Individuals

It has been said that a Will is the last message you will leave your family. Having a Will can provide clear direction as to what your wishes are and who will get what. Die without a Will (known as dying intestate) and chaos will likely be the result. Having a Will allows you to provide for certainty instead of chaos.

It has been said that a Will is the last message you will leave your family. Having a Will can provide clear direction as to what your wishes are and who will get what. Die without a Will (known as dying intestate) and chaos will likely be the result.  Having a Will allows you to provide for certainty instead of chaos.

Most of the reasons to have a Will have to do with what happens if you don’t have one and that often will depend on what province you reside in. Each provincial government has its own Wills and Estate legislation which also provides for the rules regarding intestacy. The following are some of the reasons to have a Will and what could result without one.

1.  Informs your family how and when your property is to be distributed

Your Will affords you the opportunity to give clear instructions as to whom will receive your wealth. It also allows you to make bequests of certain items such as family heirlooms which you may wish to leave to a specific individual. For those who wish to leave funds to a charity, the Will allows you to do this. Without a Will, this opportunity may be lost. The bottom line is that you make the call. Dying without a Will means that the provincial government will make the determination on how your estate is to be distributed depending on the intestacy laws.

For example, if there is a spouse and children, the spouse will usually receive a specified amount. That amount can vary between $200,000 and $300,000 depending on the province. Any amounts over that are, for most provinces, split between the children and the spouse. The amounts due to the children, however, are not received by them until they reach the age of majority. Up until then, those funds are administered by the provincial government. If you reside in Alberta or Manitoba the children receive nothing, and all goes to the spouse.

If you die without a spouse and without children, then the assets will be left to parents, siblings, nieces and nephews, in that order. The government will receive all if there are no relatives. And remember those family heirlooms that you could dictate to whom they went in your Will? Without a will those and other similar assets will most likely have to be sold so the estate can properly be distributed.

2.  Allows the testator to name an Executor

The task of the Executor is to administer the estate and ensure that the testator’s wishes are carried out. Without a Will, there is no Executor, and an administrator must be appointed by the government. Usually, this will be the spouse, but if the spouse is not willing or capable then someone else will have to be found to carry out this function. Regardless, the result usually will be unnecessary delays and increased expenses.

In administering estate assets, the role of an Executor also helps to ensure that there is no loss of estate assets due to lack of oversight prior to the assets being distributed.

3.  Protects a common law spouse

British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, North West Territories and Nunavut recognize common law marriages where the parties have lived together for more than two years. In these jurisdictions common law spouses have the same rights as a married spouse. In all other provinces, however, they are not recognized and as a result are entitled to nothing. There may be exceptions where a dependency claim can be made to the courts, but that could prove to be expensive and result in significant delays. It also could result in other family members making objections to the court. With a properly drafted Will, the rights of a common law spouse are protected.

4.  Naming a guardian for your children

Having the choice as to who will look after your children should you die is an extremely important reason to have a Will. This is especially true in the case of a common disaster involving both parents. Consider the unimaginable scenario in which the decision as to who should be the guardian of your children was left to the courts.

5.  Leaving instructions for your funeral, burial or cremation

A Will affords you the opportunity to leave concise instructions regarding your funeral arrangements. Dying without a Will or with no clear directive could cause stress and family discord. 

6.  Proper estate planning can result in income tax savings

Estate planning, including a properly drafted Last Will and Testament, may result in tax savings. On the other hand, dying intestate will see this opportunity lost and administrative costs increased. 

It is unfortunate that many Canadians do not have a Will. While there may be some circumstances where a Will is not necessary, for those Canadians who are married and have children, a Will is vital and should not be overlooked. Ideally, a Will should be drafted by a lawyer who is acquainted with all the technical requirements and contingencies that come into play. 

If you are without a Will, talk to a professional who can assist you as soon as you can.

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The 2018 budget for Alberta focuses on the diversification of its post-recession economy, with the aim of creating more stability and less vulnerability to future fluctuations in oil prices. Read for some of the highlights

The 2018 budget for Alberta focuses on the diversification of its post-recession economy, with the aim of creating more stability and less vulnerability to future fluctuations in oil prices. Here are some of the highlights:

Corporate

Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit

Alberta intends to bring in a new Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit with a maximum funding of $20 million per year, which aims to offer eligible companies with a benefit of 25% of eligible labour costs. This benefit relates to costs incurred after April 1, 2018 and is aiming to better support the interactive digital media sector in the province.

