Estate Planning involves two fundamental factors: reviewing your assets and protecting them.Estate Planning

When putting together an estate plan, first consider the assets you wish to transfer. Second, consider how your assets will be distributed or managed upon your death or incapacity (either via your Will or by other means). Finally, if you have insufficient assets to provide for your beneficiaries you may consider implementing some insurance policies. In this issue we will explore reviewing your assets in more detail…

review your assets

Some assets will form part of the estate to be distributed by your Will and some assets are not distributed by a Will.

In some instances, the Will may be limited and may not cover instances where:

 

what are estate assets?

Estate assets are generally owned in the personal name of the will maker. These can be disposed of by the Will.

Some examples include:

 

what are non-estate assets?

Non-estate assets may be controlled but not owned or wholly owned by the will maker:

 

jointly owned assets

Assets that are jointly owned may or may not form part of the deceased estate. This will depend on the type of co-ownership (either joint tenancy or tenancy in common).

joint tenancy

When a joint tenant dies, their share in the asset is extinguished and they cannot pass the asset to their estate. The surviving owner becomes the sole owner. The most common type of asset held in joint tenancy is the family home.

tenancy in common

When a tenant-in-common dies, their share passes to their deceased estate. Hence, the executor can deal with that share in the asset.

In the case of real estate, the title deed usually specifies the type of co-ownership. Under common law, joint tenancy of real estate is presumed in the absence of contrary intention.