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Holograph Horrors

A holograph will is one that is written entirely in the handwriting of the person who is making the will, known as the testator. The testator must sign and date the will but it does not need to be witnessed. A stationer`s form, or will kit, as they are often called, will not be considered […]

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 […]

Choosing the Right Estate Trustee

The Estate Trustee (also known as the executor) is the person appointed in an individual’s will to carry out the instructions in the will. As this role requires much time and effort, the person so appointed should be chosen with great care. The duties of an estate trustee include: arranging for the funeral and burial […]

Effective Succession Planning for Cottages and Investment Properties

Despite the obvious benefits of owning a cottage or investment property, there are numerous issues that can arise when they are transferred. For example: Which children, if any, are interested in future ownership? Which one(s) do you want to transfer it to? What are the tax and probate fee implications to transferring the property now […]

Due Diligence Can Prevent Estate Litigation

Poor choices made by financial planners in connecting their clients to wills and estate lawyers can, and often do, result in lengthy and expensive estate litigation. Solicitor negligence is not something that people like to talk about, but it can be a problem, said Markham-based Andrea Kelly, barrister and solicitor, speaking at the CIFPs’ 9th […]

Conflict Over Laying a Loved One to Rest

From time to time, family relationships are strained, if not destroyed, over how a deceased loved one is to be laid to rest. Where family members cannot come to agreement, the law indicates how this emotionally charged question will be resolved. In Canada, the Estate Trustee (Executor) has the right to possess and dispose of […]

Living Wills: Communicating Your Health Care Wishes

A “living will” is an expression used to describe a document containing a person’s medical care wishes should they become unable to communicate them due to incapacity. A living will clause is often contained in a Power of Attorney for Personal Care (POA PC) as the attorney must have regard to treatment wishes they are […]

No Will?…Then What is Your Spouse Entitled To?

I have recently been concerned by the number of people that assume that their spouse will receive their entire estate should they die without a will (also called dying “intestate”). However, as we will briefly explore here, that will not necessarily be the outcome.

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 […]