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October 2019 Archives

Managing estate administration if stepparent is sole beneficiary

While some wills lay out specific amounts or percentages for different individuals, others have a sole beneficiary. Typically, this is a surviving spouse. But some children find this a challenging prospect, especially if the surviving spouse does not see fit to leave them in the will although the first parent would have done so. How do such cases play out in Ontario estate administration?

Considering estate plans before birthing can be wise

For many parents, the most important part of their estate plan is who will have guardianship of children if they should pass away. However, there are other parts of estate planning that need to be considered by women and families entering childbirth. Who can make decisions on the mother's behalf if she is incapacitated during childbirth? What happens if complications occur during or after childbirth? These situations can be devastating to Ontario families, but advance planning can at the very least keep the matter out of the courtroom.

Managing estate litigation risks with unequal asset distribution

While it is common to leave an equal amount of assets to all children, many have very legitimate reason for favouring some children over others in a will. For example, one might have been a caretaker or have taken less from parents in their lifetime, or perhaps financial need is different. There is legal precedent for such wishes to be fulfilled under Ontario estate law. However, wills with unequal division of assets between children can also become fodder for estate litigation should one of the children call the will into question.

Estate litigation risks in blended or non-traditional families

Deciding the fate of assets can be fairly straight-forward in some families. In others, especially blended families, deciding who gets what can be dicey business. An non-traditional or "modern" family structure does not have to be a recipe for estate litigation, but it can certainly raise questions and, in some cases, conflict. Here are some things for Ontario estate planners and executors to consider when distribution of assets is less clear-cut.

How beneficiary designations can cause estate administration woes

Designating beneficiaries can often seem like the most straight-forward part of estate planning. However, common mistakes and misunderstandings can make this foundational part of a plan difficult in estate administration. Here are some beneficiary designation issues that can cause estate administration woes for Ontario executors.