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Lisa Telep & Abbey Barnett


Learn From Your Realtor

A professional realtor can give you up to the minute information about homes for sale. Our expertise goes far beyond the basics of the local housing market, however, to include financing and other specialized skills need to get you settled into your new home.

If you are moving into a new area, a realtor can be a valuable source of information about a wide range of subjects that will help you settle into the community quickly and easily. Where are the nearest bus or sky train stops? What about recreational facilities, like community centers, swimming pools or tennis courts? Which markets have the best price on organic products, and which stores support local businesses? Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations for services such as hairdressers, veterinarians, or even babysitters.

We know the community inside and out, and we are happy to share our knowledge with you

Allen Larose


Manion & Associates Financial Service Ltd.

An Estate Plan: More Than Just Having a Will

As a financial planner I often ask people about their Estate Plan. Commonly the response I get is, “I have a will, I'm good.” That's like someone asking about your car and you responding you have an engine so all is well. A Will is just one component in a complete Estate Plan.

Having a Will and having a complete up-to-date Will are also two different things. A Will needs to name an Executor who is both willing and able to perform the job. It is wise to also name an alternate Executor. Beneficiaries may have to be updated every time a new child or grandchild comes along.

It surprises me anyone wants to be an Executor. Some think it is a honour to be named an Executor. It is actually a huge job and a tremendous amount of responsibility - not to mention a potential liability if it is not performed properly. At least make the job a little easier for your Executor by ensuring they have access to up-to-date and straight forward information about your affairs, such as a list of accounts, bills, debts, and contact information for anyone they will have to contact.

In general it also makes sense to minimize what actually becomes part of your Estate. Company pension benefits, RRSP's, and RRIF's can have a named beneficiary which allows these assets to go directly to the beneficiary and bypass becoming part of your Estate. There are tax benefits, too, if the beneficiary happens to be your spouse.

You can use named beneficiaries on non-bank TFSA's. Yes, you can get TFSA's through investment firms and insurance companies! Named beneficiaries can be on any investment instrument done through an insurance company, such as Guaranteed Investment Funds (also known as Segregated Funds) or a GIA. A GIA is the insurance industry's version of a GIC.

There are multiple benefits in having assets bypass your Estate. Beneficiaries receive bequests in days or weeks instead of months or years. There can be significant savings in probate fees and possibly income taxes, unless you like paying money to the government. It also maintains a level of privacy. 

Tom Manion


Certified Financial Planner/Owner

Manion & Associates

The Importance of Updating Your Beneficiaries

Estate planning issues aren’t a lot of fun, but they are necessary if you don’t want to cause a great deal of stress and expense for those you leave behind. Whether you are trying to figure out who should receive your life insurance proceeds, or if your RRSP's should go to your children, it’s important to decide how you want your possessions and assets distributed.

If you care about who gets your stuff and your money, it’s important that you do more than just create a will as part of an estate plan. You also need to double check your beneficiaries.

Your Listed Beneficiaries Trump Your Will

Many people are tempted to think that once the will is made, the work is done. Everything is set up. However, it’s important to realize that listed beneficiaries trump wills. No matter how explicit you are in your will, and no many how many witnesses sign, if the beneficiary on a life insurance policy or retirement account are different, it’s the listed beneficiary that gets the money.

When you experience a major life change, it’s important to review your beneficiary information, and change it to reflect your desires. Many people forget to change beneficiaries on retirement accounts and life insurance policies when a spouse dies or when there is a divorce. However, this is a mistake. Your listed beneficiary will receive the money, no matter what your will says. As you create your will, make sure to review your beneficiaries to make sure that everything matches up the way you want it to.

Pay Attention to Bank Accounts

Another tricky point is the bank account. Sometimes, when you open an account, you are able to designate someone to receive your money. This is known as “transferable on death.” When you designate someone, this information also supersedes the will. You should also realize that some banks don’t even have this option. If you die, the account will go to probate. For accounts that aren’t transferable on death, it might be advisable to open a joint account so that your spouse can access the money without extra expense.

Changing Your Beneficiaries

In most cases, it’s possible to change your beneficiary by filling out the proper paperwork. Each organization has its own processes for changing beneficiaries, so you should contact the company to find out what those are. In many cases, though, all you need to do is fill out a form and send it in. After you have gone through the steps necessary for changing a beneficiary, follow up and check to make sure the switch has been made. Verify that your wishes are being followed.

If you care about what happens to your assets after you pass on, it’s important to make your wishes known. A good estate plan, including a will, can help you ensure that your desires are followed. However, you shouldn’t forget about your beneficiaries. Double check to make sure that your beneficiaries match your will.

Cassandra Coolin

Notary Public

Maple Ridge Notary Public

The Benefits and Dangers of Joint Tenancy

One of the most frequent questions I am asked as a Notary Public, is “what is the most efficient way to hold property to avoid having to pay probate fees?” While the answer may be registering your home as Joint Tenants with another person, typically a spouse or child, it could have significant legal ramifications.

What is the difference between Sole Ownership, Tenants-In-Common and Joint Tenants?

Sole Ownership: can be characterized as ownership by a single individual who has complete control of the property who is not obligated to seek consultation or authorization of any other individual in any dealing(s) of the property. In the case of real estate, a home can be registered solely in one person’s name as the sole owner. However upon the owner’s passing, the house will form part of the deceased’s estate and will be distributed according to the individual’s directions in the Will – subject to probate fees.

Tenants-In-Common: allows two or more persons to hold property in different proportions. For example, a husband who has previously owned property and a wife who has never owned a principal residence may register their home as tenants-in-common, whereas the husband holds 1% ownership and the wife holds 99% in order to take advantage of the property transfer tax exemption.

A noteworthy consequence of tenants-in-common is that each individual’s share of the property becomes a part of the owner’s estate on death. Thus, the individual’s share of the property will be distributed to the beneficiaries named in the deceased’s Will – subject to probate fees. It does not pass on death to the other individuals on title to the property.  A common scenario where this type of ownership is utilized is with blended families where a husband and wife may hold property as tenants-in-common together, allowing each person to gift their share of the property in their Will to their own biological children as a means of ensuring their own children are protected upon their passing.

Joint Tenancy: must be owned by two or more persons in equal proportions with an equal right to use the whole property. Joint tenancy has a unique element of “right of survivorship” in which upon the death of a joint owner, the deceased’s share of the property automatically reverts to the surviving joint owner. By passing directly to the surviving joint tenant, the property does not form part of the estate and it is not subject to probate. It is important to note that since the property is passing outside of the estate it does not pass under the Will, consequently it is not distributed among the beneficiaries named under the deceased’s Will.