Skip to main content

You Can't Take it With You: The Common Sense Guide to Estate Planning for Canadians, 4th Edition

You Can't Take it With You: The Common Sense Guide to Estate Planning for Canadians, 4th Edition

Sandra E. Foster

ISBN: 978-0-470-83156-4

Jan 2002

352 pages

Select type: Paperback


Product not available for purchase


If you own a house, RRSPs, or even just have some savings stashed away, then you have an estate. And if you don't plan for what happens to your money, your children, your house and other assets upon your death, then the government will make those decisions for you — and might end up with a bigger share than anyone else. In these turbulent financial times, planning for the future is more important than ever, especially when it involved the financial security of those you love.

At a minimum, estate planning involves preparing a will, but really involves much more. This revised and update edition of the bestselling You Can't Take It With You:

  • Covers all areas of estate planning: financial and tax planning, wills and powers of attorney, life insurance, guardianship of your children, trusts and living wills, funeral planning, and much more.
  • Prepares you for dealing with your financial advisor or lawyer — and may even help you to save hundreds of dollars in professional fees and taxes.
  • Features practical examples, tips, and question-and-answer boxes.
  • Helps you understand all of the financial, legal, and human issues around estate planning so you can protect yourself, your family, and your business.
  • Includes new information on current legislation, as well as on changes to provincial probate fees, tax-saving strategies, and planning ideas for singles, common-law, and same-sex partners.


Estate Planning Checklist xix

Chapter 1: What is Estate Planning?

What Should Be in an Estate Plan?

When Should You Prepare an Estate Plan?

Do You Want the Government to Be One of

Your Beneficiaries?

Is It Worth Preparing an Estate Plan?

Chapter 2: Will There Be Anything Left?

Retirement Planning

A Cash Flow Analysis

Increase Your Income Through a Reverse Mortgage

Common Death Benefits

Canada Pension Plan/QPP

Old Age Security

Workers' Compensation

War Veterans Allowances

Company Pension Plan

If You Are Not Retired

If You Have Retired and Are Receiving a Pension

Other Benefits


Chapter 3: Dying Intestate: Distributing Your Estate Without a Will

Who Gets What

Delays in the Distribution of Your Estate

Higher Cost of Administering Your Estate

Additional Income Taxes Payable

Lost Investment Opportunities

Appointment of Guardians

Underage Beneficiaries

No Provision for Joint Disaster


Chapter 4: Distributing Your Estate Through a Will

Who Gets What

Reducing the Cost to Die

Making the Gift More Tax Effective

What Is Fair?

