There are a number of myths and realities surrounding same-sex couples and personal finance. Heather Richardson, VP, TD Wealth, and Jeffrey Kroeker, Partner, Civis Law explain what you need to know about benefits, insurance, pensions, wills and more.
00:00:05.952 The following paid commercial program is brought to you by TD Wealth.
00:00:10.416 Tonight, it's been more than 15 years since LGBT couples won the right
00:00:15.150 to enjoy the same benefits as their common-law counterparts regarding
00:00:19.040 pensions and income tax.
00:00:20.921 But are there still differences when it comes to managing their finances?
00:00:24.817 And do obstacles remain when it comes to planning?
00:00:27.739 Our expert panel will provide some insight-- Jeffrey Kroeker, partner at Civis Law,
00:00:33.096 and Heather Richardson, Vice President at TD Wealth-- weigh in.
00:00:36.505 That's coming up, on Money Talk.
00:00:49.244 Hello, and welcome to a special edition of Money Talk.
00:00:52.280 I'm Kim Parlee.
00:00:53.180 Tonight's show is called "Busting Myths, Same-Sex Financial Planning
00:00:57.395 and What You Need to Know."
00:00:58.520 And at the very core of this show is the idea that even though Canada
00:01:02.890 was one of the first countries in the world to legalize same sex marriage,
00:01:06.670 some say there are still differences in how same sex couples, especially
00:01:10.680 common law same-sex couples, need to plan as compared to heterosexual couples.
00:01:15.600 We're going to dig into that, see what is true and what isn't.
00:01:18.597 And to help us do that, we have some great guests.
00:01:20.680 We have Jeffrey Kroeker.
00:01:21.680 He's a lawyer at Civis Law, and Heather Richardson, Vice President at TD Wealth.
00:01:26.150 Included with them, we also have a fabulous live studio audience.
00:01:29.690 Let's give a round of applause for everybody in the room, guests and audience alike.
00:01:33.936 Thank you for joining us.
00:01:38.170 And let's get into this.
00:01:40.300 I want to start off with the caveat that when we say same-sex couple, I mean,
00:01:43.960 that's a broad classification.
00:01:46.010 I mean, young, old, kids, no kids.
00:01:47.780 I mean, it's a spectrum.
00:01:49.479 But there are some core issues we're going to try and zoom in
00:01:52.020 on for everybody that are relevant.
00:01:53.890 I did lots of research.
00:01:54.849 And I'm sure going to poke holes in a lot of what I've said.
00:01:57.348 So I want to start with something that I found.
00:01:59.550 And I want to tell you if this lays out the foundation for our conversation.
00:02:03.330 Here's a statement.
00:02:04.650 There's a much greater tendency for same-sex couples to think of their money as separate,
00:02:10.110 rather than combined.
00:02:11.580 Would you say that is true or false, Heather?
00:02:13.870 Well, in my experience, I've certainly come across those situations
00:02:18.950 where individuals want to deal with their assets separately.
00:02:24.420 But I would also say that those situations aren't
00:02:27.610 any more prevalent than they are in the heterosexual space from the clients
00:02:31.205 that I've dealt with.
00:02:32.080 She's being polite.
00:02:32.810 She's saying false.
00:02:33.601 OK, got it.
00:02:34.290 All right, Jeffrey, true or false?
00:02:35.880 What do you think?
00:02:36.630 I see it a bit differently.
00:02:37.840 I do believe that same-sex couples have a tendency
00:02:40.800 to separate their own pile of money, if you will.
00:02:44.570 And I think part of it comes from the fact that a lot of same-sex couples
00:02:48.410 get together later in life, after they've dealt
00:02:50.900 with the process of coming out and so forth.
00:02:53.610 But the big issue for those couples will be whether or not
00:02:56.027 they figure out what they have to do to bring those things together
00:02:58.818 to protect themselves as a couple.
00:03:00.430 All right.
00:03:00.730 Well, let's talk about bringing those things together and actually, how we do it.
00:03:04.105 And again, these are core issues.
00:03:05.730 So the first thing we're going to talk about are taxes.
00:03:08.564 Inevitable, death and taxes, they're coming for everybody.
