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Category Archives: Wills

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Intolerance for Intolerance

Posted in In the News, Wills
A recent decision of the Superior Court of Justice has made been making headlines.  In Spence v. BMO Trust Company, the Court was faced with the challenging question of whether or not to set aside a will based on a finding that the deceased had disinherited his daughter for racist reasons. In the Spence case, [&hellip… Continue Reading

An Estate Going to the Dogs

Posted in Charities, Pets, Wills
Two charities are proceeding to an Irish High Court for the adjudication of a dispute over the charitable bequest made pursuant to a Last Will and Testament. The Will in question, executed by Elizabeth Burke of Limerick, Ireland, provided that five hundred thousand of an Estate valued in excess of twelve million euros would be [&hellip… Continue Reading

Choosing Your Beneficiaries

Posted in Estate Planning, Litigation, Wills
Choosing one’s heirs (beneficiaries) is a challenging aspect of the overall estate planning process. For many, making decisions about the disposition of personal assets can be the most difficult, emotional and time-consuming. Some issues for consideration when choosing one’s heirs include: Precisely who to include as your heirs? (i.e. spouse, children, dependants, charities) Whether assets [&hellip… Continue Reading

The Legacy of Alfred Nobel

Posted in General Interest, Wills
This week, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to its youngest ever recipient, seventeen-year-old Malala Yousafzai.  Many people know that the Nobel Prizes are named after their founder, Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896.  Fewer are familiar with the story behind the creation of the prestigious awards that almost never came into existence. Earlier this [&hellip… Continue Reading

Mirror v. Mutual Wills

Posted in Estate Planning, Wills
Mirror wills are made by two people to benefit one another. If one should predecease, an alternate beneficiary, agreed upon by both testators is to benefit. Mirror wills are often made by spouses and designate their children as the alternate beneficiaries. Mutual wills are a similar, yet clearly distinguishable, estate planning vehicle. The doctrine, described [&hellip… Continue Reading

Are Two Wills Better than One?

Posted in Wills
It is said that two heads are better than one, except when those two heads contradict one another, leading to problems.  The same could be said about multiple wills. The use of multiple wills has become a popular technique in Ontario as a means of reducing estate administration taxes which are payable when an estate [&hellip… Continue Reading

Ethical Wills and Estate Planning

Posted in Estate Planning, Wills
When you think about what you want to leave your loved ones, is it always the material assets that first come to mind?  Or, is it your wish to want to pass along life lessons, to the same extent you pass along bank accounts and jewellery? A Last Will and Testament can record dispositive wishes [&hellip… Continue Reading

Facebook and Apple to Pay for Female Employees to Freeze Eggs – Some Estate Planning Considerations

Posted in Estate Planning, Wills
Within the recent past, the success rates and popularity of conceiving a child through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (“ART”) have increased significantly. Technological advances now make it possible for genetic materials to be frozen and preserved for decades, before being thawed for use in the conception of children. Both Apple and Facebook have recently announced that [&hellip… Continue Reading

A Royal Inheritance

Posted in Beneficiary Designations, Estate Planning, In the News, Wills
We all remember when Diana, Princess of Wales died tragically in 1997, leaving the British public devastated, but also leaving estates practitioners perplexed. Diana left a Last Will and Testament in 1993 which was subsequently amended by Codicil in 1996. Diana instructed that her assets be held in trust for Prince William and Prince Harry [&hellip… Continue Reading

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 [&hellip… 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 [&hellip… 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. [&hellip… 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 [&hellip… 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 [&hellip… 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 [&hellip… 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 [&hellip… Continue Reading