Will You?

Do you plan to work until you die? Many entrepreneurs are so passionate about their business that the thought of retiring, never mind what happens to the business after they are gone, is the farthest thing from their minds.

As you may have noticed, the Women’s Enterprise Centre of Manitoba is all about planning and being prepared. Our recent participation in a webinar titled “Estate Planning Essentials: Help Your Clients Avoid Common Estate Planning Mistakes” really hammered home how important it is for everyone, not just business owners, to plan for their own passing.

Hosted by the Canadian Securities Institute and presented by Bespoke Financial Consulting Inc., the webinar identified the Top Ten Mistakes People Make regarding Estate Planning:

  1. No Will (everyone should have a will).

  2. Out of Date Will (it should be reviewed every few years).

  3. Invalid Will (was there a change in your marital status?)

  4. Not using an estate planning professional to prepare a Will (this is particularly important for business owners).

  5. Over planning for Probate (having joint ownership of properties may not be the best option).

  6. Not updating beneficiary designations (this should be reviewed every few years).

  7. Naming an inappropriate Executor (it should be someone who understands financials, is younger and lives in the same province).

  8. Not considering testamentary trusts (trusts may be set up for a variety of special needs including beneficiaries, remarriages, spendthrift beneficiaries and tax benefits being reduced in 2016).

  9. Ignoring the role insurance can play (insurance can fund trusts and provide cash flow upon death).

  10. Not tying all the estate planning pieces together (important to be sure that all information is considered, not just pieces of it).

While it can be difficult to get people talking about their estate, it is a very important conversation and process. A recent personal experience highlighted all the things we had done wrong! Now I have an up-to-date will prepared by a lawyer, powers of attorney and health directives so my wishes will be fulfilled by whoever is left.

With very long “To Do” lists of things that seem much more immediate, it is so easy for business owners to put off this important but long in the future task. Just remember that you have built your business through hard work and dedication. To ensure that the sacrifices and challenges you have endured don’t go to waste, lay out the plans for your business so that it will be dealt with according to your intentions.

– Cathie Clement