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How to ask a question

Here are some ways to get an answer to your question:

1. Ask one question. This would work for you if you only need to ask one question and you don't need a whole hour to talk about it. You ask a question via email or via the "Ask a Question" feature on my webpage. This will cost $50. Call Matthew or Chelsea at 709-221-5511 to book a time, or email me at lynne@butlerwillsandestates.com.

2. Book a full consult: Have a one-time discussion on the phone or in person with me of up to an hour. You can send me material (such as a will, release, etc) in advance for me to review before our chat. You can ask as many questions as you want to about the topic. I will provide you with a letter summarizing our discussion if you like. Our conversation creates a working relationship so that your information will always be kept confidential. After the conversation, you are not obligated to hire me or my office to do any other work for you. It's just a way of having a thorough discussion. For this consultation, I charge $400, which you would pay by way of credit card during the call. To book a consult, call Matthew or Chelsea at 709-221-5511.

Those of you who have emailed me asking for free legal advice have probably noticed that I rarely reply. Like most people, I can't afford to give away the very thing that earns me my living. I also can't risk sending a few lines that gives you a false sense of security that you've been fully advised if you really haven't. If you're just curious about the general rules, by all means leave a question here on the blog and I'll do my best to answer you. But if you're planning to make decisions based on what I tell you, I strongly recommend that you choose one of the two options above so that I can give your question the attention it deserves.



108 comments:

  1. I am a residual beneficiary of two estates. the executor of one is very good at keeping us informed, but I don't understand C3 requirements. The second executor is not as good at keeping us informed. One has to ask. And when one asks, one is told a vague "I sent paperwork off last week". This will was lump sums to everybody, charities included. Three years later it is not settled. The sale of property was finaized last February and here we are waiting and it's December! Completely fed up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, trying to get information about estates can be unbelievably frustrating. Sometimes executors have good reasons for delays. There could be tax issues, court delays, low markets, all kinds of things. But why don't they just say so? That's the part that makes me wonder. Surely everyone knows that without facts and information, the people waiting are going to become impatient and start speculating as to what is happening. Communication is so important but many executors are terrible at it.

      Lynne

      Delete
  2. My husband and his sister live in BC and are the children from a first marriage. They moved at a young age to BC from Ontario with their mother when their parents broke up. Their father remarried and has a son from that relationship and remained in Ontario. My husband was recently in Ontario when his father became ill, and his step brother mentioned there is a copy of his father's will sitting on the table, which my husband took home to BC with him. The copy has a stamp that says Copy on it and there are no signatures on the two page document. The will, called a last will and testament, leaves all assets/money for the son from the second marriage, and a niece, to be divided equally between them. There is no mention of my husband and his sister receiving anything in the will. Their father is still living, but is very sick and is terminal. When my husband's sister asked her dad on the phone about the will not leaving them anything he said he didn't leave anything to anyone. His niece who is also a beneficiary is the executor and power of attorney. How do we find out if the copy we have is the copy of a true existing legal will, and is there any grounds for contesting the will ? Their father is now in a long term care facility in BC. The last will and testament was written when he was still in Ontario. I have read that in BC the chance of contesting a will made in BC where children have been left out is easier, but other provinces, no. The will was made out in Ontario ( presuming this copy really is a copy of a legal will) Also I read that you can not contest the will till after the person is deceased. Is this correct? thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct that you cannot contest a will while the testator is still alive.

      You are also correct that contesting a will is easier in BC than in other provinces because they have different inheritance laws there. In your case, the estate should be in Ontario because that is where your F.I.L. lived.

      There is probably no way for you to know at this point whether the copy of the will you have is a copy of the most current will, other than asking the woman who is the POA and will one day be the executor. She may choose not to tell you and I don't know of a legal way to force her to tell you, considering your FIL is still alive.

