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Death And Taxes - Two Certainties Of Life

(NC)-There are no estate taxes or succession duties in Canada. However, taxes upon death have not disappeared. When a person dies, there is a 'deemed disposition' of all capital property. What does that mean? It means that the government treats all your property (unless jointly held) such stocks, bonds, RRSPs, real estate, etc as sold at fair market value on the day of your death. Your estate will be required to pay capital gains tax on that property. This applies to your RRSP if you do not have a spouse to whom you can transfer it. Careful planning can reduce or defer the taxes owing. Without an estate plan, you could lose nearly half of the value of your gains to taxes. While your Executor may claim full personal exemptions on your final income tax return, your estate may end up paying taxes at the highest tax rate (over 50%). If you do not have a Will, or if your Will has not been updated recently, it may be a good time to get the job done to avoid tax complications.

What is Probate?

"Probate" is the recognition by the provincial court of the validity of your Will and the appointment of the person named as your Executor. Granting of the "letters probate" is notice to the public that your Will complies with the basic formal requirements and that the Will was not being challenged at the time of application.

Reducing Probate Fees

In some provinces, the Executor must apply to the court for "letters probate" in order to begin administering an estate. These fees are payable to the provincial government based on the value of certain assets in your estate. There have been increases over the years in provincial probate fees. There are ways to arrange your affairs to reduce these probate fees. Again, estate planning helps identify these issues and reduce any negative impact on your estate.

It sounds complicated!

Estate planning need not be complicated or expensive. First, who knows better than you what you want done with the things that you've worked all your life to build. Second, seek the professional advice of an expert to guide you on the financial and legal implications to ensure that you get the most favourable tax treatment possible.

If you do not have a Will, or if your Will has not been updated recently, perhaps it is time to meet with a lawyer and get the job done. Take the first step; call Ontario March of Dimes toll-free at 1-800-263-3463 x 383 for a free copy of "My Personal Organizer" - a handy estate planning tool.

About The Author

News Canada provides a wide selection of current, ready-to-use copyright free news stories and ideas for Television, Print, Radio, and the Web.

News Canada is a niche service in public relations, offering access to print, radio, television, and now the Internet media, with ready-to-use, editorial "fill" items. Monitoring and analysis are two more of our primary services. The service supplies access to the national media for marketers in the private, the public, and the not-for-profit sectors. Your corporate and product news, consumer tips and information are packaged in a variety of ready-to-use formats and are made available to every Canadian media organization including weekly and daily newspapers, cable and commercial television stations, radio stations, as well as the Web sites Canadians visit most often. Visit News Canada and learn more about the NC services.

Editors: These articles are for use in Ontario only

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