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Administering an estate is no one’s idea of fun. But with Canadians expected to transfer as much as $1-trillion worth of inheritances over the next decade, more and more of us are bound to become intimately familiar with the emotionally fraught, bureaucratic obstacle course that is distributing the assets of a deceased family member.

The good news is that technological advances sparked by the pandemic are making the process a little easier. Online portals set up to abide by social-distancing requirements mean it’s often easier and faster to obtain and submit court or tax documents, in some cases.

As a side note, it has also become easier to make a will without an in-person appointment. Even if you don’t want to rely on online services like Willful or LegalWills.ca, more and more lawyers have set up systems that allow you to make a will and powers of attorney remotely.

But one persistent pain point seem to be the banks. “All of the banks routinely take over six months to release accounts to estate trustees – after they have a court order of probate,” an Ontario-based estate lawyer recently told me. (Probate is the legal procedure that, among other things, gives someone the authority to act as the estate trustee.) The banks are also known to demand in-person appointments to deal with estate matters.

I’d love to know whether you’ve had a similar experience and what consequences – financial or otherwise – those bank delays had for you and your family. If you’re up for being interviewed and having your name appear in the paper, please get in touch. You can e-mail me at: ealini@globeandmail.com. Bonus points if you’re also open to have your picture taken by our talented photographers (they will come to you).


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Erica’s personal finance reading list

A beginner’s guide to RRSPs

RRSP season is upon us. If you’re wondering whether you should contribute to a registered retirement savings plan ahead of the March 1 deadline, financial planner Robb Engen has you covered.

The best joint accounts in Canada

A handy review that also includes an important discussion of the pros and cons of sharing a bank account with your partner.

The life-shaping burden of student debt

“Without student loans, millions of Americans couldn’t afford the degrees that might smooth the road to prosperity. Yet, having student loans can also make it tougher to get far along that journey,” writes Joe Pinsker in the Wall Street Journal. Based on my reporting, I can say that holds in Canada as well. Sure, debt loads are smaller here, but student loans come on top of crushing housing costs for many. And if you’re trying to become a doctor or a lawyer without family financial help, it’s easy to rack up more than $100,000 in debt even north of the 49th parallel.

How much money do other people make?

You can indulge in the voyeuristic pleasure of peeking into other people’s finances with this New York Times portrait of what New Yorkers earn.


Today’s financial tool

Canada’s annual rate of inflation was 6.3 per cent in December. That’s a generalized gauge of price increases. But how you experience inflation depends on what you spend money on. So what’s your personal rate of inflation? Find out with this new Globe calculator.


Products that caught my eye

If you’re worried about airline mishaps, consider dropping a wireless tracking device into any checked bags, in addition to getting travel interruption and cancellation insurance. If you, like me, balked at the price of an Apple AirTag ($39 for one, $129 for a pack of four) or don’t have an iPhone, here are some cheaper alternatives.


Who I’m following on Twitter

Mike Moffatt, an economist and founding director of the PLACE Centre think tank, is one of the most interesting voices of Canada’s Twitterverse on the housing affordability crisis.


Watch this

TikTok financial influencer Nathan Kennedy perfectly captures the experience of signing up for a phone plan in Canada.


ICYMI


More Rob Carrick and money coverage

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