Life expectancy is one of the great unknowns in retirement planning, but these strategies cover you no matter what

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Some provinces have high probate fees payable on death to validate the will of the deceased before distribution. These fees can be avoided by naming beneficiaries, holding assets jointly with right of survivorship, using insurance products, or by establishing joint partner or alter ego trusts. Some provinces charge flat fees for probate, while others charge a percentage. A small percentage of a large estate can still be significant. Despite the cost of probate, the time and effort required may be reasons to try to avoid probate as well.

The risk of living too long is an important possibility to plan for and a risk to mitigate when planning retirement. Family history may contribute to life expectancy, but someone can live to a ripe old age even if their parents did not. There is a 50 per cent probability of a 65-year-old man living to age 89, and for a woman, two years longer, to age 91.

Deferring the start of a CPP or OAS pension to as late as age 70 is a good way to plan for a long life expectancy. A pensioner who lives well into their 80s may be better off in the long run, despite a delay to their pension in the short run. It may mean they need to draw down on their investments earlier in retirement while they hold off on government pensions, but this can be a beneficial strategy for someone who does not have a DB pension plan from their working years. CPP and OAS are increased for every year they are deferred, up until age 70, and are also indexed annually to inflation.

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