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Thursday, August 17, 2017

The Law Show: Practical tips and how-tos for executors and beneficiaries

This week's (August 17, 2017) episode of The Law Show is online! This week we are talking about several practical tips and how-tos that executors and beneficiaries need to know. The idea behind it is that executors know they are supposed to do certain things - transfer a house to a beneficiary or open an estate bank account, for example - but they may not know how to go about it. So this week's program is packed with practical information you'll find useful. Click here to go to and choose the episode you want.


  1. Hi,
    My husband and I have been married for 17 years and we presently live in the home ho owned before we married. We never took the step to have my name added to the title of the home. We are wondering if it is necessary to do so if he has a will that states I would inherit his estate upon his passing? There is no outstanding mortgage. Would adding my name to the title affect my income tax as I then would own half the house? Is it better to just leave my name off the title with a legal will in place? In either case, would I have to pay a large tax bill upon his death? Not sure how to proceed. Thanks for any help you can offer.


    1. I'm not in a position to offer individualized advice on what any particular person should do, but I can tell you how the general rules should apply in your situation.

      If your husband leaves a valid will leaving you the house, the house should go to you.

      Owning a house does not open you up to any tax that I know of, other than municipal property tax.

      If the house is his principal residence, there is no tax when he passes away.

      If you and your husband are thinking about getting wills done, that would be a good chance to ask these questions. Also remember to ask what would happen to the house if he dies without your name on it and he hasn't yet made a will. In some provinces, matrimonial homes get special treatment.


  2. Hi Lynn,
    My son is a specific gift beneficiary (money) of my late father's estate, my sister and myself are residuary beneficiaries. My son is a minor. The will has not been probated and according to the executor, will not be probated as she has stated there is no need.
    We have been requesting a proper accounting for several months and have received snippets of info. My sister and I have retained a lawyer to correspond with the executors lawyer but she is refusing to show statements from the estate account and some other receipts etc.
    Initially she had stated there was not enough money in the estate to pay the specific bequest to my son as everything my dad owner was joint or designated (with her and to her, his spouse) and executor) but upon being asked to prove it, as the will shows clear intent to leave his grandson and us gifts, she offered to place shares that he owned but left to her in a handwritten note (that we have never seen), into the estate so that my son would get his bequest.
    Today, we received a letter of indemnity/waiver of probate for the shares she claims were left to her. She wants me to sign it on behalf of my minor son. The document has no place on it for a parent to consent in place of a minor. There were some other errors as well, like the estate information section being left blank so my lawyer sent it back to her lawyer asking that he please assist her in properly filling out the form. We are, in the meantime still waiting for estate info and bank account statements, and my lawyer has 3 times sent a "reminder" stating that further delay will result in a court application being filed to force her to account.
    My questions are 1. SHOULD this waiver be signed? and if not....
    2. What happens if we refuse to sign?
    3. At this point, should the children's lawyer be involved?
    I'd love to hear your take on this situation.

  3. My take...since it's a Blog. Re-Anonymous-August 21, 2017 at 1:19 PM
    Somehow, I feel that this just another example of many that is out there re shifty Executors and to a lesser degree Beneficiaries. Just the tip of the iceberg. It is my impression most are resolved because most people give in and give up. Few people take the time or perhaps have time to learn a little about the process.
    The writer is a residuary beneficiary and has a lawyer. The Executor has a lawyer and gives instructions and also takes advice from him/her. The writer does the same with his/her lawyer.
    It appears the Executor is playing games. Residuary beneficiaries have a right to see the Will. No doubt the Executor's lawyer told her that.
    More information is required re assets re the Will. Is there property, investments, cash, chattels?
    ....and my lawyer has 3 times sent a "reminder" stating that further delay will result in a court application being filed to force her to account. [writer]. The Executor is hoping you will give in and give up. The question here is, can you, will you, go the distance?
    The writer could get a lot of free information online about the role of Executors, Beneficiaries and Estate Laws. Google is your friend. To the writer....let us know how this story ends?

  4. No one has died. we moved far from where the named executor lives. we would just like to change the name off the executor how can we do that

  5. How to Handle a Belligerent Beneficiary.(The Common Executor Blog)

    The belligerent beneficiary is a type of beneficiary that feels slighted by the estate. For whatever reason a beneficiary feels slighted, the beneficiary becomes belligerent by acting out towards the estate and the executor in any of the following ways: A beneficiary may try to insert themselves into the process by continually demanding updates, reports, … Continue reading How to Handle a Belligerent Beneficiary

    From Robert Dowling Editor- The Common Executorented on How to Handle a Belligerent Beneficiary.

    Letter-Hi, my relative is the executor and beneficiary of her mother’s estate, everything was to be split 5 ways among her 3 daughters and 2 step-sons. My relative has gotten the bank to sign off on the statement of account after all funeral expenses were paid and taxes filed. One of the step-sons is looking … Continue reading How to Handle a Belligerent Beneficiary

    Response by Robert Dowling

    Hi Jo,

    Thanks for your question. Basically, it all comes down to where your relative is in administering the estate. To me, it sounds like she is in the closing phase since all taxes and expenses of the estate have been paid. If this is the case, then it’s not unreasonable for the beneficiary to ask for details. Especially, if the executor used estate money to pay for all taxes and expenses. If this release form is to close the estate, then your relative should at least provide the same information to the beneficiaries that was approved by the bank. To avoid grumbling from the other four, send the information to all 5. Here in the U.S., estate law is state specific. In my state, in order to close an estate, the executor has to provide a final account to the beneficiaries for there approval. So, it’s only common sense, to keep the executor accountable, that the beneficiaries see the details of how the estate was handled.

    Lynne-I believe this is similar to Canada? Sounds like common sense to me. I don't understand why Executors and Beneficiaries cannot respond to simple requests that they have a legal right to.

  6. Lynne-Of interest to viewers?
    Apathy Towards Estate Planning Can Lead to Adverse Consequences
    Presently, apathy towards estate planning is commonly brought on by perceptions people have about estate planning. Recently, during conversations about estate planning, the following perceptions surfaced:


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