Alberta Investor Tax Credit

The 2018 budget extends the existing Alberta Investor Tax Credit until 2012-22. The existing program offers a 30% tax credit to both individuals and corporations who commit to making equity investments in eligible Alberta businesses, such as those involved in research, development, digital animation and various others.

Diversity & Inclusion Credit

Relating to the Interactive Digital Media Tax Credit and Alberta Investor Tax Credit, the budget notes a 5% diversity and inclusion credit enhancement which could be claimed if the company offers employment to an individual from an under-represented group.

Capital Investment Tax Credit

The budget announces that the Capital Investment Tax Credit, a 10% non-refundable tax credit of up to $5 million for a corporation’s eligible capital expenditures on manufacturing, processing and tourism infrastructure, will also be extended until 2021-22.

Personal

Alberta Child Benefit

The 2018 budget details increases to these benefits for families with 1, 2, 3 and 4 plus children, as well as increasing the phase-out threshold for family net income from $41,786 to $42,287.

Alberta Family Employment Tax Credit

Increases have also been announced in the budget to offer more benefits for working families who have income from employment of more than $2,760 per year. The phase-out threshold has been extended from a family net income of $41,786 to $42,287, as well as increases to the benefit amounts for each family size.

Cannabis Tax

The budget covers the agreement made by Alberta to adhere to a structured tax framework with the Canadian government for a period of two years after the legalization of cannabis for recreational purposes. Specifically, either $1 per gram or 10% of the producer price (whichever is greater) will be collected and the province will receive 75% of this tax room, both to be collected by the federal government. In addition, an additional tax of a maximum of 10% of the retail price may also be collected by the province.

Education Property Tax

A freeze has been set on education property tax collection, but the current rates have increased as follows:

·      From $2.48 to $2.56 per $1,000 or equalized assessment for residential/farmland property.

From $3.64 to £3.76 for non-residential property

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Several key changes relating to personal financial arrangements are covered in the Canadian government’s 2018 federal budget, which could affect the finances of you and your family.

Several key changes relating to personal financial arrangements are covered in the Canadian government’s 2018 federal budget, which could affect the finances of you and your family. Below are some of the most significant changes to be aware of:

Parental Leave

The government is creating a new five-week “use-it-or-lose-it” incentive for new fathers to take parental leave. This would increase the EI parental leave to 40 weeks (maximum) when the second parent agrees to take at least 5 weeks off. Effective June 2019, couples who opt for extended parental leave of 18 months, the second parent can take up to 8 additional weeks, at 33% of their income.

Gender Equality

The government aims to reduce the gender wage gap by 2.7% for public servants and 2.6% in the federal private sector. The aim is to ensure that men and women receive the same pay for equal work. They have also announced increased funding for female entrepreneurs.

Trusts

Effective for 2021 tax filings, the government will require reporting for certain trusts to provide information to provide information on identities of all trustees, beneficiaries, settlors of the trust and each person that has the ability to exert control over the trust.

Registered Disability Savings Plan holders

The budget proposes to extend to 2023 the current temporary measure whereby a family member such as a spouse or parent can hold an RDSP plan on behalf of an adult with reduced capacity.

If you would like more information, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

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The deadline for contributing to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) for the 2017 tax filing year is March 1, 2018. You generally have 60 days within the new calendar year to make RRSP contributions that can be applied to lowering your taxes for the previous year.

RRSP Deadline: March 1, 2018

The deadline for contributing to your Registered Retirement Savings Plan (RRSP) for the 2017 tax filing year is March 1, 2018. You generally have 60 days within the new calendar year to make RRSP contributions that can be applied to lowering your taxes for the previous year.

If you want to see how much tax you can save, enter your details below!

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Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered the government’s 2017 federal budget on March 22, 2017. The budget expects a deficit of $23 billion for fiscal 2016-2017 and forecasts a deficit of $28.5 billion for 2017-2018. Learn what the budget means for families.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau delivered the government’s 2017 federal budget on March 22, 2017. The budget expects a deficit of $23 billion for fiscal 2016-2017 and forecasts a deficit of $28.5 billion for 2017-2018. Find out what this means for families.

