December 12th, 2013
Household goods can hold tremendous sentimental value as well as monetary value. It is important that they are properly dealt with. I recently met with Charles (not his real name) at my law office in Stittsville near Ottawa. His elderly sister had died while visiting him in Stittsville. Charles knew that she never signed a Will. She was single and never had any children. Charles also had a brother who was estranged from the family and had been for quite some time. There were no other living relatives. Charles’ sister lived alone in a house in the west end of Ottawa.
What can and should I do with my loved one’s household goods?
Charles understood that, if his brother agreed, he could apply to court to be appointed the estate trustee without a Will (executor). Until that happened, Charles had a couple of questions about the contents of his sister’s house:
“Do I need to take inventory of the contents of the home and have these items appraised for the purpose of providing a value for the court application?” Read the rest of this entry »
December 5th, 2013
At my law office in Stittsville (Ottawa), the executors I meet with often have questions about how to deal with advancements or loans given by the deceased during his or her lifetime.
Here is an example:
An executor is preparing to distribute an estate totally $850,000 after debts and liabilities are paid. The deceased, Bernice, had three daughters who, according to Bernice’s Will, are to share the estate equally. However, her Will included a clause confirming that Bernice had advanced $50,000 to one daughter during her lifetime and that this amount was to be deducted from the daughter’s share of Bernice’s estate.
How does the executor calculate what each daughter is to receive? Read the rest of this entry »
November 28th, 2013
Many couples think that owning everything jointly and naming each other as beneficiaries of RRSPs, TFSAs, and life insurance means they don’t need Wills. Unfortunately, that is simply not the case.
If your spouse dies without a Will, you could be faced with some significant challenges. This could be even more challenging if you have children. Read the rest of this entry »
November 21st, 2013
The possible breakdown of a child’s marriage is a concern for many parents when doing their estate planning. I recently met with Ethel (not her real name) in my law office in Stittsville near Ottawa. While discussing her estate planning, Ethel confided that she was concerned her daughter’s marriage might be on rocky ground. In particular, she wondered if her daughter would have to give half of what she receives from Ethel’s estate to her husband in the event their marriage breaks down. Read the rest of this entry »
November 14th, 2013
I recently met with Shawn and Andrea at my law office in Stittsville near Ottawa. They had recently moved some assets around and had changed some beneficiary designations. With two young children, they wanted to make sure that what they had done made sense.
One question that Shawn and Andrea had in particular – and it is one that many parents have – is whether it is O.K. to name a trustee as a beneficiary of life insurance, RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs, to hold the proceeds ‘in trust for’ someone who is under the age of 18? They had been told by their advisor to name a sibling to hold the proceeds in trust for their children. Read the rest of this entry »
November 7th, 2013
Phil and Judy (not their real names) recently come to our law office in Stittsville (Ottawa) to discuss their estate planning. They have three grown children and had been told by some friends that they could include trusts in their Wills to benefit their adult children. That’s what their friends had done. But Phil wondered if this was still a good idea. He had recently heard that the tax laws relating to trusts might be changing. Read the rest of this entry »
October 24th, 2013
Ottawa Transition Forum/Le Forum d’Ottawa pour la transition
For those who will join us at the Ottawa Transition Forum tonight, we have compiled a list of resources which are relevant to Natasha Ell Saunders’ presentation “Adult Guardianship – what parents need to know”. Read the rest of this entry »
October 24th, 2013
I recently met with Gary and Sue (not their real names) at my law office in Stittsville, part of the City of Ottawa. Their son, who had been diagnosed with autism as a young child, was just about to turn 18. They had many of the same questions as other parents with a child with a disability have when approaching this milestone birthday and transition to adulthood. In particular, Gary and Sue had questions concerning powers of attorney and guardianship and how they differ. Read the rest of this entry »
October 10th, 2013
I recently met with Janice (not her real name) at my law office in Stittsville near Ottawa, Ontario. Janice had been appointed as executor of her uncle’s estate. She had been told by a friend that she could be paid for acting as an executor. Her uncle’s Will made no mention of executor compensation so Janice wasn’t sure whether she could be paid and, if so, how much. Read the rest of this entry »
October 3rd, 2013
I recently met with Jack (not his real name) at my law office near Stittsville in the City of Ottawa. Jack had a question which many of the executors that I meet with also ask. Jack’s mother had passed away 6 months ago. He had been appointed as the executor of her estate. His mother had left everything to be divided equally among Jack and his brother and sister. Jack’s sister, Susan, was in long-term care due to some serious health issues and her care costs were climbing. Jack was worried about her and wondered if he was allowed (as executor) to give Susan some of her inheritance right away. He and his brother could wait until the estate was ready to be wound up to receive their inheritances.
Read the rest of this entry »