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Does Your Estate Have Moral Obligations?

One of the many benefits of preparing a will or estate plan is the opportunity to direct how your assets should be distributed on your death.  However, as each individual’s circumstances are different, your freedom to have your instructions followed may be affected by obligations your estate will eventually owe to others. Provincial legislation enables […]

Will Kits: Cookie Cutter Disasters

Having a will is undoubtedly an essential part of proper estate planning, yet many individuals do not make this a priority.  With so many on-line gimmicks proposing quick and easy do-it-yourself will kits, it is not surprising the vast majority of people who use them do not realize the difficulties their loved ones will face […]

It Pays to Keep Your Will Updated

Karen Christiansen (“Karen”) found out the hard way why it’s important to keep one’s will updated, especially when important life events occur. In MacLean Estate, 2009 BCSC 1159 (CanLII), the Supreme Court of British Columbia ruled that a will executed by Gordon McLean (“Gordon”) at the time he was cohabiting with and engaged to Karen […]

Jointly Held Assets: Avoiding Some of the Pitfalls

Two or more people may own assets jointly. This most often means that on the death of one of the joint owners, full title to the asset(s) will immediately transfer to the surviving joint owner(s), known as a right of survivorship. The result is that probate fees, some solicitors’ fees, some creditors, and publicity are […]

RRSP Designations Within An Estate Plan

There are two common ways to designate a beneficiary of your registered plan: On the application form for the plan. This method allows for quick transfer of the plan benefits to the beneficiary upon your death. It also means that your estate will not have to pay probate fees on the value of the RRSP. […]

Personal Effects: Have You Considered Their Effect?

The division and disposition of a deceased person’s personal goods and household effects is often a contentious issue, particularly amongst family members. The conflict is most often caused by sentimental and emotional values friends and family members place on the items rather than their intrinsic values. Unfortunately, most people spend relatively little time considering how […]

Estate Contracts: A Look at Mutual Wills

Mutual wills are two wills, one executed by each of two individuals who have agreed to a specific estate plan. Most often each party leaves their estate (or a life interest in their estate) to the other party and their instructions are identical or very similar as to how their respective estates are to be […]