estate planning

What not to put in your safety deposit box

Posted by on May 3, 2011 in estate planning

I heard a story recently where the only copy of a will was placed in a safety deposit box. The renter of the safety deposit box died and the key could not be found. Since the only original of the will was in the safety deposit box, no one could definitively prove they were the [...]

What happens if your RRSP/insurance beneficiaries are minors?

Posted by on April 26, 2011 in estate planning

In February, I commented that the proceeds of registered retirement savings plans (RRSP) and insurance take outside of the estate. In plain English, the beneficiaries of such plans and/or policies are entitled to payout regardless of whether they are named as beneficiaries in the will (exemptions being the beneficiaries are named due to  fraud, undue [...]

Updating wills and beneficiary designations

Posted by on February 15, 2011 in estate planning

Do wills need to be updated? What is the interaction between the beneficiaries of a will and the beneficiaries of a life insurance, RRSP and/or TFSA? The answers to the questions tend to be “yes” and “it is not as simple as you think.” A will is essentially the wishes of the will-maker (known as [...]

The problem with being an executor

Posted by on November 10, 2010 in estate planning

An executor of a will is not an easy job. As someone who has to carry out the wishes of the deceased, the executor has a duty to distribute the most possible to the beneficiaries. Sometimes, the beneficiaries are not so grateful to the executor, perhaps angry they weren’t chosen or perhaps believing the executor [...]

Avoiding will planning mistakes

Posted by on October 7, 2010 in estate planning

Once upon a time, buying a wills kit from a retailer may have been a good choice. Everything goes to the spouse. If spouse predeceases you, everything goes to the surviving children. Uncle Jack and Aunt Helen are the guardians of the kids. Simple right? However, a will kit presumes the will-maker has a “traditional” [...]

How much should a lawyer cost you?

Posted by on July 20, 2010 in estate planning, Real Estate

Every year, Canadian Lawyer Magazine releases its legal fee survey. The survey’s accuracy is subject to some question since it depends on the voluntary participation of lawyers cross country. With a relatively small sample size of almost 600, a regional concentration or a cluster of results in the low or high end of the fee [...]

Lost your will?

Posted by on June 24, 2010 in estate planning

How many original copies of your will should you sign? Ask 10 lawyers  the same question and you’ll probably hear  11 different answers (the 11th answer being “what do you think the answer is?”). However, on the question of how many wills to sign, many wills and estates practitioners tend to think the answer should [...]

Your heirs can’t control their spending?

Posted by on June 16, 2010 in estate planning

As generations that either grew up in an  era of austerity  or spent the bulk of the income producing years during economically good times, it must be worrying to some that their heirs are not fiscally prudent and will either spend the money carefully saved or earned through hard work. With literally billions being transferred [...]

Tips on organizing your estate

Posted by on November 30, 2009 in estate planning

Canadian Capitalist recently wrote about the issues of settling an estate where the details of the deceased was not easily findable.  This post expands on the topic by addressing how you should physically organize your affairs so that your family and/or executor can settle or administer your estate easily.  The same tips are equally applicable [...]

Is my hand-drafted will valid?

Posted by on November 12, 2009 in estate planning

In 1948, Cecil Harris, a farmer, found himself trapped under his own tractor. Knowing that the end was near, he carved onto the fender of his tractor: “In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife. Cecil Geo. Harris.” Mr. Harris later succumb to his injuries. The will was duly accepted [...]