Litt Farm

Settling Estate Assets Through your Will

As many of you know, I have produced a variety of articles and presentations on the shortcomings of settling financial assets through your Will.  However, there is nothing like a real-life situation to substantiate a point of view.

An article from the Vancouver Sun illustrates one of the many risks of settling estate assets through your Will:

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To summarize the article, a BC judge overturned a Will that left 93% of the estate to their sons and 7% to four daughters.

This ruling was made under the Wills Variation act, which empowers Judges, to amend the settlement of estate assets through a Will if they feel it is inequitable and unfair.

The purpose of my article is not to question the Variations Act or the Judge’s decision but to make you aware that your Will, in certain circumstances, can be legally challenged which may materially alter the disposition of your Estate assets to beneficiaries.

Even if your Will stands up to a challenge, the legal costs and stress to beneficiaries will greatly reduce the value of your final gift.

The solution:  incorporate, where appropriate, financial strategies that will provide you with living benefits and bypass the Will / Probate process to settle your estate assets directly, quickly and privately to your beneficiaries when you pass.

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For information on Direct Settlement strategies, contact us at 1-800-665-7707 or email

The Year Ahead

“History Doesn’t repeat itself but it often rhymes”
– Mark Twain

The quote above is one of my favourites and is relevant to the recent downward cycle and volatility we have seen in the stock markets.

For the first time since 2011 (some of you since 2008), your 2018 fund statements will be showing a negative return. Negative returns are never pleasant however, they are a normal and necessary occurrence in the investment cycle.

Over the past 30+ years, I have experienced at least 5 down cycles and to paraphrase Mr. Twain, here are some historical “rhymes” that have been constant with your funds:

  1. Negative returns come, on average, about every six years and usually last only one year;
  2. Periods of negative returns were followed by much longer and larger periods of investment growth; and
  3. Even in negative years the 5+ year average return of your funds remained positive.

As expected, media experts who were telling us 6 months ago that the market growth would be going on forever are now full of gloom and doom. They cite tariff wars, political issues, world unrest, etc. – all of which were issues long before this recent downturn and will be with us long after we enter our next growth cycle.

I always encourage my clients to do their own research and go back to previous down cycles in the market and economy (1987, 2000-2003, 2008) to read the news of the day and also to track the growth cycles that followed. It provides a much better perspective than relying on media, experts, friends and colleagues.

I am not saying you have to be thrilled when you read your statements, however, try and remember what got you here and for our newer clients, where your fund will likely be trending.

For many of you, the Guaranteed Income options attached to your accounts will continue to grow and/or produce a lifetime income and are not affected by current or future market volatility.

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For those of you interested in finding out about these guaranteed growth and income option, contact us at 1-800-665-7707 or email

Direct settle your estate

Direct Settlement

I would like to share with you an illustration from a slide that is an integral part of my Estate Planning seminars.

This slide illustrates how Smart Estate Strategies enhance your Legacy and provide Direct Settlement to your Beneficiaries.

I hope you enjoy this illustration which can be accessed through the link below:

Smart Estate Strategy »

(603 kb .PDF file)

Contact Us

To set up a no nonsense confidential review to determine if our Smart Estate or other proven financial strategies will work for you, contact us at 1-800-665-7707 or Email

Enhance your Wealth and Legacy

Protecting Your Retirement

I would like to offer you the opportunity to participate in an exercise that may help you identify and protect your current or future retirement lifestyle from significant financial risk.

The Exercise

This question is part of my Estate Planning Seminar and will help you identify how extended family can pose a financial risk to your retirement lifestyle.

I have two questions I am going to ask you – take 30 seconds on each question. You may find it helpful to put a mark down each time you think of an individual or family.

Please access this thought-provoking exercise below. You are not required to submit your answers or provide any personal information.

Protect Your Retirement » (PDF)

Contact Us

To set up a no-nonsense confidential review to determine if our Smart Estate or other proven financial strategies will work for you, contact us at 1-800-665-7707 or Email

Is an Individual Pension Plan right for you?

Based on a C.D. Howe Institute report that suggested one possible solution to the alleged retirement crisis was simply to go back to the half-century-plus RRSP and raise contribution limits for the (relatively) few affluent people who are forced to save in taxable accounts because they’ve maxed out on RRSP room.

If you’re at top executive or own your own business and are 40 years of age or older, there may be another way to get the benefits of RRSPs. The Individual Pension Plan or IPP is an employer-provided program that replaces RRSP savings by an employee, says Stephen Cheng, managing director of Vancouver-based Westcoast Actuaries Inc. To be eligible for an IPP, you need to receive pension-eligible T-4 employment income. Self-employment income, partnership income and dividend income are not pension-eligible, Cheng says. So if you own your own business, you’d have to pay yourself a regular salary that generates T-4 employment income.

See advantages and the whole article here: moneysense

From Jonathan Chevreau

Call our office at 1-800-665-7707.
Our Advisors are available for a complimentary review of your situation to help you determine if our Cost Recovery Programme, or any of our other proven financial strategies, are right for you.
Contact Us For A Review


The 7 new Retirement Financial Strategies

Canadians can no longer rely on pensions, government benefits and bull markets.

There was a time when many Canadians retired right at age 65—whether they wanted to or not. It was a full-stop kind of retirement: you worked for the same company for most of your career, they threw you a party on your last day, and the next morning you woke up to a life of hobbies and doting on grandkids. Government benefits and traditional employer pensions kicked in immediately and they were often sufficient to take care of you, even if you had no other savings.

