I have seen firsthand how important life insurance is when a tragedy of losing one's spouse occurs. Thankfully, in our particular situation, we had conducted our annual review with our life insurance advisor a year before he died, made sure our life insurance coverage was still adequate and updated our wills with our lawyer.
Disinheritance is defined in Black's Law Dictionary as "the act by which the owner of an estate deprives a person of the right to inherit the same, who would otherwise be his heir." As such, it can be extremely unsettling for a child to find out that they have been disinherited from their parent's estate.
Our population is now the oldest it ever has been, with more people currently aged 65 and older than there are children under the age of 15. As with any significant demographic shift, this trend has significant implications for society at large, impacting health care, finance policy, infrastructure, family relationships, and legal issues.
A primary consideration in the estate planning process should be the safe keeping of original planning documents (such as a will or a power of attorney). In Ontario, in order to obtain a grant of probate, the named estate trustee typically needs to provide the court with the original will, pursuant to the Estates Act.
It is not uncommon for people to have more than one spouse or common-law partner in the course of their lives. Dealing with the estate of a spouse or the division of assets after a breakdown of marriage illustrates how building a common life as a married couple creates legal entitlements and obligations.
My first husband passed away suddenly at the age of 39 and in 60 seconds, I became a widow with a 12-and-a-half-year-old daughter. I never intended to remarry but time and divine intervention had other plans for me. I remarried. This brought with it a myriad of important things we needed to discuss and consider.
Occasionally, criminal law and estate law intersect. That intersection was particularly shocking in the high-profile cases of Helmuth Buxbaum and Peter Demeter. Both were convicted of arranging the murder of their wives and both tried to collect on life insurance policies in their respective wife's name.
Online social media, if unaddressed by an estate plan, can be the cause of litigation. A person's social media may include writings, pictures or other mementos. These items may hold sentimental value to that person's family members and friends in a way that may not have been contemplated by the deceased.
It has been said that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail. This statement rings true in the context of estate planning. A disorganized estate plan is ripe for expensive litigation that will deplete the assets of the estate. A Last Will and Testament is usually the cornerstone of an estate plan but can be disputed by disappointed beneficiaries.
Will challenges can involve a great deal of time and expense, many times to the detriment of the estate. There are multiple grounds upon which a will challenge may be based; however, the two most commonly pleaded are lack of testamentary capacity and allegations that the testator was subject to undue influence.
As more Canadians are choosing to spend greater time abroad, it has become increasingly common for estates to include foreign-based assets upon death. From an estate law perspective, foreign-based assets can give rise to estate administration issues that are best addressed as part of an estate plan created in consultation with professional advisors.
In recent years, an aging population and the rise of non-traditional marriages have become issues that are increasingly relevant to estate planning considerations in Canada. As society shifts over time, it is important that estate planning methods and strategies are capable of adaptation to suit changing needs.
When discussing estate planning, we often focus on the more complex details, such as how to reduce tax liability for your estate, or whether to make use of multiple wills. However, before moving on to these more complicated topics, it is vital to start from the beginning and consider the basics as a first step in estate planning.
Due to recent technological advancements, one's digital presence has become an important part of every day life. As a result, it is increasingly important to consider how this may impact traditional estate planning. With increasing frequency, individuals are creating complex lives online, which may include a social media presence, electronic banking, reward point balances, online investments, and many other possibilities.