00:03:10.980 So the question is, are there unique issues-- tax issues-- for same-sex couples?
00:03:17.404 Well, I'll say this.
00:03:18.782 When the government wants to take money away from you, you're treated pretty equal.
00:03:23.444 When you want to give money away to somebody else other than the government,
00:03:26.610 there are some specific rules that are a bit different.
00:03:29.610 But for same-sex couples, in particular, if they're not married--
00:03:33.634 But married is married is married.
00:03:35.050 Married is married, fair enough.
00:03:36.420 But if they are not married and they're in a common law relationship,
00:03:39.295 meaning one year together in the same place, in a conjugal relationship,
00:03:43.140 the CRA requires you to file your taxes together.
00:03:46.802 And there are both pros and cons to that.
00:03:48.510 But there are a lot of couple tax benefits that you get with that.
00:03:50.850 What are some of those benefits?
00:03:52.440 The ability to share basic deductions, sharing tuition credits.
00:03:56.610 And also, the big thing is helping one another top up your RRSP amounts.
00:04:00.660 And also, income splitting.
00:04:02.030 Right, income splitting, and Jeffrey mentioned
00:04:05.770 topping up one another's RSP amounts, so looking at a spousal RSP as an example.
00:04:10.850 Let me ask you.
00:04:11.540 Is there an issue where let's say somebody doesn't want-- maybe they're not out.
00:04:16.769 And they're living together.
00:04:18.300 They don't want the government or anyone to know, for that matter.
00:04:21.880 And they don't get the benefits.
00:04:23.690 But then one partner passes away.
00:04:25.880 For example, with CPP, you would not be eligible down for that survivor benefit.
00:04:30.810 It is a major challenge.
00:04:32.270 And I think as society in Canada has grown to accept same-sex couples more so,
00:04:37.470 I think it is becoming easier for people to come out of the closet
00:04:40.910 and to share their love publicly with the person that they love.
00:04:44.760 But there is a challenge there in the sense that with insurance policies or taxation,
00:04:49.920 you do have to name your partner.
00:04:51.590 And that is a critical issue.
00:04:52.800 And with respect to your wills and estates, if you haven't taken the proper planning
00:04:57.010 steps and you're not married, you could leave your partner
00:05:00.507 in a really tough bind where they could potentially lose everything.
00:05:03.340 I think there's going to be a theme to a lot of this is just being very, very clear
00:05:06.810 and explicit in your instructions and what you want to do.
00:05:09.290 Let's move on to the next topic then, insurance.
00:05:11.290 You highlighted that.
00:05:12.590 Are there any specific issues unique to same-sex sex couples around insurance?
00:05:16.129 Well, with any life insurance policy, in particular,
00:05:18.295 or health and benefits, life insurance, you have to name your beneficiary.
00:05:22.560 So whoever that beneficiary is, whether it's your best friend
00:05:25.304 or your same-sex sex partner, what I would say
00:05:27.220 to you is take the necessary steps to do your research,
00:05:30.380 get the best insurance policies in place, and make sure that you protect one another,
00:05:34.090 should, god forbid, the worst thing happen and one of you
00:05:36.464 die that you are looking after the person that you love.
00:05:40.290 And I guess the issue too is if you are in a relationship, common law,
00:05:45.060 and it's not named in the insurance and a partner dies--
00:05:49.160 Then it's paid to the estate and subject to family law, which
00:05:53.910 differs from province to province in terms of dealing with common law relationships.
00:05:58.200 And this goes back to what you were saying, I think.
00:06:00.366 From a tax law perspective, common law equals married.
00:06:04.170 From a family law perspective, common law does not equal married.
00:06:07.580 Marriage has its privileges that common law does not.
00:06:10.680 And some other stuff too.
00:06:12.160 Fair enough.
00:06:12.660 Fair enough.
00:06:13.161 See, they're laughing at that.
00:06:14.410 It's an exclusive club.
00:06:15.650 It's an exclusive club.
00:06:17.090 Let me ask you about-- and again, if everybody gets a little bit of something
00:06:20.770 from this conversation, we'll be thrilled because we're going to cover a lot of ground
00:06:23.740 Traveling, if you're traveling as a same-sex couple outside of Canada,
00:06:29.060 there are jurisdictional issues, other areas or parts of world that may not recognize.