Your Executor

Responsibilities of the Executor

Powers of the Executor

Appointing Your Executor

Compensating Your Executor

Keeping Your Will Up to Date

Legislation Changes


Marriage and Remarriage




Chapter 5: The Format of a Will

Common Clauses

Identify the Testator

Revoke All Previous Wills

Appoint Your Executor

Authorize Your Debts to Be Paid

Specify Who Gets What

Make Any Specific Bequests

Distribute the Residue

Optional Clauses

Appointing a Guardian for Minor Children

Managing Assets for Minor Children

Common Disaster Clause

Investment Powers of the Executor

List of Allowed Investments

Prudent Investor Standard of Care

Alternate Beneficiary for Life Insurance

Name a Beneficiary for RRSPs and RRIFs

Establishing Testamentary Trusts

Helping Your Children Protect Their Inheritance

Handwritten, Forms, and Formal Wills

Signing the Will

Chapter 6: Distributing Your Estate by Giving It Away Now

Giving Away Personal Possessions

Giving to Your Adult Children

A Loan Versus an Outright Gift

Gifts to Young Children

Gifts to Charities and Charitable Foundations


Chapter 7: What Happens on Death


Probate Taxes

Strategies for Reducing Probate Fees

Designated Beneficiaries

Joint Ownership of Assets

Real Estate

Other Assets


Multiple Wills

Testamentary Trusts

Inter Vivos Trusts

Alter Ego or Joint Spousal Trusts

Converting Personal Debt to Secured or Corporate Debt


Chapter 8: Financial Powers of Attorney

The Power of Attorney Document

If You Live in Ontario

If You Live in British Columbia

If You Live in Quebec

If You Live in Alberta

Selecting Your Power of Attorney

The Powers of the Attorney

Preparing a Power of Attorney

Reviewing a Power of Attorney

Revoking a Power of Attorney

Compensating a Power of Attorney


Chapter 9: Death and Taxes

Principal Residence

Spousal Transfers

Additional Contributions to a Spousal RRSP After Death

Assets Not Left to a Spouse

Farm Property

Tax Implications When Naming Beneficiaries

Capital Gains and Losses

Income Taxes Due from Capital Gains

Charitable Donations

Registered Plans: RRSPs and RRIFs

Naming Your Beneficiary

A Spouse



A Dependent Child or Grandchild

The Estate 152

Someone Else 153

U.S. Estate Taxes 155

Estimating Your U.S. Tax Bill 156

Strategies to Reduce Your U.S. Estate Tax Bill

Chapter 10: Filing the Final Income Tax Returns


Optional Returns

A Return for Rights or Things

A Return for a Sole Proprietor or Partner

A Return for Income From a Testamentary Trust

Tax Returns for the Estate and Testamentary Trusts

Chapter 11: Family Law and Your Estate Plan

Support and Maintenance

Common-Law Relationships

Same-Sex Relationships



Matrimonial Property

Marriage Contracts

Family Law for Ontario Residents

The Equalization Payment

In Quebec


Chapter 12: Life Insurance

Buying Life Insurance

How Much?

What Kind?


Term to 100

Whole Life

Universal Life

Naming a Beneficiary

Life Insurance Premiums Versus Income Tax

Joint Life Insurance Policies

Joint Second to Die

Joint First to Die

Living Benefit

Segregated Funds 195 Naming a Beneficiary

The Guarantee

Creditor Protection

Chapter 13: Trusts

The Trust Agreement


The Trustee

Powers of the Trustee

Testamentary Trusts

Spousal Trusts

Family Trusts

Trusts for Children

Trusts for Income Splitting

Trusts for Children Over 18

Trusts for Spendthrifts

Trusts for Family Members with Special Needs

Inter Vivos Trusts

Bearer Trusts

Trusts and Taxes

Testamentary Trusts

Ongoing Taxation

Inter Vivos Trusts

Ongoing Taxation

Taxation of the Alter Ego Trust and

Joint Spousal Trust

21-Year Rule

Costs for Establishing and Maintaining a Trust

Dealing with the Family Cottage


Chapter 14: Business Succession Planning

Selling the Business

Keeping it in the Family

Potential for Family Conflict

Tax Planning

Estate Freezes

Estate Freeze Through a Holding Company

Estate Freeze by Reorganizing a Corporation

Needs of Business Partners/Shareholders

Partnership Agreements

Shareholders' Agreements

Using Insurance to Finance a Buyout

If Your Business is a Farm


Chapter 15: Gift Planning

Maximizing the Tax Benefits of Gift Planning

Ways to Make Planned Gifts

Gifts of Cash

Gifts Through a Will

Gifts of Other Assets

Gifts Through Life Insurance

Changing the Beneficiary

Assigning an Existing Life Insurance Policy

Purchasing a New Policy

Gifts to Foundations

Crown Foundations

Community Foundations

Gifts to the Government

Gifts of Ecologically Sensitive Land

Gifts of Cultural Property

Other Gifts to the Government

Other Types of Gifts

Gift Annuity

Charitable Remainder Trust

Gift of Residual Interest

The Process of Gift Planning


Chapter 16: Documents Concerning Health Care

Living Will

Power of Attorney for Health or Personal Care


Chapter 17: The Final Gift

Organ and Tissue Donations

Signed Donor Cards

Donating Your Body for Medical Research

Chapter 18: Planning Your Funeral

Executor's Responsibility



Prepaid Funerals

Chapter 19: You Can't Take it With You

Tax Planning

Working With Professionals

It's an Ongoing Process

Moving Through the Stages of Life


No Kids (SNK)

With Kids (SWK)


No Kids (MNK)

With Kids (MWK)

Second Marriages

Same-Sex Partners

Close to Retired or Retired


The Six D's

Talking With Your Family

Now Do It!

Chapter 20: Getting Organized and Keeping Records

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

List of Executor or Estate Trustee Duties



Suggestions and Seminars 320