What happens when the kids grow up and they’re adults that aren’t dependent on us? When I think about estate planning for retirees  and mature families vs. young families, there are certainly a number of different issues that come up – more so around family dynamics.

I’ve structured the infographic checklist the same way as I did with the “Estate Planning for Young Families”, a two sided hexagon; Questions side and Tools side with each side complementing each other.

Adult Children

Question Side:

  • Fair vs Equal (also known as Equitable vs Equal) – like what’s considered to be fair may not necessarily be equal. ex. Should the daughter that’s been working in the family business for 10 years receive the same shares as the son who hasn’t worked in the family business at all?
  • Are the adult children responsible enough to handle the inheritance? Or would they spend it all?

Tools Side:

  • Encourage open conversation with parents and kids so context can be provided behind the decisions, there are no surprises and allows the kids to express their interests and concerns.
  • Facilitate a family meeting with both generations, this will help promote ongoing family unity after death and decrease the chances of resentment later.


Question Side:

  • What are your assets? Create a detailed list of your assets such as:
  • Home, Family Business Interest, Real Estate, Investments- Non registered, TFSA, RRSP, RDSP, RESP, Company Pension Plan, Insurance Policy, Property, Additional revenue sources, etc…
  • What are your liabilities? Create a detailed list of your liabilities such as:
  • Mortgage, Loans (personal, student, car), Line of Credit, Credit card, Other loans (payday, store credit card, utility etc.)
  • Understand your assets-the ownership type (joint, tenants in common, sole etc.), list who are the beneficiaries are for your assets
  • Understand your liabilities- are there any cosigners?

Tools Side:

  • Will- Have one.
  • Assign an executor
  • Provide specific instructions for distribution of assets
  • Always choose 2 qualified people for each position and communicate with them.

Taxes and Probate

Question Side:

  • How much are probate and taxes? (Income tax earned from Jan 1 to date of death + Taxes on Non Registered Assets + Taxes on Registered Assets)
  • Are there any outstanding debts to be paid?
  • You’ve worked your whole life- how much of your hard earned money do you want to give to CRA?
  • How much money do you want to to give to your kids while you’re living?

Tools Side:

  • Consider the use of trusts.
  • Consider the use of an estate freeze if you wish to gift while you’re living.
  • Once you determine the amount of taxes, probate, debt, final expenses and gifts required, review your life insurance coverage to see if it meets your needs or if there’s a shortfall.

Execution:It’s good to go through this but you gotta get it done. Besides doing it yourself, here’s a list of the individuals that can help:

  • Financial Planner/Advisor (CFP)
  • Estate Planning Specialist
  • Insurance Specialist
  • Lawyer
  • Accountant/Tax Specialist
  • Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU)
  • Chartered Executor Advisor (CEA)

There are definitely unique situations in many families and things can get complicated so please use this when you feel it’s applicable.

If you’re a subscriber advisor of ours, please let us know if you’d like this infographic checklist to use with your family clients, prospects and referral sources such as accountants, estate planning lawyers and estate professionals.

The Checklist

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