00:06:33.432 I'm going to start with you because you and I have chatted.
00:06:35.890 And people think, oh, that happens to someone else.
00:06:38.015 It doesn't happen here.
00:06:39.045 What happened to you?
00:06:39.920 Well, as we were talking about earlier, my partner and I, who were married,
00:06:46.040 were traveling to the States, to Charlotte for a work function.
00:06:50.600 And typically, we go through customs together.
00:06:53.750 And when we were going through customs at the Toronto airport,
00:06:56.750 we dealt with a particular customs officer who
00:06:59.400 did not want to let us pass through together and made a little bit of a scene about it
00:07:03.740 and suggested--
00:07:04.500 And this is, again, in Canada.
00:07:06.060 In Canada, clearing US Customs at the Toronto airport.
00:07:09.882 So he indicated that one of us could go through on the card that we provided,
00:07:13.090 but the other one would need to go to the back of the line.
00:07:14.870 And made it clear that--
00:07:16.470 It was not-- how do you handle that?
00:07:20.190 It was embarrassing more than anything.
00:07:22.140 And I just put my head down.
00:07:24.680 And I didn't want to fight it.
00:07:27.530 I felt he had created a scene already.
00:07:29.212 And there wasn't anything that I really needed to do.
00:07:31.420 Yeah, it's pretty hard that's happening in this day and age.
00:07:34.010 Let me ask you, as well, from your traveling--
00:07:39.530 I mean to ask traveling, first off and also medical decisions
00:07:42.305 if you're traveling because that's a big one.
00:07:44.180 For sure.
00:07:45.150 Look, the situation that Heather went through was awful.
00:07:47.880 And I think the United States is going to deal with that this year
00:07:50.630 at the Supreme Court when that comes up.
00:07:52.620 But wherever you're traveling, I think one of the major issues
00:07:55.203 that you have to do if you're traveling as a same-sex couple is to understand
00:07:58.530 that you need to do your research.
00:08:00.330 There are parts of the world that are not as open and accepting as Canada.
00:08:03.880 You have to accept that.
00:08:05.030 You don't necessarily get the rights and privileges.
00:08:07.330 And if you are showing public displays of affection, you're going off a resort,
00:08:12.780 or you're in places of the world where homosexuality is illegal,
00:08:15.490 you could be arrested and detained in perpetuity.
00:08:18.460 And it becomes a major issue for the government,
00:08:21.130 who then has to advocate on your behalf for doing something that you
00:08:24.050 would find perfectly acceptable here.
00:08:26.150 The other issue, as you mentioned, is the issue around medical decisions.
00:08:28.600 You may not be recognized as someone who can make decisions for someone.
00:08:33.370 It would just be like in a foreign country, where they don't recognize
00:08:36.554 same-sex marriage, you're just a friend.
00:08:38.220 So what friend has the right to make medical decisions for you?
00:08:41.549 So how do you prepare for that?
00:08:43.000 One of the things you can do when you're traveling--
00:08:44.740 this is one of the things you never like to discuss--
00:08:47.120 is to travel with a power of attorney, some type of legal document
00:08:51.020 that indicates that this person, as your friend,
00:08:53.820 is allowed to make those medical decisions for you should,
00:08:56.240 god forbid, the worst thing happen.
00:08:58.010 And a good document to have for home, as well, if you're not married,
00:09:02.480 to have somebody to make financial and health decisions on your behalf
00:09:06.434 if you're not capable.
00:09:07.350 Just get rid of the ambiguity.
00:09:08.980 So there's no questions.
00:09:09.510 All right, more ambiguity we're going to kill off right after this break.
00:09:12.690 When we come back, we've got some big questions about pensions, a wills.
00:09:15.130 We're even going to be talking about retirement homes.
00:09:17.210 Stay with us.
00:09:17.751 We'll get to those right after this.
00:09:19.370 You're watching Money Talk.
00:09:32.746 Welcome back to a special edition of Money Talk.
00:09:35.690 Our focus tonight is myth-busting around same-sex financial planning.
00:09:39.360 And we are digging into all sorts of questions.
00:09:41.760 And the next big one is one little question, pensions, wills, estate planning.
