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Category Archives: Wills

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Should you discuss the contents of your Will?

Posted in Estate Planning, Wills
A study published by Fidelity Investments, Fidelity’s Intra-Family Generational Finance Study, reveals that many adult children and their parents avoid having family discussions about estate planning. The study surveyed parents who were 55 years or older, with an adult child of 30 years or older. Parents had to have a minimum of $100,000 in investable … Continue Reading

What Happens If The Assets Are Not Enough?

Posted in Estate Planning, Executors and Trustees, Wills
When there is a shortfall between what payments an estate is required to pay and the value of the estate, some problems can arise. Two such situations include: (i) when the estate assets are insufficient to satisfy the debts and (ii) when the estate assets are insufficient to distribute specific bequests. Firstly, sometimes a deceased’s … Continue Reading

Where There is a Will There is a Way

Posted in Estate & Trust, Wills
We have all heard the story of the shoemaker’s children, where the shoemaker, so preoccupied with making shoes for the town’s feet, forgets to address his own family’s needs. The shoemaker keeps putting ‘make my family shoes’ at the end of his to-do list and never seems to quite reach the end of his list. … Continue Reading

Wills of Famous Historical Britons available Online

Posted in Uncategorized, Wills
The National Archives of the United Kingdom has an online searchable catalogue of historical wills and probate filed at the Prerogative Court of Canterbury between 1384 and 1858.  Until 1858, authority for probate rested with the Church of England ecclesiastical courts. The Prerogative Court of Canterbury had jurisdiction over the Estates of wealthy individuals. A … Continue Reading

Testamentary Hate Speech?: McCorkill v. Streed, Executor of the Estate of Harry Robert McCorkill (aka McCorkell), Deceased

Posted in Litigation, Trustees, Uncategorized, Wills
In a recent decision handed down from the New Brunswick Queen’s Bench, Justice William T. Grant issued a rare judgment declaring a bequest contrary to public policy and/or illegal and therefore void. Harry Robert McCorkill died on February 20, 2004.  His Last Will and Testament appointed a member of the National Alliance, a White Supremacist … Continue Reading

A Quick-Reference Guide to Will Challenges

Posted in Wills
A will can be challenged on a number of grounds, including a lack of testamentary capacity, undue influence, lack of knowledge and approval of the contents, or problems with due execution.  Often, the challenger will assert that the will was made under “suspicious circumstances”. It can be quite confusing determining who needs to prove what … Continue Reading

The “One-House” Estate Will Challenge Conundrum

Posted in Litigation, Wills
In the emotionally driven world of estate litigation, the size of the dispute isn’t always proportionate with the size of the estate.  Sometimes there is more conflict than what “one-house” can support with regard to the costs of litigation.  Will Challenges in modest estates are becoming increasingly common as seniors are the fastest-growing age group … Continue Reading

Q. When Can A Letter Be A Will?

Posted in Wills
A.         When it contains “a deliberate or fixed and final expression of intention as to the disposal of property upon death”. This question, its answer, and the application of the answer to particular facts was considered in Casavechia Estate (Re), 2014 NSSC 73 (CanLII). There, the deceased died on September 1, 2012. He died … Continue Reading

Will Kit Subject of Estate Litigation

Posted in Estate Planning, Wills
A recent decision of the Florida Supreme Court is suggested to be a “cautionary tale” with respect to do-it-yourself will kits.  The will kit that the testatrix used to create her will did not include a residuary clause and the testatrix neglected to name a residuary beneficiary. The will being considered was prepared by the … Continue Reading


Posted in In the News, Wills
Wal-Mart has enhanced its status as a destination for one-stop shopping with the recent addition of personalized wills, available at a cost of $99.  Three Wal-Mart locations in the Greater Toronto Area now offer estate planning services through the law firm of Axess Law. Wal-Mart and other retailers had previously sold will-drafting kits, which allow … Continue Reading

When does a separation agreement release an entitlement under a will?

Posted in Support After Death, Wills
In general, spouses that have entered into a separation agreement do not typically intend their spouse to thereafter benefit from their estate.  However, unless a separation agreement is very carefully worded, the wills made by the parties to a separation agreement, even if those wills predate the separation agreement and appear on their face to … Continue Reading

Extreme Burials

Posted in Executors and Trustees, Funerals, Wills
The Last Will of Napoleon Bonaparte states, “…It is my wish that my ashes may repose on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of the French people, whom I have loved so well”.  It is interesting to note that Napoleon wishes, and not instructs, this type of burial.  In Ontario, there is no … Continue Reading

Law Society of England and Wales Accepts Sharia-Compliant Wills

Posted in Estate Planning, In the News, Wills
The Law Society of England and Wales recently published a practice direction with respect to the drafting of Sharia-compliant wills.  There are 2.7 million Muslims living in the United Kingdom, many who wish to obtain a Sharia-compliant will for religious purposes. If an individual living in England chooses to distribute his or her assets according … Continue Reading

The Physical Inability to Sign a Will

Posted in Wills
A remedy may exist where an individual has left a document expressing testamentary wishes that does not comply with the formalities imposed by the Succession Law Reform Act, if it appears that the testator was  physically incapable of executing a will before death. In Godman v. Godman, [1920] P. 261 at 281 and other English … Continue Reading


Posted in Wills
People are spending much of their time living life through the screens of their smartphones.  We talk to friends, write to our families, take photos and share them, manage our investments, read books, watch movies, shop, do research, and listen to music through these small but astonishing devices.  The seemingly endless list of uses for … Continue Reading

Animus Testandi: a “Gray” Area

Posted in Wills
My previous blog post dealt with the subject of substantial compliance provisions in effect in the legislation of a number of provinces, and soon to be introduced into British Columbia.  In determining whether a document that does not meet the formal requirements of a Will can be admitted to probate, the key question is whether … Continue Reading