Over the past year, many individuals at business mixers, client meetings and in personal conversation, I get asked the question, “What is a TEP designation”.
So I thought that I would wrap the answer to this question into my blog today, along with a couple of ways of how my TEP designation and knowledge can assist you.
TEP stands for Trust and Estate Practitioner and is a designation that is recognized world wide. The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners is the leading international organization for Trust and Estate professionals including accountants, lawyers, financial planners, insurance advisors and trust professionals. STEP Canada was founded in 1998 and has almost 2,000 members across Canada.
Currently, I am one of only four public practicing accountants in New Brunswick that have the TEP designation.
So how can my TEP help you?
The knowledge and skill sets that I have acquired during my completion of the STEP Diploma program as well as my near eleven year experience in working with Small Business owners and individuals, allows me to help you out in the following ways:
In my opinion, in the past, many people seen the estate planning exercise as an exercise for individuals with extreme wealth, however, I believe that it is an exercise that everyone should undertake.
Regardless of the size of your estate, and in my experience, most individual do not realize the size of their estate until we complete the exercise of reviewing their assets, investments and insurance policies, the exercise of working with a TEP to review your estate and the potential planning opportunities can benefit not only yourself but your family.
No one likes to talk about death and many people dread talking about their own demise, however, that is the first hurdle that I assist with. By discussing the planning process with an individual, they soon see the value of the exercise and the result of the exercise. To many, the most rewarding return from an estate plan is piece of mind.
Having an estate plan in place, will allow you to ease the burden on your surviving spouse, family and friends as they have a clear plan to follow upon your death. Having a clear plan or an advisor like myself to assist with your estate reduces the stress associated with the financial affairs of a deceased family member or friend.
Completing Your Will
Another question, I am usually asked is if I can prepare a will. I am many things, however, I am not a lawyer, therefore I do not practice law and I recommend that you seek the assistance of a lawyer to draft your will.
However, I can assist you with the process of preparing a will. Based on your goals, objectives and wishes in respect of your estate, I can assist you with how your estate and will should be structure to provide tax savings, navigation of potential family issues as well as ensuring clear direction is provided to your Executor.
While working with you on this process, I will produce an instruction letter for your lawyer to assist them in the drafting of your will. Your lawyer will have clear direction on what your will is to include.
Agent for Estate Executor
I will never forget a client situation early on in my career and it is one that ultimately lead my down the path to obtain my TEP designation.
An individual had a close family member pass away. This family member had a business, as well as personal investments resulting in a complex estate. The family member was a client of mine and had named their nephew as Executor of the Estate.
The nephew came to meet with me upon my client’s death and was completely overwhelmed. The Executor had no business experience and did not know where to start and ultimately was very emotional and stressed about the situation.
This situation has stuck with me and this is an area that I can be of great assistance. I can assist an Executor of an Estate navigate the role and responsibilities that come along with being named as an Executor.
The responsibilities associated with being an Executor are extensive and numerous, so having the assistance of a TEP can ease the process and allow for less bumps in the road in the winding up of the Estate.
As Executor, you are responsible for everything from filing tax returns, providing paperwork for winding up of pensions, seeking out life insurance payouts, selling of property and the ultimate responsibility of distributing the Estate to its beneficiaries.
The Agent for Executor service that ANR offers, provides you a knowledgeable professional that can assist you to ensure you have completed the responsibilities that come with being an Executor. The service can be full assistance from start to finish or assistance with certain areas that you are not familiar with.
Income Tax Preparation
Finally, I can never end a blog without talking about tax… Taxation of an Estate is complex with the potential to file multiple personal returns as well as a Trust return for the Estate.
A hidden tax liability can cause an Executor great grief, so filing of clearance certificates is as important as filing the tax returns.
I hope that this provides you with a better sense of what is a TEP and how my TEP can help you, sorry I had to include some doom and gloom with a heaping of tax on top, but trust me, it could be a whole lot worse out with the help of a TEP…