00:09:47.180 Explain it all in three minutes or less.
00:09:50.150 Not really fair.
00:09:51.030 But let's talk about-- I guess the importance, first off, is to be clear.
00:09:54.420 No ambiguity, right?
00:09:55.750 This is correct.
00:09:56.920 It goes back to structuring a will and naming the people
00:10:01.090 you want to receive money in your will.
00:10:03.460 A little known secret in the wills and estates community
00:10:06.420 is that gay and lesbian wills are often challenged
00:10:10.020 far more than is the heterosexual community.
00:10:12.960 And that is primarily because, of course, family members that may not have known
00:10:17.250 or family members that see dollar signs, see that this is an opportunity
00:10:21.170 that that person should not get the money.
00:10:22.980 And it is challenged.
00:10:24.090 So making sure that you take those extra steps to be
00:10:26.580 explicitly clear, either in cohabitation agreements, if you're living with somebody,
00:10:31.040 in your powers of attorney, for both property as well as health,
00:10:34.460 and in your will, making it very clear that this is my spouse,
00:10:37.850 this is the person I love, and this is why I am leaving them this money.
00:10:40.929 Heather, what have you seen in terms of-- he says
00:10:42.970 they get challenged more often than not.
00:10:44.360 But what are the key things to remember that are important,
00:10:45.860 just to build on what he said?
00:10:46.860 Well, I think the key things are, if you have intentions,
00:10:49.240 you need to take the necessary steps to formalize them from a will perspective,
00:10:54.970 from a power of attorney perspective.
00:10:57.130 Make decisions on who you want making decisions on your behalf in the event
00:11:01.750 you're not capable of doing so, and who you want to receive your estate and your assets
00:11:08.380 at the time of your death, including pensions.
00:11:10.874 I was going to ask on pensions-- sorry to interrupt.
00:11:13.040 But privacy, again, I am curious, how much of this-- if you name someone as a beneficiary,
00:11:19.400 is that private?
00:11:22.000 For example, I can provide personal experience.
00:11:25.691 I work for an organization.
00:11:26.815 I work for TD.
00:11:28.110 And I have approximately 40 people on my team.
00:11:31.140 I am not privy to any of their personal benefit information.
00:11:35.940 And nor should I be.
00:11:38.490 But if I go back to naming beneficiary for your pension,
00:11:42.860 if you choose not to name a beneficiary for your pension
00:11:47.040 and you live in a common law relationship, you
00:11:50.890 could be missing out on the opportunity for them
00:11:53.310 to then continue to receive spousal benefits at the time of your death.
00:11:57.470 I think there's something important to jump in there on too.
00:12:00.130 And I say this sort of tongue in cheek.
00:12:01.800 But after you die, you may not care so much.
00:12:04.800 And you might actually be more concerned while you're
00:12:07.540 alive of making sure you look after your loved one and your partner.
00:12:11.400 And of course, when a will is read in public after,
00:12:14.870 or if it does get challenged by somebody else in your family,
00:12:17.970 those things happen in open court, or those things do happen with an open will.
00:12:22.730 And it can become public after the fact.
00:12:25.510 But it's also one of those things, as a couple,
00:12:28.024 you can help mitigate some of those challenges
00:12:29.940 up front by if you buy a house together or a condo or a car, having it in your names
00:12:34.910 together so that it just passes to that person.
00:12:37.850 It's what's called joint tenancy.
00:12:39.660 And making sure the bank accounts and so forth like that
00:12:42.622 have both your names on them.
00:12:43.830 Going back to that issue of same-sex couples wanting to keep money separate,
00:12:47.330 there are positives and negatives to that.
00:12:49.080 But having it together allows it just to transfer to the person
00:12:51.710 without necessarily going through the estate and not having to pay tax.
00:12:54.620 Right, which is important.
00:12:55.703 Now, what about keeping it up to date?
00:12:57.500 That's my elegant way of trying to say, what if one relationship ends,
00:13:01.609 another one starts, and things don't get updated?
00:13:03.650 Absolutely, we talked about insurance earlier.
