When appointing an attorney for property or personal care, it may be wise to request that they obtain legal advice with respect to its use to the grantor's benefit, when effective. Legal advice may come at a cost, but that expense is miniscule in comparison to litigation that may be caused by the misuse or abuse of a power of attorney, including a contested application to pass accounts.
One major difficulty in establishing the validity or invalidity of a will is that it is impossible to consult the testator to verify what his or her intentions were at the time that a will was executed. This often means that evidence such as solicitor's records or medical documentation must instead be relied upon to determine the issues of testamentary capacity and undue influence.
Disinheritance is a profound element of an estate plan. It can be triggered by a single, specific event, or result from the lifelong flaws of a relationship. For example, a parent may decide to remove one child as a residuary beneficiary under his or her will because of a heated dispute and subsequent estrangement.
In our most recent blog entry, we discussed the issue of second (or later) marriages from the perspective of clients who are seeking assistance in formulating an estate plan. We now move on to consider this issue from the perspective of lawyers who may be called upon by such individuals to draft wills and provide advice with respect to other aspects of estate planning.
In the past three decades, the proportion of divorced Canadian adults has more than doubled. One consequence of the increasing divorce rate is that more individuals are entering into a subsequent marriage, after beginning a family with a previous spouse. For estate planning, second marriages represent a challenge.
When setting up an estate plan, it is essential that a drafting solicitor takes the time to work through family dynamics and related challenges to prepare a comprehensive and sound estate plan for the family. The next step of executing the will leads to the question of what should then be done with the original signed document.
After the death of a family member, it becomes much more difficult to manage relationships, especially when it is the family matriarch or patriarch, the "glue" that has held the family together, who passes away. Sometimes an individual will plan on creating an estate plan "someday." Neglecting the need for an estate plan can result in unmanaged family dysfunction, which is likely to lead to disputes that end up in court.
Family dysfunction is a universal phenomenon. Estate litigation is unlike other civil lawsuits in that there is much more than money at stake. Family relationships can deteriorate to the point where the recovery of the family unit is no longer an option. Estate planning can go a long way to help manage family relationships.
This New Year as you make your resolutions, commit to making one that will get you healthy and fit -- financially. While setting personal resolutions have become second nature, the New Year should also be the time each of us sits down with family. Talk about what your financial goals are in 2014 and what you need to have in place to ensure that your family is protected and aware.
After an estate trustee has had an opportunity to locate the testator's final will, he or she must locate all heirs of the deceased. An estate trustee has a duty to locate the beneficiaries of an estate and to inform them of their entitlement pursuant to the deceased's will or intestacy. Often, this is a simple task. Often it is not.
There are two types of Powers of Attorney -- a Power of Attorney for Property, which is a document that gives another person the right to manage your affairs, and a Power of Attorney for Personal Care, which is a document that gives another person the right to make health care and other personal care decisions when you are incapable.
As a lawyer who practises primarily in estate planning and administration, I get to know all kinds of people. I learn about their families, their priorities, their jobs, and their lives. Most of these conversations start with clients telling me that their situation is simple, though they all reveal that our lives are anything but. Creating a legal document that respects these complexities is no easy task, but here are some tips to help you plan ahead.
Increasingly, Canadians are finding happiness later in life with second spouses and second families. In these situations, professional advice may be desirable to balance the competing demands of providing for the first and second families in an estate plan. This has resulted in a host of creative solutions.
From my daughter: "I spent the first 12 ½ years of my life with a dad that made me the woman I am today. Even though he's gone and I miss him every day, I know he's with me because I wouldn't be me without him. I have now spent the last 11 years (and counting) with my step-dad and I couldn't have asked for anyone better."