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Porter Ramsay Blog

Wills and estates: Making decisions about a living inheritance

Fashioning an estate plan needs a lot of consideration. British Columbia residents who are thinking about their wills and estates have to decide to whom they’re going to leave their assets and how that’s going to look not only on paper, but in reality. Baby boomers are aging and it is estimated that in the next three decades about $16 trillion globally will pass from one generation to another. But strained economic times are leading people to share their worth with grown children and grandchildren while they’re still living — a trend that has come to be known as a living inheritance. 

One of Canada’s major banks estimates that more than 60% of baby boomers will gift money before they pass away. Those Canadians planning on doing this need to know how much to give and when they should give it. Some people like to give their children and grandchildren money while they’re still around to see them enjoy it, but for that money not to be squandered, experts say small amounts should be given at first to see what happens.

Trusts could also work in relatively the same way — either a testamentary trust or an incentive trust which is reward-based. The testator decides how to leave his or her wealth. However, it is important to discuss the dynamics with those who stand to benefit from it such as children and grandchildren.  

A British Columbia lawyer who has experience with wills and estates can offer guidance after reviewing a client’s personal situation. A lawyer may also be able to suggest whether a trust would be beneficial should a client wish to leave some wealth to beneficiaries before he or she dies. Talking to an estate planning lawyer may make the goal of having a comprehensive estate plan less daunting.