In your last will and testament, you can clarify how estate assets should be distributed to heirs. Unless your will states otherwise, your heirs will receive their full share of assets after the estate has been administered.
At Hagel Lawfirm, we have seen a wide variety of scenarios in which surviving family members have been confused and hurt by their loved ones' estate planning.
Family dynamics often have a bearing on how smoothly wealth passes from one generation to the next. At Hagel Lawfirm, we have seen how differences among family members can have a negative impact on the value of an estate, and we work with our clients to help them avoid such an outcome.
It is estimated that $30 trillion in assets will be transferred from Baby Boomers to their heirs in the coming decades. For Canadians specifically, the inheritance boom is expected to involve the transfer of $1 trillion in the next 20 years.
According to Statistics Canada, the average net worth of Canadian families has risen significantly in the last two decades. Between 1999 and 2012, average wealth increased by 73 per cent -- from $319,800 to $554,100. Much of this wealth is held by baby boomers, and it is estimated that, in the next four decades in North America, more than $30 trillion in assets will be passed from boomers to their heirs.
When planning the eventual distribution of your estate assets, one of your primary goals is to ensure that your wishes are communicated clearly. However, in a world increasingly characterized by our connection to digital technologies, estate planners have to think not only about which heir will receive what, but also about whether heirs have access to digital assets.
Creating a will is an essential part of any comprehensive estate plan, but too often disputes over estate assets -- along with the resulting heartache among family members -- are due to mistakes in the will or failure to update it when major life events occur.
Estate beneficiaries find themselves in disputes for a variety of reasons. The grief of losing a loved one, unresolved divorce-related issues, mental health issues, lack of mental capacity, and deep-seated family disagreements can all factor largely. In most cases, though, the main cause of conflict is inaccurate or inappropriate estate planning.
The practice of estate litigation often involves handling disputes over the emotionally fraught matter of disinheritance. In some cases, disinheritance is unintentional -- the result of an oversight or poor planning. In other cases, family members find themselves explicitly disinherited in the deceased's will.
At Hagel Lawfirm, we specialize in helping people to plan their estates and resolve issues with disputed estate plans. After spending years as a financial planner, our lawyer, Dorothy Hagel, is prepared to help you avoid all of the common pitfalls in estate planning. With the guidance of an estate planning lawyer, you can rest assured that the wording of your will won't result in any future disputes or unintended tax obligations.