Estate Planning

What Happens When You Disinherit Someone From Your Will

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 04.09.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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.

Estate Planning: Advice for Those in Second Marriages

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 03.04.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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.

Estate Planning After Your Second Marriage

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 02.20.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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.

Estate Planning: Hold on to the Original Will

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 04.06.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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.

"Someday" Isn't Soon Enough When It Comes to Estate Planning

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 03.26.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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.

How Making a Will Can Save Your Family From Fighting

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 03.10.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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.

Make 2014 the Year You Commit to Getting Financially Fit and Healthy

Jane Blaufus | Posted 02.28.2014 | Canada Living
Jane Blaufus

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.

Estate Planning: Finding Heirs of the Deceased

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 02.03.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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.

The Tax Burden of Estate Planning

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 01.23.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

In our most recent blog entry, we discussed the role of an estate trustee in determining the assets and liabilities of the estate. An important next step in the administration is to satisfy the tax burden of the estate, while ensuring compliance with the ongoing duty to account.

If You're Going to Hide Your Assets, Leave a Map

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 11.06.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

If an estate trustee is able to discover where the deceased stored important records, this is a great start to information-gathering. Difficulties can arise where the deceased has hidden assets away for safekeeping and failed to make these assets more accessible prior to death.

Your Estate Planning Should Include Pets

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 11.17.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

It is particularly important to give consideration to your living assets -- your pets. If these faithful companions survive their owners, their future care will be dependent upon the last expressed wishes of their masters.

September: Life Insurance Awareness Month

Jane Blaufus | Posted 11.04.2013 | Canada Living
Jane Blaufus

This weekend a piece of Ontario history burned to the ground with the overnight loss of the St. Jacob's farmer's market. Ironically, my husband and I ...

Make a Plan for Your Digital Estate, Too

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 10.27.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Individuals are now leaving behind a multitude of digital content when they die, including information stored within social media profiles, emails, blogs, and media files, that can be passed on through a digital estate plan. Digital estate planning is becoming both more relevant and accessible.

The Three Documents Everyone Needs: Part II -- Powers of Attorney

Paul Taylor | Posted 10.26.2013 | Canada Business
Paul Taylor

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.

The Three Documents Everyone Needs, Part I: Wills

Paul Taylor | Posted 08.20.2013 | Canada
Paul Taylor

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.

Financial Abuse of Seniors Is on the Rise in Canada

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 10.13.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

One clear result of the trend towards an aging population is the increasing incidence of certain types of claims regarding elder abuse. An especially worrying trend is the increasing prevalence of the financial abuse of seniors, a specific subset and the most common form of elder abuse in Canada.

Avoiding Conflict Over a Family Will

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 09.29.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Since leaving estate affairs out of order is the most frequently cited spark igniting family conflict over a will's validity, it is of paramount importance for practitioners to advise clients to consider a family conference in order to facilitate proper communication between beneficiaries.

Estate Planning for the Non-Traditional Family

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 09.18.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

As non-traditional families become more commonplace, practitioners to be aware of the myriad special circumstances which exist in contemporary family settings during estate planning and advise their clients after reflecting upon both current and prospective issues respecting the family in question.

Estate Planning for Diverse Family Types

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 08.14.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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.

Celebrating Two Dads on Father's Day

Jane Blaufus | Posted 04.08.2014 | Canada Living
Jane Blaufus

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."

Using Technology to Plan Your Estate

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 08.03.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

With social media, electronic banking and online investing, our lives are becoming increasingly digital. Important documents containing crucial information, such as financial statements and tax receipts, are being stored in on-line databases, creating elements of a virtual estate. With this in mind, technology is playing a bigger and bigger role in estate planning.

Find Your Passion, Realize Your Purpose

Jane Blaufus | Posted 08.01.2013 | Canada Living
Jane Blaufus

I asked myself if I believed that suddenly becoming a widow with a twelve-and-a-half year old daughter, going through hell, coming out the other side of it upright, and subsequently remarrying was a story in itself. It was. Then I had to ask myself the really tough questions.

What Will Your Legacy Be?

Jane Blaufus | Posted 07.20.2013 | Canada Living
Jane Blaufus

Recently a 97-year-old New York man left his $40 million fortune to....no one. People need to encourage their friends and family to start sharing their wishes and their wants...to make it an acceptable discussion topic.

Fair vs. Equal: How do Families Decide Who Gets What?

Kathy Reich | Posted 05.25.2013 | Canada Alberta
Kathy Reich

Growing up I remember my mother carefully cutting the pie we were about to enjoy for dessert in precisely equal portions served on plates exactly the same size for all. Even upon the setting of the dessert in front of each of us kids, there was always the fleeting scan of each set of eyes around the table to make sure that no one was getting an "unfairly" larger portion.

The Importance of Leaving a Will

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 05.05.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Even carefully drawn wills can become the subject of disputes and litigation. Having a poorly drafted will, or no will at all, increases those odds exponentially. Despite this, over 50 per cent of Canadians do not have their testamentary wishes written down in the form of a will.