      As for contesting the will, the answer to that is more complex. From the facts contained in your note, there is no automatic right to contest the will, such as would arise if you were a financial dependent of the testator. So then you have to look at the facts and the circumstances surrounding the making of the will. If your FIL was of sound mind and made the will voluntarily, there is likely no point at all in contesting it. If, on the other hand, he was sick and vulnerable, or had dementia, that's another matter.

      It's interesting that he said he didn't leave anything to anyone. Perhaps that means there really isn't much in the estate.

      Lynne

      Delete
  3. Hi Lynne,

    My aunt died in Ontario during 2017. There is a will and I was appointed the estate trustee in 2018. My four siblings and I are the only beneficiaries of her will.

    I retained the services of a lawyer to handle the probate application and was very satisfied with that process. However now I am having doubts about the advice the lawyer is giving me as I begin the process of distributing the estate assets.

    Am I under any legal obligation to continue to retain this or any other lawyer to guide me in distributing the estate's assets?

    Two of my sibling owe me money and want to use their portion of the estate to settle these debts prior to the distribution of benefits because they live outside of Canada. Can they use notarized 'Letters of Set Off' to instruct the trustee to pay the creditor (me) before money is distributed to them?

    Thanks for any advice you're able to provide with either issue.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're not obligated to use this lawyer or any lawyer. However, the fact that you want to use estate funds to force repayment of a debt to you personally (which is not allowed) makes it clear why you and your lawyer are not seeing eye to eye.

      Lynne

      Delete
    2. Hi Lynne,

      Thanks for your great feedback.

      I want to clarify that both beneficiaries want to repay their loan before their benefit is distributed and are not being forced to do so.

      The loans were meant to be an interim distribution of their benefit and were made because there wasn't enough money in the estate account at the time.

      Delete
  4. My 90 year old father has a live in caregiver in his home. The caregiver's daughter and grand daughter have moved in as well. There are no issues right now with this arrangement. I'm unclear if there is a valid written contract and she receives cash payment for her support. If my father dies, is there real risk of claims on his estate or challenges with eviction of the caregiver and her family?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Mike,
      Yes there are some risks. Here are a few that pop out at me:
      - the caregiver could claim that she was actually a common law wife and that's why her family moved in
      - the caregiver could say she was promised something (e.g. the house) if she stayed there and looked after him
      - the caregiver could claim that she and her family have been contributing to the upkeep of the home and are therefore entitled to a share of it
      - worst of all, the caregiver could have persuaded your father to transfer assets to her because she cares for him more than anyone else does etc.

      None of these are all that rare. I have a pre-trial conference on these very issues next week.

      Lynne

      Delete
  5. Hi Lynne,

    I am about to come into an inheritance and I would like for it to go to my daughter.
    She is not named in the will with my other siblings but I would like to decline my inheritance and have them give her the money instead. Am I allowed to do this? If so, how do I go about it? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you decline your inheritance it goes back into the estate and is divided up amongst residuary beneficiaries and not necessarily your daughter. Instead, send the executor an Assignment and Direction to Pay which will ensure that your share goes to your daughter.

      Lynne

      Delete
  6. Could you provide a link to this? -- "in my Alberta Probate book I provided a form for this that you can either print or download, as well as forms for all of the executor's record-keeping and accounting" I need something simple that just shows the date, purpose and amount of expenses I have paid into processing an estate as the executor. Thanks for any help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, no. That is provided in the book for people who have bought the book.

      Lynne

      Delete
  7. I am a residual benificery of a Trust in BC. The trust was created with a life intrest by my father for his wife. The trustee has never informed the me about the trust or the estate.
    I have learned The trustee moved estate funds to my mothers bank account. This trustee was General Power of attorney for my mother.
    I have been to court to contested the Estate accounting.(passing of accounts)
    The court suggested I sign an order for both estates be heard at the same time.(due to comingling)
    Is there a up side to this or work against me?
    It appears The trustee/ POA can not account for life insurance policy from the Estate. He has been involved in Estate Reassesments from years back . The first 10 years of Estate accounting is missing The reasoning my mother (also a estate trustee) look care of her own affairs . He is avoiding any accountability.
    Once he becomes POA (General) he put his mothers financial funds in a joint account with himself. A couple of years later moved the estate funds into the joint account. My mother passed. All finances court ordered into trust until issues are resolved.
    The issues are old but an estimate of $400,000 is unaccounted for.
    Should I sign off to have this all heard at the same time? Or have the estates heard seperatley or
    Presue a breach of trust , undue influence
    Your thoughts are appreciated

