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Don't Fight Over the Estate! Five Tips from Canada

According to a report from BMO Wealth Institute, Canadians list conflict (54%), unpleasant surprises (37%) and financial or taxation issues (33%) as the pitfalls to avoiding the legacy conversation. Although you won't be around to witness the drama, here are five ways to avoid a Dynasty-worthy brawl over your estate.

Our neighbors in Canada know all too well that avoiding those estate planning talks can create conflicts and hard feelings. It seems no one likes to sit down and have an in-depth discussion about a loved one's passing, estate, and bequests. But if you don't have "the talk", your heirs may be mixed up in a family brawl on down the road.

The Financial Post in Toronto recently published an aptly titled article, "Five ways to avoid a family blowout after you've died". This article sets out five ways to "avoid a Dynasty­-worthy brawl over your estate."

Before getting to those five ways, however, remember that communication is key. Be sure to clearly explain what you want to accomplish in your estate plan. Even if your beneficiaries don't agree, at least they'll have a better understanding of your intentions.

While you are communicating the big picture, it's important to lay out the particulars. Don't forget your personal assets, your executor, power of attorney, and the reasoning behind your choices. With that done, you can concentrate on the article's five steps:

1. Reflect

2. Meet as a family

3. Update your will and powers of attorney

4. Get insured

5. Appoint an executor

No one wants to leave their estate to family and have it create disputes. Take some Canadian advice and explain why your daughter gets the snow boots, then speak with an estate planning attorney today.

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