Prepare your executor

Unless you prepare properly, your executor could end up feeling more like a detective. Where are receipts for the final tax return? Where’s the life insurance policy? What, there’s an old bank account from 20 years ago? The job of the executor is involved enough without having to search for information and documents that could’ve been placed at their fingertips.

            Note that we’ll use the term “executor,” but the person designated to administer an estate may be called a personal representative, liquidator or estate trustee, depending on the province.

Will you need life and health insurance in retirement?

During your working years, many types of insurance are usually considered to be necessary. For example, life insurance protects your family’s financial security and disability insurance protects your income. In retirement, life and health insurance is to a large extent optional, but may still be regarded as essential to many retirees.

Disability and critical illness insurance

You won’t be getting disability insurance once you’ve stopped working, as this coverage replaces your income from employment or self-employment. Also, disability insurance typically offers coverage up to age 65.

            Critical illness insurance policies are available that provide protection up to age 75 or for your lifetime, but you need to purchase such a policy by age 65 or earlier. Premiums are more expensive for coverage during retirement because there’s increased likelihood of suffering a heart attack or stroke, or being diagnosed with cancer at older ages. With this coverage, retirees who make a claim are able to preserve retirement savings by using the insurance benefit to cover expenses associated with the critical illness. Expenses could include out-of-country medical procedures, home modifications or nursing care.

   

Time for an RESP checkup?

Set it and forget it. That’s an easy trap to fall into after opening a Registered Education Savings Plan (RESP). Simply choose your investments, make regular contributions – being sure to trigger the maximum annual Canada Education Savings Grant (CESG)  – and watch your investments grow.

The reality, however, is there are things to do. You should check an RESP regularly and make adjustments when required. Following are some of the key factors that may call for changes to an RESP.

Investing in the home stretch

For most people, investing changes as retirement approaches. The number one concern is usually wealth protection. If markets suffer a severe downturn just before your planned retirement, you want to know your nest egg will remain intact and you’ll still retire on time.

Safeguarding a nest egg was easier a generation or two ago. Thanks to higher interest rates, you could simply focus on fixed-income investments and enjoy a secure retirement. But with today’s low interest rates and increasing longevity, most investors need a healthy exposure to equities to support retirement lasting two or three decades – or longer.

Claiming home office expenses

Thankfully, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has made it easy for employees to claim home office expenses if you spent more than half of your working hours at home for at least four consecutive weeks in 2020 due to COVID-19. Here are the options available to claim a deduction.

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