tax further down the line. You may need the help of an estate planning attorney, but there are specific limits concerning assets you can gift each year to family and third parties. Some people believe strongly in gifting assets each year, allowing beneficiaries to enjoy this wealth while still relatively young.

In theory, while various tax breaks are available, gifting and reviewing your estate should be an integral part of your annual financial review. Your financial adviser will be aware of the latest regulations and actions to consider, as well as looking at your broader financial situation. This is the time to discuss tweaks, changes and, in some cases, a complete overhaul of your financial planning.

Consider creating a trust fund

The whole concept of reducing your potential tax liabilities with estate planning Canada is to assign/attach a title to various elements of your wealth. Consequently, depending on the size of your estate and whether it is feasible, you may wish to speak with an estate planning attorney about creating a trust fund. In law, the trust is seen as a legal entity in its own right and owner of the assets in question. Consequently, upon your death, the trustees will follow your instructions regarding payments/transfers to beneficiaries. These will be made directly to beneficiaries and are not classed as part of your taxable estate.

While you may be able to minimise your probate tax Canada liability, there may be running costs for the trust. Consequently, again, it would be sensible to discuss this aspect with your estate planning attorney.

Inter-spousal transfers

Whether married or recognised as a legal partnership, assets left to your partner on death are not ordinarily subject to probate tax. While this may seem like a strange decision by the authorities, there is a method to the madness. This law will increase the living partner’s wealth, reducing their access to state financial assistance and storing up potentially enhanced probate tax liabilities.

Let us assume that married/common-law partners each have assets of $50,000 prior to the demise of the first party. Unless specifically instructed, the partner’s estate will transfer to the surviving individual. While they would pay no probate tax at this juncture, upon their demise, they would pay probate tax, in theory, on a $100,000 estate. A clever ruse by the authorities!

Is a handwritten will legal in British Columbia?

While we have seen the introduction of electronic wills, and the opportunity to store your instructions in the clouds, handwritten wills are still commonplace. These are still legal in British Columbia, although when registering with a notary, you will need two witnesses, at least 19 years of age. It is important to note that while your will mentions an executor and an alternative, these parties are not obliged to be the witnesses. Indeed, in some cases, especially where an executor may be a beneficiary, it can help avoid unwelcome attention.

Have you considered estate planning Canada?

Unfortunately, many people feel uncomfortable discussing their demise and how their assets will be shared among beneficiaries. While perfectly understandable to a certain degree, this attitude to tax laws could lead to potentially avoidable probate taxes and other charges. Many of us will use all tax breaks/allowances available while alive, so it makes sense to do so upon your death. The more financial “gifts” you give to the tax office, the fewer funds available for your beneficiaries!


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September 10th, 0 Comments

Money Talk 101 (Ontario)

So you decide, eventually, to be responsible and worry about money (or lack thereof). It’s a dry topic, but one day you’ll get an AHA! moment and realize you’re head has been buried in the sand for way too long.

You should know that all your income is taxed, and if you can find a way to lower your taxable income (legally) then you will end up paying less taxes and still making the same amount of money. Here are a few things to think about as you try to get your money under control, and remember early is better but it’s never too late.

Tax Reduction Options

In Canada (Ontario), there are plenty of tools to work with – here are a few ideas that can help lower your taxable income:

  1. TFSA – This is money from your income (already taxed) but the interest is nontaxable
  2. RRSP – This gets removed from our taxable income and you can be in a lower tax bracket paying less taxes (but when you use it upon retiring it will be claimed as income then)
  3. RESP – This gets removed from our taxable income and you can be in a lower tax bracket paying less taxes government may make payments depending on your contribution – becomes taxable when used for Education purposes)

Life Insurance

Insurance for you, your spouse and even your kids is important. So the sooner the better, and you probably got told this many times but until you have kids you didn’t really care. You could be paying the price for starting late but the longer you wait the worse it gets. Invest in a life insurance plan that includes disability coverage and one that’s also an investment, so the money you put in actually goes into investments and in a few years you can choose to take withdraw it back with the profit (which is taxable) or keep it as an ongoing insurance policy.

Some also get salary coverage (if you loose your job and income due to a disability, but the instalments get way steeper and you still have the option of withdrawing the investment amount whenever you want. Look at the whole package you’re signing up to.

Even for kids, the sooner the cheaper. Get each of them a life insurance plan if you can. This is not a way to cash in on misfortune, but think of it as an investment for their future selves. When they grow up and have kids, to have already contributed and covered until their old age, easing their burden is priceless. It is can cost a 100 dollars a month for 20 years. Once they reach a certain age (say 18), they can make their own contributions.

Investment Property Sale

Also worth thinking about, if you have more than one property, this little tidbit. If you have a rental property that is not your main residence and decide to sell it, the government can take up to 50% of its value in fees and taxes. Before you sell, you make it your prime residence and then sell it to avoid this. Does not matter if you put it in your spouse’s name or not you are both treated as one. Alternatively, you can put it in another persons’ name, but that is also considered a sale when you transfer and you’ll pay the government’s horrific fee. So watch out, or plan to live in it for a few months before you sell it.

Last Will and Personal Directive

Last advice worth sharing is that a Will is the most important thing you can do, whether you have kids, on your own, just married. It keeps changing as your life, your money and your debts change. But make one. This is the most important thing you can make, there are plenty of free kits and cheap ones that you can use that suite the jurisdiction you’re on, as well as software and apps that can manage it, Time Secured App is one terrific tool to help with that.

Otherwise, it will take a long time to make your money accessible to the people that need it, and they will be forced to pay your crazy debts. It will also help with kid guardianship and include assets that you have which people who will have to deal with it on your death may not know about.

Equally important is a Personal Directive will, which is used when you have a big accident and you end up in a coma or life support. It says whether you want to stay on life support or unplug, where you want to donate your organs or not, etc. It gives people permission to make those decisions when you are unconscious saving them a lot of confusion, headaches, heartaches, and potentially costs. These two you need to do ASAP –and are a definite must.


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