00:13:06.070 And so when it comes to selecting beneficiaries
00:13:09.290 for your registered plans, your pensions, or insurance,
00:13:13.960 ensuring that if your life changes and you have named a beneficiary that you
00:13:18.230 may no longer want to receive those assets upon your death,
00:13:22.330 you absolutely need to update them to reflect your intentions.
00:13:26.170 And on the will side of things, it's a thing called a codicil.
00:13:29.370 And basically, if you need to take somebody off your will
00:13:32.980 and put somebody else in, or just take somebody out altogether,
00:13:36.620 it's a very simple process.
00:13:37.770 You contact your lawyer.
00:13:38.770 And it can be done pretty quickly.
00:13:41.460 I think this one's going to be simpler, health benefits.
00:13:43.860 Is there a difference between same-sex couples and a hetero couple in the health
00:13:46.670 benefit side?
00:13:48.159 No, I think it's a matter of naming your partner.
00:13:50.470 Just being clear.
00:13:50.830 That's it.
00:13:51.210 I love simple answers.
00:13:52.210 OK, next one, retirement homes.
00:13:54.810 This has been in the media quite a bit.
00:13:57.370 And so you've been living your life and suddenly,
00:14:02.660 let's say that you're going into retirement by yourself.
00:14:06.280 What are the issues?
00:14:07.550 What happens?
00:14:08.680 What have you been hearing?
00:14:10.400 Right now, as the Baby Boom generation goes through its aging process,
00:14:15.270 et cetera-- and that generation has become, if you will,
00:14:19.370 more accepting to same-sex relationships.
00:14:23.180 There are places that would be predominantly straight that would welcome gay couples.
00:14:27.230 However, we all know that there are some generational issues where
00:14:30.040 that remains a struggle.
00:14:31.700 Going forward, there are business entrepreneurs out there
00:14:34.500 who are prepared to open up gay and lesbian retirement homes.
00:14:38.210 We were discussing on the break.
00:14:39.620 Spell out the problem though.
00:14:40.930 What's the problem?
00:14:41.721 Well, I think as we progress through life, any time we
00:14:45.290 go from one school to another or one career to another,
00:14:49.220 we have to come out all over again.
00:14:50.970 And moving from individual home to a retirement home
00:14:56.090 and surrounded by people that you don't know, now, all of a sudden,
00:14:58.910 you have to come out all over again to the individuals that work there, the individuals
00:15:02.720 that you're living with.
00:15:04.480 And regardless of the age that you come out or come out all over again,
00:15:08.870 there's always trepidation and uncertainty with that
00:15:12.017 in terms of how people are going to respond.
00:15:13.850 I think, to a certain extent too, this goes back
00:15:15.849 to the concerns that were originally raised when same-sex marriage
00:15:18.740 and so forth was going to be legalized.
00:15:20.867 The sky was going to fall.
00:15:21.950 The sun wasn't going to rise.
00:15:23.220 And things have not happened that way.
00:15:27.510 People begin to see that there are loving relationships,
00:15:30.250 that gay and lesbian couples can have children and raise them well and raise them
00:15:34.240 nicely as young, polite kids.
00:15:36.290 And I think within a generation, this won't even be a matter of discussion.
00:15:39.611 But there's a bit of a transition time, I think.
00:15:41.610 We're still there.
00:15:42.480 All right.
00:15:42.980 Stay with us.
00:15:44.461 We're going to transition to a break here.
00:15:46.210 But when we come back, we're talking divorce and finding and advisor.
00:15:50.730 Stay with us.
00:15:51.516 More Money Talk right after this.
00:16:02.570 Most people, when choosing a financial advisor,
00:16:05.320 look for someone who is really competent, who they can trust,
00:16:08.100 and they're comfortable with.
00:16:09.390 This is no different for the LGBT community.
00:16:12.410 Of course, some people would prefer to work with an LGBT advisor.
00:16:17.200 However, for the vast majority, this is a non-issue.
00:16:24.430 Well, that was Al Ramsay.
00:16:26.010 He works at TD with a group of people working with LGBT community.
00:16:29.850 And the topic, of course, was finding an advisor that understands you.
00:16:33.780 So I'm back with Jeffrey Kroeker and of course, Heather Richardson.
00:16:37.710 And let's tackle that one.
