Estate Planning & Trusts

Out Tax Partners are designated Trust and Estate specialists. Benefit from their expertise.

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Estate Planning

Protect your assets and retire in style. Our advice will give you peace of mind.

Accounting and Tax for High Net Worth Individuals

Whether you have worked your way to the top or received an inheritance, it’s crucial to work with a tax specialist to protect your wealth and windfalls.

Stern Cohen has worked with generations of Torontonians and we’ve earned their trust.

Being proactive and understanding the tax planning strategies available will ensure you maximize your assets and minimize estate taxes for today and tomorrow.

Recognized Trust and Estate Practitioners

Trusts and estates are complex fields. Fortunately, our Tax Partners Joe Gervasi and Adam Morke hold the Trust and Estate Practitioner designation (TEP) establishing them as trust and estate specialists. TEP is recognized worldwide as a way to formally distinguish qualified practitioners from non-specialists who only occasionally deal with trusts and estates.

Did you know that an unprecedented number of Canadian business owners will be in a position to retire between now and 2025?

Of those surveyed, 50% admit they are unprepared for succession in their companies. Change and uncertainty can erode business value. It’s critical to get the right advice well in advance of your business sale.

Stern Cohen has helped many clients successfully transition their businesses and we’d like to share our expertise with you. Our Partners and Tax Specialists will provide you with the guidance you need to accomplish your goals.

Your business is your life’s work – being proactive, getting the best advice available, and having a proven plan in place will ensure you maximize your wealth and achieve optimal results for you and your family.

For those who would like to sell their business or start planning their retirement, our services include:

Business Owners

  • Strategic planning and strategies to maximize value in your business
  • Tax compliance, tax efficiencies, tax planning
  • Asset protection techniques including trusts, estate freezes, and tax rollover elections
  • Consulting to ensure the correct steps to buy, sell or transition ownership of a business
  • Analysis of risk factors, and ways to mitigate risk factors
  • Compensation and shareholder agreements
  • Timing, costs and common issues that can arise during transition
  • Profit sharing plans & pensions for retiring and new owners
  • Business valuation to identify the value of your business

Individuals and Families

  • Family estate planning and compliance
  • Tax planning
  • Integration of personal and corporate holdings
  • Accounting for investments
  • Retirement and pension planning
  • Annual or monthly bookkeeping and write up
  • Tax issues for snowbirds and those living in the US or outside of Canada (cross border)
  • Estate administration and freezes
  • Family trusts
  • Advice on selection of wealth manager and diversification of investments
What is Estate Planning?

Estate Planning is a very general term for accounting and legal services that deal with life, death and planning for the transfer of wealth and assets.

Estate planning provides reassurance and comfort because it can involve:

  • creating a plan to protect your estate and earnings
  • maximizing earnings and Capital Gains exemptions using tax strategies
  • providing for your loved ones and/or future generations
  • planning a tax efficient way to disperse your estate while you are living or after
  • ensuring complex administrative, legal, and tax compliance requirements (like probate) are taken care of in a timely and professional manner to minimize penalties and costs
How do you know if you need Estate Planning?

If you are in any of the following situations, you might benefit from estate planning services:

  • You’re a business owner with revenues of $300,000+ and
    • you want to “wind up” your business in a tax efficient way
    • you want to sell your business in 5 years
    • you want to pass your business to the next generation or to others (succession planning)
  • You may have future capital gains tax exemptions from selling your business, home, or stock options.
  • You have stock options, RSU’s
  • You have significant “self-directed” investments (2M+)
  • You are not working with an investment banker. For example, you’re using a Robo Advisor or Wealth Simple.
  • You want to decrease future probate costs for your family or a loved one.
Why is the TEP designation important?

The Trust and Estate Practitioner designation ensures you are dealing with a highly trained and experienced professional when it comes to crucial services for your and your family’s inheritance, estate and business succession.

Joe Gervasi and Adam Morke are Stern Cohen’s Tax Partners. Both Joe and Adam are designated Trust and Estate Practitioners (TEP). The TEP designation is recognized worldwide as a way to formally distinguish qualified practitioners from non-specialists who only occasionally deal with trusts and estates. So when it comes to selecting an estate planning specialist, Joe and Adam are excellent choices.

Why do I need a Tax Specialist for Estate Planning?

Tax is a very complex field requiring constant study due to ever changing legislation around tax law. Complex tax matters and tax planning require detailed background information on each client and careful consideration of available options and the client’s objectives. While most accountants do basic tax, they are not tax specialists. At Stern Cohen, our Tax Partners are tax specialists and they lead a team of tax practitioners. Our tax team focuses exclusively on tax and estate planning. They also work with trusted lawyers who can assist with legal matters like your will. Most lawyers recognize the importance of working with a tax specialist (not a general accountant) for corporate tax and estate planning.

When should business owners begin planning for the future sale of their business?

Business owner transition planning should be carried out 3 to 5 years in advance of retirement (anything less than 18 months can be problematic).

Picture of Stern Cohen Tax Partner Joe Gervasi

Client Reviews

Our clients are extremely happy with our services. Read for yourself!

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Succession of a third generation family development firm presents unique, complex and so often, devastating hurdles. Only with the expert knowledge, advice, attention and patience demonstrated by Stern Cohen have we not only conquered these obstacles but at the same time, with what I can only describe as brilliant strategic planning and insight from Stern Cohen, we have restructured and diversified what was a simple one dimensional real estate company into a multifaceted investment corporation that enables us to compete in the changing real estate arena. Working with the Stern Cohen’s team of professionals has freed my time to concentrate on the vision and the deals.

Robert Mantella, President and CEO Mantella Corporation

Our company has enjoyed a relationship with Stern Cohen since 1998. I originally met Mike McCleave through my Mother & Father our founders who looked at Mike as another son. Upon their passing Mike was instrumental in arranging a seamless transition in my becoming President. I share the opinion of my parents that Mike is more than a business associate, he is a member of our extended family. I would without reservation recommend Mr. McCleave and the fine support team of Stern Cohen.

David McPake, President Custom Door & Lock Service Security Consultants

These days, financial services are about providing added value. For us, the added value is our 50-year relationship with Stern Cohen and the firm’s expert knowledge of our business. They have provided us with planning and guidance related to management succession, as well as other services. Everyone I have dealt with at Stern Cohen has a style that is representative of the firm; they take the high road. They are thoughtful, professional and they think before they shoot.

Robert Dales, Owner Bacon Basketware Limited

Other Services

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Financial reporting is critical to the success of a business or nonprofit. We can help.

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We handle business tax. Our team of tax specialists get rave reviews.