What is Estate Planning – Part 1


The term “Estate Planning” is a very broad and all-encompassing term that can mean just about anything these days. At its most basic, Estate Planning in most people’s eyes usually means preparing a Will, but that is just the tip of the iceberg.

Much talk has been given of late to what people call “Living Wills.” In Alberta, there is no such thing as a “Living Will,” but, for all intents and purposes, a “Living Will” is an Enduring Power of Attorney and a Personal Directive (which do exist here). The former document appoints a representative to administer your financial affairs should you become incapacitated or otherwise unable to make decisions for yourself. The latter document appoints a representative to deal with your health-care decisions. It is very common practice for people nowadays to execute an Enduring Power of Attorney and Personal Directive when they sign their Will.

Another form of Estate Planning is ensuring that your income remains at a constant level during your life, especially into one’s retirement. Some people will do this by way of incorporating one’s self and keeping excess money that they make in their corporation, drawing it out in a regular fashion when needed. This allows a person to shelter any tax consequences from sudden windfalls into a regulated, steady payment at a lower tax level.


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