Together, Vancity and Concentra Trust offer a complete estate planning and estate management service that
protects the assets you’ve taken a lifetime to build, and the loved ones you leave behind.
How to distribute your estate
Distributing your estate is more complicated than simply dividing things among your heirs. You need to
determine the value of your assets from pensions, investments, real estate, and personal property. Part of
your planning is also to review how your assets may impact the amount of taxes payable by your estate
upon your death.
To determine which assets will be distributed by your will or not, you also need to know which assets you
own jointly with your spouse or others and who are the beneficiaries of your RRSPs/RRIFs, tax-free savings
accounts, and insurance policies. It also makes sense to leave behind enough liquid assets (cash, stocks, or
bonds) so that your executor doesn’t have to sell physical or family assets to pay taxes. All of these things
should be reviewed to ensure that they coordinate and fit together well in your overall estate plan.
Most people want to maximize the value of their assets and protect them from excess taxation. There are
some planning strategies that may assist you in achieving those goals. Your estate planning expert can review
your estate with you and advise you on your planning options. At Vancity, you can start with our Estate and
Financial Planning Team for help. Call us at 604.877.8288 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Charitable donations of assets, either through your will or by beneficiary designation on life insurance
policies or RRSP/RRIFs support the work of organizations of your choice but can also help to reduce or
recover income tax that might otherwise be payable in the year of death and possibly some or all of the tax
in the year before death as well.
Donations may be made directly to specific not-for-profit organizations, such as health, educational, or
advocacy groups or societies. Or you may wish to make a donation or endowment to a charitable foundation
that distributes income from donated funds to other charitable organizations over time. The Vancity
Community Foundation can provide more information on its programs and how you can set up an ongoing
charitable fund with even a modest donation. Contact the Vancity Community Foundation at 604.877.7647.
A testamentary trust is a trust established by a will, which takes effect on the death of the will-maker. It
can allow for the distribution of your estate or part of it to beneficiaries on specific dates or gradually over
time. It can also provide for regular periodic payments or it can give the trustee the discretion to decide
when and how much to pay to a beneficiary. Anyone considering setting up a testamentary trust should
consult with an experienced estate planning lawyer first.
Reasons for setting up a testamentary trust could include:
• To manage an inheritance from your estate until a minor beneficiary is old enough (and responsible
enough) to take control;
• To manage funds for a beneficiary incapable of managing funds on their own;
• To create a discretionary trust for a disabled beneficiary to prevent government disability benefits
from being clawed back;
• To allow your spouse to receive income during their lifetime while leaving your capital assets to your
children or another beneficiary after your spouse’s death (this technique is often employed in second
• To create income splitting between the trust and your estate beneficiary(ies) for tax purposes.
Note: The Federal Government has now removed the graduated tax rate for testamentary trusts (other than those with a
beneficiary who qualifies for the Disability Tax Credit) starting in 2016. However, since testamentary trusts have other purposes
than tax splitting, they can still be useful for your estate plan. An estate planning lawyer or advisor can help you determine
whether a testamentary trust is appropriate for your estate.