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BMO Bank of Montreal

BMO Bank of Montreal

February 24, 2012 08:00 ET

BMO Retirement Tip of the Day: Understand Your Estate Planning Options

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 24, 2012) - As the February 29th deadline approaches to make a contribution to a Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) and as part of its ongoing commitment to improving financial literacy, BMO Financial Group will be providing daily retirement tips during the month of February from BMO Retirement Institute Head Tina Di Vito's new book 52 Ways To Wreck Your Retirement…And How To Rescue It.

Tip Number 47:

Dedicate time to understand and plan how your estate will be distributed after death

Planning your estate determines who will inherit your wealth, what will be inherited and in what form (property, cash, stock certificates or other investments), when it will be inherited, and what taxes will be paid on it.

It is important to understand the three basic options available to you to distribute your assets:

  1. Beneficiaries named in a will - Different assets can form part of your estate and will be distributed in accordance with the instructions in your will.
  2. Direct beneficiary for certain accounts - You can name a direct beneficiary for your Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs) and Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA). This allows these assets to transfer to a beneficiary without going through probate which, depending on the province you live in, can save your estate thousands of dollars.
  3. Joint rights of survivorship - You can hold certain assets, such as a joint savings account or a home, with joint rights of survivorship. Upon death, the assets become the property of the surviving owner, and again no probate is required.

All three methods of distribution should work in harmony to achieve your desired wealth distribution.

For more information on retirement: www.bmo.com/retirement.

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