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Financial Planning:
Designation of Beneficiaries and Registration of Assets

By Daniel Saikaley

Some estate planning strategies are relatively easy to implement. The designation of beneficiaries and registration of assets in a certain manner may facilitate some of your estate planning objectives. However, prior to undertaking any changes to your financial affairs, you should seek the advice of experts, such as tax, legal and financial advisors.

Not all investments allow for the naming of beneficiaries. Key investments in your portfolio that do facilitate this opportunity are insurance policies, Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) and Registered Retirement Income Funds (RRIFs). By naming a beneficiary on these accounts, especially your spouse, you will simplify the estate planning process. In the case of life insurance policies, insurance proceeds are paid directly to named beneficiaries, tax-free and by-pass the probate process.

Designating your spouse as beneficiary of your RRSP or RRIF allows a rollover of your assets to your spouse's plan. This process allows your spouse to continue to defer taxes on these funds until he or she withdraws the funds. Additionally, the assets will be excluded from your estate.

On a regular basis, you should discuss the advantages of naming beneficiaries with your advisors to ensure you are achieving the maximum benefit possible from this strategy within your estate plan. Arranging for registration of assets in joint name, with rights of survivorship, is another estate planning strategy that is easy to implement. If an asset is registered in this manner, the surviving owner automatically becomes the sole owner. By naming another individual as a joint owner, you are essentially giving ownership of a portion of the asset to that other person or persons.

There are many potential tax consequences of transferring property to another person. Estate planning strategies range from simple to complex. However, even those that appear easy to implement may have long-term consequences to your estate plan. You need to consider all potential consequences of your actions prior to undertaking any changes in your plans.

Insurance services are available through CIBC Wood Gundy Financial Services Inc. In Quebec, insurance services are available through CIBC Wood Gundy Financial Services (Quebec) Inc. Daniel Saikaley, CA CFP EPC - Investment Advisor, CIBC Wood Gundy
50 O'Connor St., Suite 800, Ottawa ON K1P 6L2 - Ph. 613.783.4674 Also, visit my website: and click on This Month's Featured Solution.

CIBC Wood Gundy is a division of CIBC World Markets Inc., a subsidiary of Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and Member CIPF. The information contained herein is considered accurate at the time of posting. CIBC and CIBC World Markets Inc. reserve the right to change any of it without prior notice. It is for general information purposes only. Clients are advised to seek advice regarding their particular circumstances from their personal tax advisor.

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