Our lives are arguably the most valuable “possessions” we own and because we are quick to insure our cars and our homes, insuring our lives should be a no-brainer. This being said, it is not uncommon for instances to arise where your current life insurance policy is no longer needed.

The most common reaction to an unwanted policy is to surrender it in order to free yourself from the premium payments. While this seems practical, it is important to consider that even a policy without cash surrender value could have value of another kind, especially if your health has changed.

An alternative option for dealing with an unwanted policy is to donate it to a charity. With the assistance of an actuary who would determine the value of your policy, you are able to donate your insurance policy to a registered charity. Through this donation the charity becomes the owner and beneficiary of the policy and you, the donor, will receive a donation receipt for the value of the policy. If you continue to pay premiums on the policy you will also receive a donation receipt equal to the premiums paid.

This method of gifting allows you to use donation tax credits over your lifetime so that you can receive benefits while no longer owning the policy you have no use for. Speak to your life insurance advisor to determine if donating, not surrendering, will work for you.



Did you know that over 50% of Canadians do not have a will?*  While some don’t know how to get started, others believe they can’t afford it.

Are you part of the 50% who don’t have a will? Having a will is an important part of your estate plan. Without a will, your assets would be distributed as per provincial intestate legislation. This process takes time, can increase costs, and will probably not match your wishes for your estate. If you have assets and want to give direction for the distribution of assets upon death, you need a will.

Get started now by working with your lawyer or asking your advisor for a recommendation for a lawyer they have worked with. It will be helpful to get a list of information the lawyer will request in order to gather what’s needed to create the will in advance of the meeting.

If you have concerns about the financial aspect of your estate distribution, your advisor can discuss an insurance solution that can help ensure your desires are met without negative financial consequences. For example, if you have a piece of property to give one child you may want to give your other child an equal share to make it equitable. An insurance solution may help depending on the circumstances.

By sharing a copy of your will with your advisor, they can help ensure all your financial documents align with your wishes.

Speak with your advisor to learn more about having a current will and the importance of it.


*Source: Lawyers’ Professional Indemnity Company (LawPRO), May 2012

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An Alternative Investment for Capital Preservation & Estate Planning

Segregated Investment Funds are often misunderstood and underutilized by Financial Advisors and other Estate Planning professionals.

The investment funds offered through insurance carriers provide unique benefits guarantees. Segregated funds offer both death benefit and capital guarantees in various forms. Some plans offer 100% death benefit guarantees from day 1 as well as capital guarantees starting from 15 years.

In the modern world’s drive to get to the lowest cost many Financial Advisors don’t want to go towards segregated funds with their higher investment management fees. Depending on the guarantees, the additional MER fees for the funds can be anywhere between +0.25% and +0.85%. And in many cases there is no requirement to have these additional fees in an individual’s portfolio, but there are a number of areas where these plans work very well. Particularly for individuals as they approach retirement age as well as business owners and professionals.

These days it isn’t easy to obtain return or yield. The markets are more fully valued and fixed income is not a safe haven with the prospect of rising interest rates, individuals heading towards retirement want more than 2% on guaranteed investments but are fearful if they will have time to recover from a market crash while they are drawing income from their capital. With a segregated fund individuals could take more risk in some cases as they know that their capital would be guaranteed at retirement.

Segregated funds can be a great tool for the elderly affluent as well. Today most seniors will have discretionary money invested in the markets, but what happens if death occurs during a market crash like in 2008 where the market shrunk by approximately 40%. There are segregated funds available where as long as the contract is open before age 80 that 100% of all capital will be guaranteed; with this protection suddenly the additional segregated fund fee becomes inconsequential.

Other benefits of the segregated fund contracts are that the proceeds bypass the estate; this can become important in estate planning, especially in provinces outside of Quebec where probate fees equal a couple of percent of all assets.

