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Monday, July 14, 2014

Nine estate planning tips to avoid family strife

Since avoiding family strife is one of the key goals of all the estate planning I do, my attention was caught immediately by the title of this article from The nine tips on the list are all very good suggestions. Being tips, they are necessarily short summaries of important information and not lengthy essays, but they are still worth a read. Click here to see the article.


  1. Hi Joanne,

    I would like your advice on an estate matter that my children and I find ourselves embroiled in.

    My ex-husband died in 2012, (in BC) leaving his estate (gross value $750,000) to his two children - who are now age 19 and 13. Estate assets consist of an RRSP portfolio of $450,000, some unregistered investements and property valued at $350,000 which as been sold. My ex-husband's brother is the executor of the estate.

    To date, the estate is not wrapped up and no distribution has been made. We know that the executor (along with his lawyer and accountant) filed the final tax return 6 months late resulting in interest and penalties of approx. $23,000.00. Also, the estate lawyer has charged $12,500 for the file but seems to have done very little considering that no distribution could be made, we have had to track the RRSP funds down on our own and have not received confirmation that the funds will be released. The Public Gaurdian and Trustee of BC will take the funds for the 13 year old in trust until she reaches majority.

    We receive an accounting of the estate in April with some mysterious charges (a $10,000 payment to the executor that is posted to funeral and moving expenses even though there was no funeral and moving charges were previously confirmed at $1,500. The executor also claimed an executor fee which is in violation of the will which clearly spells out the amount of executor remuneration.

    My son and I (on behalf of my 13 year old daughter) have asked for clarification on this before signing the release but have received nothing.

    Can the executor be liable for late filing and interest penalties charged as a result of not filing the final tax return on time? What is our recourse with regard to the excessive legal fees, executor fees and fees not substantiated as legitimate expenses of the estate?

    Thank you for your advice

  2. Planning your estate and wills are pretty stressful altogether. Thank you so much for sharing your experience, Lynne Butler. My neighbor told me how they had some extra help and advice from these guys who do a lot of the planning.
    Sylvia |

    1. Hi Sylvia. I don't know the law firm you mentioned, since they are Australian. But the help and advice that lawyers can provide will help give clients peace of mind.


  3. Estate planning is very necessary to your family protection after your die.


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