Friday, November 27, 2015

Cinderella's Trust Fund - fairy tales, fables, and nursery rhymes re-told by an estate planning lawyer

I have another new book out! This is what happens when I have spare time. Books happen! This one was so much fun to write. It's called Cinderella's Trust Fund. It re-tells a dozen fairy tales, fables, and nursery rhymes as an estate-planner would tell them. I use the tales we all know and love as jumping-off points to discuss real issues. It covers choice of executors, trusts for minors, powers of attorney, health care directives, business succession, family trusts, adding kids to the title of property, and so much more. The topics are serious, but there is no need for us to be serious about them all the time. I hope you'll like reading it as much as I liked writing it.

Click here to see it and/or buy it. As always, feedback is welcome.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

A Lawsuit in Time Saves Nine

I've been reading cases for 30 years, but every now and then I still see one that makes my jaw drop in amazement. I read about one jaw-dropper recently on the blog belonging to Whaley Estate Litigation, a Toronto law firm.

The case is that of Daley v. Daley, a new case from Ontario The facts are absolutely unbelievable. Mr. and Mrs. Daley married in 1990 (a second marriage for both) and separated in 1999. They did not get divorced. They sold the house and each bought their own place. They stayed friends and talked almost every day. Mrs. Daley became ill in 1991 and couldn't work, so Mr. Daley voluntarily gave her financial support.

In 2014 Mr. Daley told Mrs. Daley that he was going to revise his will. Once she heard his plans, Mrs. Daley sprang into action. She used the Power of Attorney document that Mr. Daley had signed when they were married and took $22,000 from his accounts (this was his entire line of credit). She bought a car and gave the rest of the money to her daughter. Then she phoned the police and told them Mr. Daley was harassing her. It was only after he called her as usual that he found out about this, and found out about the missing money.

Mr. Daley decided to get on with the divorce in light of these new events. The craziness continued. During the divorce proceedings, Mrs. Daley said that they had separated in 2014, not 1999 and therefore she was entitled to equalization payment as well as spousal maintenance.

Eventually the court sorted it out in Mr. Daley's favour.

What a mess! The author of the blog post, Laura Cardiff, made an excellent point in her discussion of the case (click here to read it). She said that as messy as this lawsuit was, it was nothing compared to what would have happened if Mr. Daley had lost capacity while his ex-wife still had the power of attorney, or died leaving his ex-wife to contest his will. I completely agree. Obviously Mrs. Daley would have tied the estate up for years in her attempts to lie her way into a greater share of it.

At least Mr. Daley learned the truth in time to make a new will leaving her out of it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me - book review

As  many readers of this blog are involved in the care of their parents, I'm attaching a link to a review of a book that may appeal to many of you. Click here to see a review of a book called The Long Hello: Memory, My Mother, and Me by Cathie Borrie. I found this review on an excellent blog called The Generation Above Me. Here is an excerpt from the book review:

Borrie perceives her mother to have richness and insight borne out of her mother's mixed diagnosis of Parkinson's Disease and Alzheimer's Disease.  To emphasize the point: she's implying that it's because of her diagnosis not despite of it.  Her mother's guard comes down, revealing more raw emotion and more blunt opinions. Her mother's language doesn't decay for Borrie; it transforms.

Borrie's writing style also extends beyond prose. She includes a number of exchanges between herself and her mother. But this isn't strict dialogue--it's poetry. 

Monday, November 23, 2015

Can I help with your question?

I've been getting some interesting calls lately. Callers are taking advantage of my arrangement of a one-time consultation to ask about and discuss things they need clarified. I'm getting a few of the "can he do that?" questions, of course. Those are the ones where someone is involved in an estate and needs information and advice about actions being taken by someone else who is also involved in the estate, as a beneficiary, executor, or family member.

I'm also getting some calls from people who want to explore their options. While executors usually have an estate lawyer to speak with, beneficiaries usually don't. They are often the ones calling me to discuss what to expect and what to do next.

Not all callers are from my home province. I'm pleased to say that I've had a few calls from other provinces as well.

I remind all readers that I'm available in person, by phone at 709-221-5511 or by email at for consultations. I charge a flat fee of $250 regardless of the length of the consultation. Let me know if I can help.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

What my mother wanted us to pack

I'm attaching a link to a story by Julie Schumacher in the New York Times that I recommend be read by parents and adult kids alike. It's one woman's account of what it was like for her and her sisters to go to their mother's home after the mother passed away, and to pack up her belongings. It's not a tear-jerker, nor is it a cold, clinical analysis of the process. It's a pretty balanced account of what the family goes through, as well as the thoughts the mother must have had as she prepared for her final years. Click here to read the article.

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