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Insurance Audit for the Business Owner

Many business owners understand the important role that life insurance plays in effective corporate planning.  Whether it is the funding of a shareholders’ agreement, life insuring corporate debt, or protecting against loss from the death of a key employee, life insurance is of great value in underpinning the financial success of a corporation.

Just as life insurance needs for families change over time the same is also true for requirements of a business.  If it has been some time since you last reviewed your corporate needs then it is probably time for a corporate insurance audit. This is especially true if the company has grown in value since the time the insurance was first implemented.  The scope of the audit and the insurance related issues include the following: Read more

The Genetic Non-Discrimination Act and its Impact on Life Insurance

One of the many advancements in medicine has been the use of genetic testing in determining the probability that an individual will develop a life- threatening illness or condition.   Knowing that you or your children are not at risk of a major illness can be of great comfort while knowledge to the contrary can be of great value in preventative treatment and planning.  There was a growing concern, however, that individuals would be very reluctant to undergo genetic testing if knowing the results could affect their ability to properly insure themselves or impact their opportunities for employment.  As a result, a private member’s bill, Bill S-201, was introduced in the senate resulting in the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act being recently enacted into law.

What does the Act do?

It is now illegal for employers, insurance companies, or any other entity or individual to require anyone to undergo genetic testing or to disclose the results of a genetic test before entering into a contract which provides goods or services.  Now, if you apply for life, disability or critical illness insurance living benefit coverage, you cannot be denied coverage due to the results of a genetic test.  Insurance companies and their agents are also prohibited from “collecting, using or disclosing” the results of a genetic test without an individual’s written consent. Penalties for not complying with the new law are severe. Read more

Preparing your Heirs for Wealth

If you think your heirs are not quite old enough or prepared enough to discuss the wealth they will inherit on your death, you’re not alone. Unfortunately though, this way of thinking can leave your beneficiaries in a decision-making vacuum: an unnecessary predicament which can be avoided by facing your own mortality and making a plan.

If you have a will in place, great. A will, however, is only a fundamental first step, not a comprehensive plan, point out authors of the 2017 Wealth Transfer Report from RBC Wealth Management.

“One generation’s success at building wealth does not ensure the next generation’s ability to manage wealth responsibly, or provide effective stewardship for the future,” they write. “Knowing the value (alone) does little to prepare inheritors for managing the considerable responsibilities of wealth.” Overall, the report’s authors say the number of inheritors who’ve been prepared hovers at just one in three. Read more

The Duties of an Executor

An executor is an individual or institution that is named in a will whose duty is to distribute estate assets according to the testator’s wishes. Acting as an executor can be stressful and time consuming so it is a good idea for a testator to make his or her choice wisely, and for someone who is asked to be an executor to investigate and review exactly what the job entails.  Often the executor is the spouse of the deceased. That tends to make the role somewhat more straightforward than it would be for a family member, friend or other acquaintance. In any event, this article covers the duties and obligations of an executor.

Arranging the funeral 

In addition to arranging the burial or cremation and funeral services according to the deceased’s wishes the executor would be responsible in ensuring that family, friends and interested parties (especially employer) have been notified about the death.  Family members will most likely assist in this including the posting of the obituary. If there are sufficient funds in the bank account of the deceased the bank will usually release  funds to cover the cost of the funeral. Read more

Charitable Gifting with Shared Ownership Universal Life Insurance

Many individuals have realized their charitable aspirations by donating a life insurance policy to the charity of their choice.  In situations where that donation is a Universal Life policy, the use of a Shared Ownership strategy could prove to be a viable investment for the donor.

Shared Ownership refers to an arrangement involving cash value life insurance policies such as Universal Life.  Universal Life combines life insurance with an investment fund which grows tax deferred until the cash value is withdrawn.  If the cash value is paid out at death, the growth is tax free.

Under Shared Ownership, the life insurance and the cash value would have different owners and beneficiaries and would be structured as follows: Read more

Index Funds vs Actively Managed Funds: what are the main differences?

There are significant differences when it comes to Index Funds and Actively Managed Funds. Deciding between the two will depend on various factors including your risk appetite, the ROI you are looking to achieve and the timeframe in which you are looking to achieve this. When weighing up these factors it’s useful to know what each type of fund entails, what the main strengths are as well as some of the potential drawbacks of investing in them.

Index Funds

An index fund (also known as a Tracker Fund) is based on a particular market index and aims to track that specific index as closely as possible. The most recognized of these indices are possibly Standard & Poor’s 500 Index, consisting of 500 of the largest US companies that’s listed on the NYSE. Read more

ARTICLES OF INTEREST

Microsoft Corp. is launching a new family caregiver benefit for all employees.

To date, the benefit has rolled out in 22 countries, including in the United States last week. The company will extend the benefit to the remaining countries where it operates, including Canada, over the coming months.

The family caregiver leave allows an employee to take up to four week of fully paid leave to care for an immediate family member with a serious health condition, wrote Kathleen Hogan, executive vice-president of human resources at Microsoft, on her LinkedIn page. Read more »

What Non-Retirees Mean for the Workforce

The decision of 72-year-old railway executive Hunter Harrison to pursue a challenging new gig instead of retirement is emblematic of the changing shape of the workforce

For all Hunter Harrison’s unquestionable talents, he is really bad at one thing: not working. The celebrated railway executive officially retired from Canadian National Railway Company (CN) in 2009, after a long career running railways. A little more than two years later, at the encouragement of activist investor Bill Ackman, Harrison came out of retirement to become president and CEO of Canadian Pacific Railway (CP). Read more »