Furthermore segregated funds are generally creditor proof, which is an important benefit for business owners or professionals (doctors, dentists, lawyers, etc.). Traditional investments can be seized by creditors in a litigation situation whereas segregated funds are generally creditor protected with a named beneficiary.

Segregated funds also offer settlement options; this can be important when leaving funds to children or other beneficiaries without the requirement of having a family trust set up, which can be costly for the initial set up plus yearly administrative fees.

To conclude, there are a number of pertinent points to consider in looking at the benefits of segregated funds. Again many financial advisors don’t look at these funds because of the additional management fees, as well as the perception of these investments as not being sophisticated and the complexity of understanding the various guarantees offered by the different carriers. However segregated funds offer a large universe of investments to choose from with many internal and external fund managers available. Therefore in any situation these funds will provide a good alternate investment in an individual’s asset mix.

If there are questions about segregated investment funds, feel free to contact our office for more information.


In May 2017, the Canadian parliament passed the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act (GNA) – formerly known as Bill S-201. This Act, meant to prohibit and prevent discrimination, states that genetic test information can no longer be requested or used in rendering underwriting decisions. How this bill will impact underwriting and product pricing remains to be seen.

In 2013, actress and activist Angelina Jolie announced that she is a carrier of the inherited BRCA breast and ovarian cancer gene mutation. As a preventative measure, she underwent a prophylactic mastectomy and preventative hysterectomy to reduce the risk of developing these cancers. Following her announcement, a study in The British Medical Journal* revealed a large spike in the number of BRCA testing requests. This highlighted the power of celebrity endorsements as well as the public’s concern of breast cancer being a major health issue.

If your insurance advisor, an insurer, or other professional, has asked for your genetic test information to be disclosed, be aware that you are not required to share your genetic test results with anyone and have the right to decline the request. However, in cases where genetic test results may prove to be favourable from an underwriting standpoint, then you may offer this information to the professionals you work with but just be sure to provide explicit consent.

Be sure that you work with an advisor who will ensure equitable, compliant and prompt treatment of your case in light of the changed legislation – and most importantly, look after your well-being.

Contact your advisor today to discuss your insurance plan.

To learn more about the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act, please visit the Government of Canada Justice Laws website.

*Source: British Medical Journal, 2016; 355: i6357, Anupam b. Jena et al.


Read Article Here – Updated October 25, 2018

Planning for the transition of wealth to your children and grandchildren doesn’t have to be a daunting task. It’s important to start discussing this now so you can understand the impact of tax on your estate assets and what steps you can take to plan for the future.

Let’s consider some of the tax implications. Upon death, a person is deemed to dispose of all their assets at fair market value which can result in tax (excludes your principle residence). However, there is an exception for assets rolled to a spouse. Assets that pass through the estate before being distributed to your beneficiaries are subject to probate fees. As well, there could be will challenges and known or unknown creditors that could reduce the assets and impact of your estate goal.

If you are concerned about the overall impact to your estate and objectives related to the disposition of your assets upon death, a life insurance policy with a named beneficiary can help alleviate many of those concerns. As well, investment assets can be transferred into an exempt life insurance policy and investment growth during your lifetime would not be subject to tax unless funds were withdrawn. This would allow capital to grow in a more effective manner and the insurance proceeds would add to the amount of capital available for your family.

Did you know that insurance proceeds are not subject to income tax? In addition, by designating a beneficiary (other than the estate) of the policy, the proceeds pass outside of the estate and therefore are not subject to probate fees. Additional benefits of designating a beneficiary are creditor protection and the beneficiary designation cannot be disputed through a will challenge.

Speak with our advisors to learn more about using a life insurance policy to transfer wealth efficiently to the next generation.


How the 2019 Passive Investment Income Changes Affect Your Small Business. After a lot of public debate in the tax and small business community around the way in which passive investment income is taxed in Canadian controlled private corporations, the changes that were announced in the 2018 Federal Budget are now law. These changes will limit the amount of the small business deduction for many corporations. Click here to read the article.

Contact us to help determine the best solution for you and your corporation