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Why procrastinating on estate planning can lead to litigation

Financial planning of any kind can often be met with procrastination. Estate planning in particular can be easy to put off to the future, especially for those who feel like death is a long way off. However, lack of planning and documentation is one of the main reasons Ontario families end up in estate litigation. Here are a few of the benefits of putting wishes in writing early and updating plans often.

The first benefit of estate planning is organization. For many people, the documents an executor would need to manage an estate are not in one easy-to-access place. Disorganization can lead to delays in estate administration and, in some cases, conflict between beneficiaries as they navigate the complexity of the situation.

Another thing an estate plan provides is transparency and clear information. In the digital world, this is particularly important. Many accounts may be password protected, and it could be unclear who has the right or responsibility to access or manage accounts after a loved one passes.

In the end, many estate litigation issues come down to beneficiaries and assets; that is, who gets what and how inheritances are handed down. For many families, "fair" and "equal" mean two different things; the more clear a will is, the more understandable it will be when the time comes to execute an estate. When someone does not leave instructions, Ontario estate law must make decisions according to provincial standards. Those involved in estate litigation due to lack of planning or any other contentious issue can work with an Ontario lawyer to better understand their options.

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