That traditional notion of retirement is pretty much dead. Today most Canadians are able to say goodbye to a full-time career sometime during their early 60s, but the new retirement comes in many forms. It might include golf, travel and volunteering, but it’s also likely to involve contract or part-time work, too. More and more, the goal of retirement is really about achieving financial independence—or to use the word coined by MoneySense editor Jonathan Chevreau, “findependence.” That’s the point in life where your career and lifestyle choices are no longer driven by financial necessity, and it may occur decades before traditional retirement.

The challenge, however, is that the responsibility is more on your shoulders than it was in the paternalistic past. Defined benefit pension plans are dying out, except in the public sector. And the government is starting to scale back seniors’ benefits such as Old Age Security, which will eventually start at age 67 instead of 65. Increasingly, your retirement income depends on how much you save and how you manage your own money. Unfortunately, just while this is happening, your nest egg has no doubt been afflicted by low interest rates and uncertain stock markets. All this makes the new retirement more precarious.

In what follows, we describe seven strategies that will speed you towards financial independence, preferably while you’re still young enough to enjoy it. You’ll also meet seven Canadians who are living out their lifelong dreams and reinventing the traditional notion of what it means to be retired.

  1. Reinvent your job
  2. Protect your savings
  3. Boost your income with dividends
  4. Cash in on your home
  5. Think differently about debt
  6. Wait before you buy an annuity
  7. Reduce your tax bill

Read the full article here: MoneySense

From David Aston

Call our office at 1-800-665-7707.
Our Advisors are available for a complimentary review of your situation to help you determine if our Cost Recovery Programme, or any of our other proven financial strategies, are right for you.
Contact Us For A Review

Oldest Workers: Why We Refuse To Retire?

At 102 years old, Loren Wade is one of the oldest workers in America.

For the past 30 years, he has worked at Wal-Mart’s Winfield, Kansas store. Currently, he works 32 hours a week as an associate in the lawn and garden department, doing everything from stocking the shelves and running the cash register to helping customers pick out flowers for their garden.



  • Name: Betty Reid Soskin
  • Age: 93

Betty Reid Soskin has been an office worker, a record store owner and a political staffer. But it wasn’t until she was well into her 80s that she found her dream job.


Seven years ago, she became a park ranger at the Rosie the Riveter/World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, Calif. Three times a week, she shares with visitors what it was like to work in a segregated union hall during World War II — how she never saw herself as a “Rosie” since black women weren’t hired to do the same work as white women.


  • Name: Kenneth Curzon
  • Age: 91

In a career that has spanned many decades, Kenneth Curzon has done everything from managing service centers at car dealerships to acting as Smokey the Bear for the U.S. Forest Service. He’s also a World War II veteran who witnessed D-Day from the beaches of Normandy as a member of the British forces.

But for the past 24 years he has been running the parking services at Scripps Memorial Hospital, which sees more than 3,000 vehicles come in and out every day.


Read the full article here >>

She Must Raise Cash and Cut Losses to Retire

A self-employed art therapist in Toronto, wants to retire in 5 years but she is already dipping into her savings by about $1,000 a month to stay afloat

Situation: Woman with budget in red faces shriveling income when she gives up her business

Solution: Get more income out of properties by increasing rentals, pay off mortgage, invest cash

Read the full article here: Financial Post

From Andrew Allentuck

retirement planning

Retirement: Make The Best Of Your First 100 Days

An incoming president focuses on using his political capital to make his mark in the first 100 days of his administration. An executive in a new leadership role tries to gain traction in the first 90 days to add the value she was hired for. A good start can make or break a career.

In Michael Watkins’s book “Your First 90 Days: Proven Strategies for Getting Up to Speed Faster and Smarter” he explains how a new position, particularly one involving a promotion, often requires different skills than the ones that got you there.

For example, a manager with great attention to detail may falter in a director position where his team feels micromanaged. Transitions can be uncomfortable, since those involved are navigating uncharted territory.


Finding Happiness in Retirement

Finding happiness in retirement is no different. The concepts Watkins outlines on managing transitions can be applied to the ultimate transition — leaving the workforce and entering retirement.

Read the full article here: Forbes

From Nancy Anderson.

10 Ways to Ensure You Don’t Outlive Your Money

Don’t know if your savings will last?

Traditional financial plans say you can withdraw 4% of your initial portfolio value every year (with inflation adjustments). But low interest rates or a long bear market may force you to adapt. If you’re concerned about outliving your savings, plan to be flexible with withdrawals. “People get anchored to a specific amount, but you need to review it and make corrections occasionally,” says Steve Lowrie of Lowrie Financial in Toronto.

Being flexible about your retirement date helps too. Do the math and you’ll be amazed at the difference if you work a year or two longer: you get an extra year of income and an extra year with no withdrawals from the portfolio. Working part-time in retirement will also help your savings last.

You should never take more investment risk that you can stomach, but your portfolio will likely last longer if you allocate more to stocks. A mix of 50% stocks and 50% bonds might be suitable for disciplined retirees.

See more and read the whole article here:

From Dan Bortolotti

Call our office at 1-800-665-7707.
Our Advisors are available for a complimentary review of your situation to help you determine if our Cost Recovery Programme, or any of our other proven financial strategies, are right for you.
Contact Us For A Review