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When Green Acres becomes a black hole in estate planning

In the film Gone With the Wind, Scarlett O'Hara realizes there is nothing more valuable than the land which is owned by her family. Many people in the throes of estate planning in Canada should take into consideration that property may be one of the assets their heirs would most like to have. Sometimes that can cause problems, considering the family farmhouse usually can't be split in half.

Such was the case with four Ontario siblings who were left a farm complete with a farmhouse. One of the four had been living in the home for a year without paying rent and wanted to continue to do so indefinitely. She said she shouldn't have to pay rent since she grew up there. No formal agreement regarding the division of the family estate was left, so what is the recourse of the three other siblings?

The law says the sibling can continue to live in the home if she buys her other siblings out. A report has indicated that when siblings do fight over money, their parents are responsible in about 68 percent of the instances. The most contentious issue centres around how parents divided inheritance in their estate planning. Other issues stem from which siblings supported their parents more or offered financial support.

The best way to diffuse these situations is not to have them happen in the first place. Getting the help of a lawyer in Canada who can help in estate planning could help individuals make these kind of important decisions taking the law into consideration. A lawyer could also help his or her client explain to adult children why the estate is being divided in a certain way since it's typically best for parents and children to talk about these issues beforehand.

 

 

Source: theglobeandmail.com, "When siblings fight over the farm, an advisor can help", Erik Heinrich, Accessed on Nov. 10, 2017

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