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hi,

    My mother passed away a couple of years ago. The house was in her maiden name but was married before passing. She didn't have a will. I am the only child. My step father is currently living in the estate and hasn't distributed any inheritance which I know he gets the first $200 and anything remaining after that gets distributed evenly between us. My question to you is how do I Uptain my inheritance if the estate was all that she had? Does he have to sell the house for me to get my inheritance?
    We are both estate trustees.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a complex matter that can't really be addressed in a few lines. I wouldn't be doing either of us a favour if I tried. I suggest you either call my office for a full consult ($400) or that you use the "Ask a Question" feature on my website where you can email in a question and I'll take the time to answer it properly.

      Lynne

      Delete
  9. Hi Lynne
    I have a question. I am in a relationship with a man who is legally married but living a part for 6 years he and she own a house together. She has spent the last 5 years with someone else with an attempt at a reconciliation at the 4 year mark for 6 months. It didn’t work out and I have since been living with him for 10 months and she is back with her boyfriend. Her and her boyfriend legally own a house together as well as her and my boyfriend own this house together. She has reciently decided that I live here with a free ride, though she doesn’t know that I pay bills here and by food and help look after her kids. I also own my own house that I rent out and I rent another property where my belongs reside. Now she is getting upset about mine and my boyfriends relationship and sent him a text saying the house is half hers.
    I’m not arguing that.
    They have not done a legal separation as of yet.
    I am wondering if because they are still technically married and not legally separated on paper if this 50 50 split of assets would also included that part of the house that she owns with her boyfriend?
    I also wonder if I by a house with my boyfriend and they are not legally separated is she intitled to half the house we would own together.
    I realize this is complicated and really appreciate your thoughts on this. We live in Saskatchewan

    Aimee

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Aimee,
      I appreciate your question but since I don't practice family law, I don't have any answers for you. You should talk to someone who specifically deals with family law.

      Lynne

      Delete
  10. Hi Lynne,

    Is there a purpose to a "mindfulness" clause in a Will? i.e. "I am mindful that I have not made any provision for my son, _______, and I have deliberately done so." - does this affect how probate is achieved and/or make it easier to be achieved, or does it not really do anything at all?

    Thank you so very much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That clause does not make it any easier to get probate, nor is it supposed to. It is designed to eliminate any possibility that the person left out of a will can claim it was a mistake and that they are actually entitled to a share. In other words, it helps reduce the odds of a lawsuit.

      Lynne

      Delete
    2. That's exactly what I thought. Thank you for all your help you are doing on here.

      Delete
  11. I am not sure that the lawyer interpretation of a section of my mom’s will is correct. As for probate can I still go though probate with this firm although I don’t agree with his interpretation? And disperse the funds to the beneficiaries as the trustee absolutely deems advisable as it says in the will? If there is no disagreement with the beneficiary’s? I have held on probate with the lawyer until I gather more information as I know it’s my duty to do as my mother wished. Thank you for your advice.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I am not sure that the lawyer interpretation of a section of my mom’s will is correct. As for probate can I still go though probate with this firm although I don’t agree with his interpretation? And disperse the funds to the beneficiaries as the trustee absolutely deems advisable as it says in the will? If there is no disagreement with the beneficiary’s? I have held on probate with the lawyer until I gather more information as I know it’s my duty to do as my mother wished. Thank you for your advice.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. At the end of the day, it is up to the executor to carry out the terms of the will. If you don't want to work with a lawyer, or not this particular lawyer, you don't have to. However, it could be that the lawyer knows more about wills law than you do, so be cautious about ignoring legal advice.

