Nina Asusa, Broker

Nina's journey in real estate began in the early 1990's where her passion for real-estate quickly grew from an investor and home renovator, to where she is today. In 2006*, Nina launched her full-time real estate career and quickly found herself helping her clients, who many became friends, achieve not just any lifestyle, but the lifestyle they wanted for themselves. Her model was and always will be ''Don't follow someone else's story; create your own story, create your own lifestyle, because 'home is where your story begins.'''  From a single realtor, to developing a strong team of realtors she personally mentored and later owning a real estate brokerage firm, Nina's focus remained the same. She continues to channel her high energy and extensive experience into understanding her client's needs and wants, and in helping them in their real estate journey. Nina's greatest honour is the trust others grant her when welcoming her in their life's journey.

When an Inheritance Must be Equalized

By: Scott Penney, PFP | IPC

When an Inheritance Must be Equalized

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Consider yourself fortunate if leaving an inheritance involves the usual manner of dividing up your estate – simply determining the amount or percentage each heir receives of each estate asset. In some cases, however, it’s not so straightforward. You may have specific assets that are not easily divisible. Or you may face an estate planning conflict with heirs from more than one marriage. These situations have solutions, but they require some strategy and extra planning.
Indivisible assets
Say that a business owner has a daughter who will eventually own the company and a son who has no interest in the business. This owner faces an estate planning challenge because he doesn’t have enough assets outside of the business to leave his son an equal inheritance. Now, there are a number of solutions. A more complex one is leaving the business to both children and have the daughter buy out her brother’s interest. A simpler solution is for the owner to purchase a permanent life insurance policy designating his son as beneficiary.
Vacation property can pose a similar estate planning challenge. Suppose that the property owner has one child who dreams of owning the summer home and another child who lives out of province and has no interest in the property. Now the vacation property has become an indivisible asset. The owner, to equalize the inheritance, needs to designate assets to the child living out of province – perhaps using investment funds, a life insurance policy or even the principal residence.
 
Two sets of heirs
Sometimes it’s the nature of the family – or families – that calls for an estate equalization strategy. Say you’re in a second marriage and have children from your first. The expectation is that your spouse will be the primary beneficiary of your estate, but you wish to leave a sizable inheritance to your children from your first marriage. One solution is to establish a spousal trust where your spouse receives lifetime income and, after your spouse passes, your children receive remaining capital. Another strategy is to make your children beneficiaries of a life insurance policy, so they receive their inheritance right away.
 
Communication is key
When you develop a strategy to balance an inheritance, it’s important to communicate the plan to your heirs. This way, you’ll find out if everyone is satisfied – if someone is not, you’ll have time to find a resolution. For example, let’s return to the business owner who gives the business to his daughter and leaves his son an insurance policy. Though the insurance amount is significant, it’s purposely less than the value of the business. The parent rationalizes that running the business takes an ongoing commitment and countless extra hours of work, whereas the inheritance from an insurance policy is simply money in the bank. But the son questions the difference in the two inheritances. You’ve discovered a problem, and you can try to find a solution that’s agreeable to everyone. Without this communication, you risk causing discord among your children after you’re gone, and possibly the contesting of your will.
 
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This article was originally published in November 2018 at https://www.investmentplanningcounsel.ca/and supplied by Scott Penney, PFP® and Wealth Advisor with Investment Planning Counsel of Canada.