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For richer or poorer: financial planning for same sex couples

In recent years, the definition of marriage has changed, with the recognition of equal rights for same sex couples through the Civil Marriage Act in July 2005. But one thing that has not changed is the importance of working with your significant other to create a sound financial plan.

Marriage or any significant change in your relationship is a good time to review your finances and future plans. “Gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender couples enjoy most of the same rights as opposite sex couples across the country, but there are some differences among the provinces that can affect your financial plan,” says Patricia Lovett-Reid, Senior Vice-President, TD Waterhouse. “It is important to have a good understanding of the tax, family and estate law implications of a marriage or common-law relationship and to put together a financial plan that fits your situation and meets your needs now and into the future.

The experts at TD Waterhouse offer the following planning ideas for GLBT couples:

  • Develop a financial plan together to reflect your new family situation
  • If you have a minor child, review the child’s education saving plan
  • Make sure your wills are prepared or updated
  • Have continuing powers of attorney
  • Consider joint registration of assets
  • Beneficiary designations - naming your partner the beneficiary of your pension or registered plans
  • Review your life, disability and critical illness insurance
  • Consider using a domestic contract to determine how assets are to be distributed on divorce or death
  • Explore ways to minimize taxes by availing and transferring spousal tax credits, and by using income splitting strategies such as spousal RSP contributions or sharing Canada Pension Plan payments, wherever eligible

To find out how you can meet your retirement goals, please visit