Living Your Legacy

When I think about leaving money to a charity I know I’m better off leaving this up to my kids to decide when I’m gone.

(False) If you leave it up to your kids you will potentially leave them less money as a result of the taxes your estate will pay. If you have a plan in place to exchange those taxes for a gift to your favourite charity – you may end up leaving your kids even more money, as a result.

Tax and Estate Planning is not complicated and there are steps you can take to minimize your taxes that only take you one minute to achieve. 

(True) This is especially true when it comes to naming beneficiaries of your RRSP’s or RRIF. There are ways to structure your beneficiary designations whereby you can maximize the money you leave to your family and your favourite charity.

I have thought about how best to structure my estate to maximize what I leave to my family while minimizing how much I pay in income taxes.

This is a trick question. If you have thought about this, that’s great news because the majority of Canadians haven’t. If you haven’t, you may be making Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) the unintended beneficiary of a large part of what you have grown and accumulated in assets – money, property, investments, and you may not want to do that.

What does Legacy mean?

  1. How I live my life everyday
  2. How I live my life everyday based on my values
  3. How I live my life everyday based on my values and how I want to be remembered
  4. All of the above
  5. None of the above

Answers provided by our Legacy Lady – Betty-Anne Howard, Philanthropic Consultant.

Answer: Legacy can actually mean whatever you want it to starting with how you live your life everyday, understanding how your values and what’s important to you influences how you live your life. Most people pass on their values to their children by the lessons they teach them. Generosity can be one of those lessons. Helping out those in need. I remember when I was a child, living beside a railroad and my Mother providing meals to homeless men who were called hobos back in the 60’s. That made an impression on me given I didn’t fully understand why she was doing that, as an adult I now understand her why and those values were passed on to me. The tougher part of this question has to do with taking steps to address this question, how do I want to be remembered. Food for thought!

What is an Estate and Estate Planning

  1. I have no idea
  2. Isn’t that what Elvis Presley has at Graceland and the planning would be about keeping it spruced up for tourists
  3. Why should I care?
  4. Estate simply means what you have, what you own and the planning part is about what you want to do with what you have and own.
  5. All of the above
  6. None of the above

Answer: I had no idea for a very long time what estate planning meant and depending on who you’re talking to it can mean different things to different people and professions. Have you ever been to Graceland? I’ve always wanted to go however that’s an entirely different story. Sometimes it’s hard to care because the language and terminology can be alienating and intimidating. We need to find better ways to help you understand the importance of how you view what you have, how hard you’ve worked for that and how best to share that with your loved ones, including your favourite charities.

 What is Pleasure:

  1. Something I seek out everyday
  2. I don’t know where to find it, do you?
  3. A feeling that triggers a part of our brain making us feel good
  4. A feeling that I get from giving to my family and to a great cause
  5. All of the above
  6. None of the above

We do know from the field of psychology that “our brains are Teflon for positive experiences and Velcro for Negative experiences”. What this means sadly is that we tend to focus on the negative and less on the positive and, here’s the rub, what we focus on expands so we need to train our brains to lean into the positive, make sense? At the same time our brains release a chemical called endorphins when we experience something pleasurable and, here is the other exciting news, that happens when we do something for someone else, lend a helping hand to a person or an organization. Thus, with this information you can bring more pleasure into your life.

For more information on Living Your Legacy, please email Betty-Anne Howard, bettyanne@dmpontarioeast.ca or Al Roberts, aroberts@agh-fvm.com

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