News Article

Sneak Peek! Advisors Require Technical Skills Before Death of a Taxpayer

Posted: June 05, 2018
Posted in: Strategic Thinking

Each year, 1 percent of the population passes away, generating tax consequences and other financial implications that impact remaining family members.Yet, often tax and financial advisors are hesitant to focus on tax-efficient estate planning, leaving it to attorneys instead. But you can add value as a more trusted advisor by offering a more holistic approach to a powerful financial moment by honing skills in discussing the tax consequences on death of a taxpayer.

Inherently client-centric in nature, this broader perspective requires you to look at the big picture and lead a team of advisors, in addition to guiding family members. Knowledge Bureau’s recently updated Final Returns on Death of a Taxpayer course provides you with the qualifications necessary to discuss estate planning in detail, and in the process, prevent the erosion of family wealth by legally avoiding unnecessary taxes.

Advisors who want to help their clients minimize the income tax consequences before death occurs must have expertise in filing final return(s) of the deceased in order to ensure proper tax planning is arranged at time of death, and for the ongoing planning activities of the survivors.

Our students have found great value in improving these skillsets:

“I feel better equipped to deal with questions involving the death of a taxpayer as a result of doing the course. Notwithstanding the fact that I have been doing final returns for about ten years, the course gave me some new insights and perspectives. My experience has been exclusively with “closed fact” situations (i.e., a taxpayer dies and his executor brings in his papers to do up a final return and if necessary an estate return). There are a few things that can be done to minimize taxes owing and the course points these out (for example, doing multiple returns might be an option in some cases), but the real value of the course is in setting out some strategies to deal with [the tax and financial consequences of] death before the event occurs.” – Martin H, Ontario.

The new updates to this course deal comprehensively with the taxation of individuals at death. Students will gain a thorough understanding of how income and capital accumulations are taxed when the taxpayer dies, as well as strategies to minimize those taxes. Students will start with learning what government cheques may be retained and which must be returned; how each type of income is taxed, and on what returns the income is reported; and strategies to defer taxes where possible.

Don’t miss the opportunity to learn how to claim all deductions and credits that are allowed on each return, as well as how to minimize probate fees on assets transferred to beneficiaries. True-to-life case studies involve preparation of tax returns for deceased taxpayers and their surviving spouses.

Specific skills gained include:

  • Understanding death as a financial event and how to discuss its ramifications with clients
  • Spotting potential income tax problems waiting in the wings for your client alongside the grim reaper
  • Asking better questions and bringing value to the client relationship by identifying possible solutions to those problems
  • Identifying and discussing creative tax strategies that take advantage of the opportunities presented by death, both in terms of personal and business finances
  • Preparing all possible T1 returns in the year of death
  • Identifying opportunities for probate avoidance (applicable only in high-probate jurisdictions)

A free trial of this course is available, and successful completion earns you two CE/CEPD credits. Enroll before June 15 for tuition savings, and start studying online, anytime. The credits earned for this certificate course can be applied towards the Master Financial Advisor – Retirement Services Specialist designation. Or, our education advisors can help you create a custom study plan for yourself or members of your team who are ready to specialize in estate planning services.


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