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Communication barrier in same-sex couples financial planning

Over the past decade, major inroads have been made into broadening therights of same-sex couples in Canada, but when it comes down tofinancial planning some advisers say important differences remain.

Over the past decade, major inroads have been made into broadening the rights of same-sex couples in Canada, but when it comes down to financial planning some advisers say important differences remain.

Often it comes down to how same-sex couples manage their long-term financial goals and whether they have really addressed what would happen if one partner was to die without the proper documents in place.

Those potential pitfalls can usually be avoided if they're anticipated and a financial plan is etched out, but sometimes that's the hardest part, said Julia Chung, a branch manager at the Bank of Montreal in downtown Toronto.

Some lesbian, gay, transgendered or bisexual individuals — and even long-term couples — don't like to discuss their personal lives with outsiders, or they omit crucial details that could impact their financial futures.

“You find out afterwards, and then the (financial) plan you thought was for one goal doesn't make sense any more,” Chung said.

Creating that open dialogue has been one of the greatest challenges for many same-sex couples and their advisers.

TD Waterhouse vice-president Patricia Lovett-Reid said preparing a will and keeping it updated is one of the most important aspects of a financial plan.

“Family members who are excluded from a will ... may challenge the validity. Make sure your wills are ... updated, because marriage commonly invalidates a will made prior to the marriage,” she said.

 
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