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Tuesday, October 22, 2019

More episodes of our radio show and YouTube videos now available online

I regularly hear from people who say how much they liked our radio show, which we no longer host even though it was great fun. The feedback we received from listeners most often is that we covered topics that they felt were realistic and applied to them, and that we talked about those topics in a way that was easy to understand.

If you're a fan of the show, you'll be glad to know that we now have further episodes of it uploaded to our web page. Anyone can listen to the episodes completely free of charge. Click here to take you to the resources page of our web page, then scroll down until you see the radio show listings. Listen to as many as you like.

The episodes on the site as of today are:

1. All about probate
2. The building blocks of estate planning
3. Using a trust company
4. Joint property
5. Myths and misconceptions about estates
6. Executors' duties

We'll continue to add more as time permits.

You may also notice, while you're there, that we have uploaded a few more of our podcasts as well. Those are also available to listen to for free. They are shorter in length than the radio show episodes so they don't go into their topics in as much detail.

We've also added a couple more videos to our YouTube channel, so check those out by clicking here. As of today, there are 9 videos available.

As always, feel free to suggest topics for podcasts and videos!

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Selling a house from an estate before probate is granted

The post below originally appeared on this blog in 2010. It has been updated and revised.

Because it can take weeks to receive a Grant of Probate from the courts, and because executors are usually under pressure from beneficiaries to wrap up the estate quickly, executors may be in a hurry to sell a house or other real estate in the deceased's estate. This is particularly true if the market is in the seller's favour at the time. Executors don't always want to wait until they've received the paperwork from the court.

Unfortunately, the executor does have to wait until the court issues a an order of Probate. It's not just a technicality or insignificant piece of paper. Think about what it actually does. It allows someone else to sell another person's house and look after the money. If a Probate order wasn't needed, then what would stop pretty much anyone from trying to sell that house and keep the money? The probate order is proof that the person selling the house, who after all is not the owner of it, has the legal right to sell it and accept the money.

An executor who goes ahead without the probate and tries to sell a property will find that the Land Titles Office or registry will not allow this to happen. They must have a court certified copy of the probate before they will register a new owner.

The house can be listed for sale while the probate documents are being processed at the court. The executor who is selling the house needs to make sure that he or she is clear on the sales agreement that the sale is subject to a probate order being granted.

Beneficiaries who are pressuring for the sale of the house need to realize that once the executor has filed the documents and is waiting for the probate order to be issued, there is little the executor can do to speed up the process.

Dead Man Gets Last Laugh At His Funeral With An Unexpected Prank

You have to appreciate a person who can make others laugh even after he has passed away. Even, in fact, at his own funeral.

In Dublin, Ireland, Shay Bradley passed away after a long illness. To the surprise and eventual amusement of the mourners gathered to see his coffin lowered into the ground, they could hear his voice coming from the coffin, demanding to be let out. In cahoots with his kids, Mr. Bradley had pre-recorded the message to make sure they left the cemetery laughing.

Click here to read more about this story and to see the video of the mourners hearing the voice coming out of the coffin.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

A family's quest to find the right home for late dad's record collection

As many executors will attest, it's not easy to clean out someone else's home and distribute that person's possessions. It can be a minefield, when you consider that executors sometimes inadvertently ruffle the feathers of family members with sentimental attachment to tangible items, and can incur personal liability if items are sold too cheaply. Not to mention that beneficiaries are often pushing executors to distribute the estate quickly.

Collections - which may range from hockey cards to Royal Doulton figurines - can be especially challenging. This is because someone took the time and effort to collect items they were passionate about, and it seems a shame to take that time and effort lightly. Most of the time, the few top-rated or most valuable items from a collection are sold, and the others are either claimed by family members, donated, or thrown away.

Wouldn't it be great if all of the items in a collection could be kept together and sold as a single lot? Surely the monetary value would be higher. The love and care poured into it by the original collector could be appreciated and continued by a new owner. But that's not always possible.

These days, social media may make it easier for executors to find and reach potential buyers of a collection. For example, Murray Deal of Nova Scotia spent 60 years collecting country music records. When Mr. Deal passed away, he had about 8,000 records. His daughter, Amanda Jackson, has to dispose of the records in order to wrap up her father's estate. She is refusing to break up the collection and is looking for a buyer who will take the whole lot. To read more about this story from CBC News, click here.

When trying to dispose of any collection, executors might have to get creative. Garage sales are great, but may not be the only way, or even the best way, of connecting with the right kind of buyers. Depending on the subject matter of the collection, there could be a museum, local historical society, or cultural society that would be interested in it. Facebook and Instagram are packed with groups that are interested in all sorts of things from dolls to antique cars. Music schools might want musical instruments. And so on. Finding these buyers takes more time and effort than simply holding a garage sale, but it could well be worth it.

Executors, if you're tasked with selling a collection of items from an estate, take advantage of internet resources to ensure you know the real value of the items, and to find the best buyer you can.

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Be careful when buying self-help books on legal topics

Today I received a marketing email from someone I don't know, telling me that his new book about preparing wills is now for sale. Of course I went online to check it out. The first thing I noticed is that this author is not a lawyer. So he is offering a workbook and instructions on writing legal documents even though he isn't a lawyer. I wonder if he also writes self-help medical advice.

I also note the book is self-published, so he didn't even have the benefit of a publisher or editor overseeing his work! If he is preparing wills for people, he is guilty of practicing law without a license.

So please, be very careful as a consumer of legal information or products. Don't gamble with important matters like your family's future. Of course you should buy books and materials that save you time and money, but make sure the author is qualified to give the advice he or she is offering. The last thing you need is to rely on someone with insufficient knowledge, just to have your family pay for your mistake after you pass away.

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