00:16:39.970 How important is it, if you are in the LGBT community, to find a lesbian or gay advisor
00:16:45.990 to understand your needs?
00:16:48.680 Well, Kim, I think the most important thing is to find someone that you like,
00:16:53.320 that you trust, and that's going to take the time to get to know you,
00:16:56.340 to put together a plan to help you achieve what you want.
00:16:59.970 And for some individuals, it might be important
00:17:03.030 that the advisor that they work with is from the LGBT community.
00:17:07.260 But it's not a necessity.
00:17:09.310 Most importantly, it's finding somebody who's going
00:17:11.490 to take the time to get to know you and understand your unique needs, whatever
00:17:15.450 they may be.
00:17:16.859 Agree or disagree?
00:17:17.930 I agree.
00:17:19.220 I would add to that the one thing that I look for is I
00:17:21.940 look for organizations, whether they be financial planning organizations or law
00:17:26.210 firms, that support causes that are near and dear to my heart,
00:17:30.180 and ensuring that those folks, that they're maybe allies or GLBT advisors in there that
00:17:35.810 also support those causes are critical for me to make that decision
00:17:38.720 to give them my business.
00:17:40.490 I always thought, too, one of the more important things I've heard from people
00:17:43.740 too is that when you work with-- it doesn't matter, lawyer, accountant, advisor,
00:17:47.710 that you need to disclose what's actually going on with you.
00:17:50.600 Because if you don't, it's bad information in, bad advice coming out.
00:17:54.722 I mean, you need to tell people what's going on with your life
00:17:57.305 and what's important to you so then they can help you get what you want.
00:18:01.170 I would agree with that wholeheartedly.
00:18:03.590 I'm right about one thing.
00:18:06.080 In order to receive the best advice possible for your own personal situation
00:18:10.770 and unique needs, the individual qualified to provide that advice needs to know as much
00:18:16.850 about you as possible.
00:18:17.970 So you've got to tell.
00:18:19.160 You want fearless advice and loyal implementation of your wishes.
00:18:22.220 And with that comes a relationship that you have to have with your financial planner
00:18:26.480 or with your lawyer that is very clear on that.
00:18:28.970 With lawyers in particular, it's sacrosanct.
00:18:31.510 The solicitor-client privilege that goes on with that is sacrosanct.
00:18:36.239 It's very well protected.
00:18:37.280 And your lawyers, whether you know them as a personal friend, et cetera,
00:18:40.480 they are trained diligently to keep that wall between that friendship that may exist,
00:18:46.910 how they know you, and their legal work for you.
00:18:49.910 And it is very well-protected.
00:18:52.150 OK, I don't want to end on a bad core issue.
00:18:55.050 But I guess the word "end" goes with divorce.
00:18:57.520 So let's talk a bit about divorce.
00:18:59.860 Of course, we spent a long time, of course, the LGBT community, fighting for the right
00:19:03.990 to marry.
00:19:04.820 It has happened in Canada.
00:19:06.050 It's happening around the world.
00:19:08.800 When those marriages don't go the way they plan, as they do in every other situation,
00:19:12.900 you get a divorce.
00:19:13.700 Are there specific issues to a same-sex divorce that
00:19:18.200 are unique that you need to watch out for?
00:19:20.400 This was an area of law that has just evolved to the point of being equal
00:19:24.950 now on the issue of divorce.
00:19:26.180 But this could be different a week from now?
00:19:27.670 It's still evolving?
00:19:28.360 No, no, no.
00:19:28.935 In fact, now, I would say it's equal within the context of Canada.
00:19:32.930 But those who are Americans that came up here, for instance,
00:19:35.950 when it was legalized here to get married here
00:19:38.550 couldn't get divorced here because they didn't have the residency requirements.
00:19:42.400 It's a great way to encourage immigration policy--
00:19:47.180 Those things have been dealt with now.
00:19:49.070 I think the big issue now, as more and more same sex
00:19:51.800 couples begin the process of adopting and growing their relationships,
00:19:58.410 they have to recognize that there are three times when folks get really nasty.
00:20:02.730 One is in death, in fighting a will.
00:20:05.760 One is in child custody.
00:20:07.050 And the other is in divorce.
