Andrew Allentuck

Friday, July 6, 2001

Everything You Need to Know about Estate Planning
by Kevin Wark
Key Porter, 213 pages

Well, not everything. Law books on the law of trusts in Canada run to thousands of pages. But this is a good introduction to wills and estates, spousal trusts and the problems of Canadians who are exposed to U.S. estate taxation.

Mr. Wark, a tax lawyer by training, wrote this book before the Bush administration began to reduce U.S. succession duties and move U.S. death taxes toward a capital gains tax. That aside, this is a good, if general, guide to things to watch for in sketching out an estate plan. Before consulting with a lawyer, one can profitably read Mr. Wark to learn what issues to raise.

General and introductory, Everything You Need to Know is a good book at a reasonable price. But don't expect everything - for a reader wondering if setting up a Liechtenstein family foundation will be useful, Mr. Wark will be of limited help. It would have been better to leave out the superlative and just call it what it is - Things Canadians Ought to Know about the Tax Implications of Death.