Key points for families

    • Childcare: The funding could serve to create more affordable childcare spaces for low-income families
    • Parental leave: Extending parental leave and benefits to 18 months, Parents who choose to stay at home longer, however, will have to make do with a lower Employment Insurance (EI) benefit rate of 33 per cent of their average weekly earnings, instead of the current rate of 55 per cent
    • Caregiver benefit: Introduce a new caregiver benefit that’s meant to help families cope with illnesses and injuries.
    • Parents who go to school: Single, higher federal income threshold for part-time students to receive Canada Student Grants. Grants don’t have to be repaid.
    • Foreign Nannies: Waiving a $1,000 processing fee required to obtain a work permit.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci delivered the province's budget on March 16, 2017. Learn what the budget means for small business owners and individuals

Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci delivered the province’s 2017 budget on March 16, 2017. The budget anticipates a deficit of $10.3 billion for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, $9.7 billion for 2018-2019 and $7.2 billion for 2019-2020.

Corporate Income Tax Measures

No changes to corporate taxes were announced.

Corporate Income Tax Rates- As of January 1, 2017
  Alberta Combined Federal & Alta
General 12% 27%
M&P 12% 27%
Small Business* 2.0% 12.5%
*on first $500,000 of active business income

Personal Income Tax Measures

Introduction of legislation to adjust Alberta’s dividend tax credit rate on non-eligible dividends for 2017 and subsequent years to address federal tax changes, however no further details were provided.

Personal Combined Federal/Provincial Top Marginal Rates
  2017
Interest and regular income 48.0%
Capital gains 24.0%
Eligible dividends 31.7%
Non-eligible dividends 41.2%
  • Political Contributions Tax Credit: Eligible political contributions tax credit to party leadership elections and candidate nomination races, effective for contributions made on or after January 1, 2017. This credit is worth 75% on the first $200 in donations, 50% on the next $900 and 33.33% on the next $1,200, for a maximum credit of $1,000 on a total contribution of $2,300.
  • Education Property Tax: Freezes the education property tax rates for 2017‑18 and residential/farmland rate remains at $2.48 per $1,000 of equalized assessment and the non‑residential rate will remain at $3.64.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.

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BC Finance Minister, Michael de Jong delivered the province's 2017 budget on Feb. 21, 2017. Learn what the budget means for small business owners and individuals.

BC Finance Minister Michael de Jong delivered the province’s 2017 budget on Feb. 21, 2017. The budget anticipates a surplus of $295 million for the current year, $244 million in 2018-2019 and $223 million in 2019-2020.

Corporate Income Tax Measures

Reduction in Corporate income Tax Rate from 2.5% to 2.0% effective April 1, 2017

Corporate Income Tax Rates- As of January 1, 2017
British Columbia Combined Federal & BC
General 11% 28%
M&P 11% 26%
Small Business* 2.5%/2.0%** 13.0%/12.5%**
*on first $500,000 of active business income **effective April 1, 2017

Personal

Increase in the personal tax rate from 40.61% to 40.95% for ineligible dividends effective January 1, 2017.

Personal Combined Federal/Provincial Top Marginal Rates
2017
Interest and regular income 47.70%
Capital gains 23.85%
Eligible dividends 31.30%
Non-eligible dividends 40.95%

Medical Services Plan Premiums: Rate will remain at $75/month/adult. Effective Jan 1, 2018: 50% MSP premium reduction for households with annual net incomes up to $120,000.

Firefighter & Search & Rescue Volunteer Tax Credit: Non-refundable tax credit of up to $3,000 for 2017.

Back to School Tax Credit: Non-refundable tax credit of $250 per child (ages 5 to 17) for 2016 to 2018. Effective Jan 1, 2018, the education tax credit will be eliminated.

Electricity- Provincial Sales Tax Act: Effective Oct 1, 2017, the tax rate is reduced to 3.5% of the purchase price.

Property transfer tax: For first time home buyers to save property transfer tax on the purchase of their property the partial exemption has been increased to $500,000 from $475,000.

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