00:20:08.860 And when you're separating a couple and you're breaking down a relationship,
00:20:13.530 it goes back to making sure that you find trusted counsel, both financial advice,
00:20:17.940 but also your legal advice.
00:20:20.190 There are tax implications.
00:20:21.670 And there are huge equalization issues, like around paying spousal support.
00:20:25.910 And part of the victory for the gay and lesbian community of getting marriage
00:20:30.650 comes with it is also the other side of it, which
00:20:33.840 is the costs that come with a relationship breaking down.
00:20:37.150 Let me ask you, from a financial perspective--
00:20:39.240 and again, a marriage is a marriage.
00:20:40.790 A divorce is a divorce.
00:20:41.940 What are the kinds of things people need to keep in mind, then, on the divorce
00:20:45.590 side of things from a financial perspective?
00:20:47.660 Well, from a financial perspective-- and Jeffrey touched on this
00:20:50.710 a little bit-- equalization of marital assets,
00:20:54.730 and that extends beyond their investment account and goes as far as the marital home
00:21:00.100 or any other assets that were acquired during the time
00:21:03.870 that they were married or living together in a common law relationship.
00:21:08.310 So it all still applies, regardless of gay or heterosexual.
00:21:17.190 What about adoption?
00:21:18.260 That's another area that we should touch on quickly, too.
00:21:22.170 I'm not sure from a financial standpoint.
00:21:24.500 Or you're not OK.
00:21:25.560 Jump in here.
00:21:26.200 Yeah, no, my partner and I are actually in the process of trying to adopt.
00:21:30.580 And I would give kudos to our system that we're treated equally within Canada.
00:21:41.130 However, our options from an international perspective are very, very limited.
00:21:45.990 Are there financial implications of that?
00:21:48.150 Because, again, if you don't have as large a pool to choose from,
00:21:50.974 for the reason you're just saying, are there financial implications to that?
00:21:54.140 Is it more costly, do you think, for same-sex couples to adopt than it would be?
00:21:57.570 With the limitations on international adoption,
00:22:01.090 then looking at private adoption within North America,
00:22:05.500 that could potentially raise the costs of adoption.
00:22:09.920 Or we still have the same ability to go through the public sector
00:22:14.720 adoption in the same way as a heterosexual couple could.
00:22:20.000 It goes back to the issue of travel too because there
00:22:22.790 is a clear distinction between domestic adoption issues and international adoption
00:22:27.680 And if you're going abroad to a nation where homosexuality is illegal,
00:22:32.100 and you're going there as a married couple to adopt, be forewarned, caveat emptor,
00:22:36.280 that you may come up on some walls very quickly.
00:22:40.000 And you need to do your due diligence and research.
00:22:42.320 And be very cautious of some of these agencies that
00:22:45.280 are operating international adoption services because they may not factor that in.
00:22:50.147 Or they may tell you, yeah, yeah, it's fine.
00:22:51.980 And then you get there and then recognize that you've got some uniformed people
00:22:55.920 walking you to a prison.
00:22:58.340 Here in Canada, the other big thing, I guess I would say on it,
00:23:01.226 and it goes back to the issue of wills.
00:23:02.850 Because we are so open now and able to adopt children,
00:23:07.150 the critical issue would be making sure that you plan financially
00:23:10.300 as well as legally to provide for your child.
00:23:12.850 God forbid if you die as a young parent, whether you're gay or straight
00:23:16.670 is irrelevant.
00:23:17.350 You want to make sure that your child is looked after.
00:23:18.820 Your beneficiary.
00:23:20.210 And making sure that your children are looked after and that you, with your partner,
00:23:24.140 have come together with a sound, sage financial plan
00:23:27.260 to ensure that child's success.
00:23:29.090 I have to thank both of you for a great conversation.
00:23:32.450 I have learned a lot, been corrected on a lot.
00:23:34.600 But I do hope that you both come back.
00:23:36.380 Jeffrey Kroeker, lawyer with Civis Law, joining me here in studio,
00:23:39.130 and Heather Richardson, Vice President at TD Wealth.
00:23:41.620 And thank you to all the studio audience.
00:23:44.530 Thank you so much for coming in.
00:23:48.590 And thank you for joining us tonight.