How to master the art of financial planning

For lawyers who practise in the world of tax and estate law, this book is a powerful tool
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At 3,000 pages in length, Canada’s Income Tax Act is a monster. Not even the most experienced lawyers are able to memorize its minutiae and grasp its far-reaching implications. Thankfully, there’s an accessible, easy-to-navigate book that can help any lawyer overcome this hurdle.

That book is Wealth Planning Strategies for Canadians, and it’s the definitive guide on how lawyers can help their clients manage money. A broad range of practice areas are covered, including tax, estate, insurance and family law. Now in its 15th edition, the book turns the complex into the straightforward.

The author of the book is Christine Van Cauwenberghe, a vice-president of tax and estate planning at IG Wealth Management. Her grasp of the material is ironclad. Throughout her career, she has worked as a certified financial planner, a trust and estate practitioner and a lawyer, which helps her to see the subject from all sides.

The original story of the book dates back two decades ago, when Van Cauwenberghe first joined IG Wealth Management. The company expected the people in her department to have a certified financial planner designation, so she entered the training program. Quickly, though, she spotted a gap in the curriculum: it didn’t properly address differences between jurisdictions. Consider the legal implications of dying without a will. In some provinces, a common-law partner could inherit most or all of the estate; in others, they might receive nothing at all. “I looked for books on the topic that I could recommend to my colleagues,” she says, “but I couldn’t find any.”

So she decided to write one. In 2006, she published the first edition of the book and, since then, she has updated the text each year. “It’s for those people who need a bit more than the basics, but don’t want to pull out the 3,000-page Income Tax Act,” she says. “And who can blame them? I don’t want to do that either.” Her book is organized into concise sections that help readers find the specific regulations and case studies relevant to their practice.

According to Van Cauwenberghe, the book has become particularly popular among both financial planners and lawyers. “For many lawyers, their practice is no longer siloed in the legal world, and they need to understand the tax and insurance aspects to give advice,” she says. “If you don’t keep hammering away at it, there are monumental consequences.”

Christine Van Cauwenberghe’s Wealth Planning Strategies for Canadians is the definitive guide on how lawyers can help their clients manage money. Order the book from Thomson Reuters today.