      Why not get a second opinion from someone else about the clause in question?

      If you ignore legal advice and something goes wrong, you're on the hook.

      Lynne

      Delete
  13. I am awaiting a second opinion from another lawyer. If the interpretation differs from the lawyer I hired for probate then what do I do? Just I hate to pay the first lawyer for starting all the paperwork for probate, then have to hire a new lawyer. Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  14. My loved one died in Calgary without a will. I am in BC. When I fill in the Application for a Grant of Administration can I get it notarized by a notary in BC and mail it in or do I have to travel to Calgary to do this in person at the Court of Queen's Bench?

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hi My mother died, and my sister died shortly afterwards. My mothers property went to my sister. I do not know who the executors or beneficiary's are of My sister estate. But I do know the lawyer who made both Wills.
    There was no probate, or Change to land registry of Ontario. My Mothers name is still on title as of last Monday Feb.11 2019. I want buy the land, from my sisters Estate, but the Lawyer does not want give the names of the executors or beneficiary's, of my sister Estate. Can I take the lawyer to Court to get a copy of the will and the names? Thanks..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you are not a beneficiary of your sister's estate, you will not be successful in asking the court to force anyone to give you a copy. Non-beneficiaries do not have the legal right to see the will.

      There is no reason in the world why the lawyer should give you the name of the beneficiaries of your sister's estate. That would be an egregious breach of lawyer's ethics.

      As for telling you the name of the executor, you do have a good reason for wanting to contact him or her. You have to remember though that a lawyer is not allowed to give out private information such as what her client said in their will. So it's not the lawyer's information to give. Perhaps you could ask the lawyer to pass your name and number on to the executor so the executor can call you.

      Lynne

      Delete
  16. Hi, short and sweet my aunt has both my mother and myself down as her executors for her will as well as her beneficiary of her estate. Right before her passing other people stepped in and had her take us out, she was not if right mind at the time in hospital, they also had her POS changed and my mom omitted. They also made sure we had a no contact order with her, which broke our hearts not being able to speak with her or see her before her passing? It was horrible and my mother suffered the loss of her sister much sooner than her passing due to all this influence from others in her life. We have all original wills poa’s and letters she wrote asking us to do for her once she passed. Do we have any legal course to fight this ?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When a will is made, the person who signs it must do so voluntarily. It sounds as if in this case, your aunt might not have signed her new will voluntarily.

      If she was coerced, tricked, pressured etc into making a will that she would not have made without that pressure, this is called undue influence. If you can prove in court that they unduly influenced her, the will would be voided.

      This isn't easy litigation. It's never easy to prove what was going on in someone else's mind and heart. However, it can be done as long as you have the evidence to support it.

      This is not something you want to try on your own. Take all of the wills and other paperwork to a lawyer near you who has plenty of experience in wills litigation. You should be able to get information about how long it would take, what it would cost, and what evidence you'd need to get.

      The whole situation sounds heart-breaking and I hope you are able to resolve it.

      Lynne

      Delete
  17. Hi Lynne,
    My mother recently passed away. My mother lived in a nursing home. She was receiving CPP/OAS as a source of income and she had to pay her "rent" part in the nursing home. We had a joint bank account
    and she had a RIFF, which I am beneficiary of. My brother passed a 12 months ago, and my dad passed away also, so I am the only living next of kin(her daughter). My mom owes $6789 to CPP/OAS which they have been taking $100 off her cheques to pay back an "over payment" on her account. As I've been reading a joint bank(which we've had for 6-7yrs) and a RIF are not part of her "estate". The only money she got back was her nursing home partial rent money(as they pay 1 month ahead), her own trust account at the nursing home and part cell phone payment. Total $1030.09. Do I need to see a lawyer? Or do I send CPP/OAS the $1030.09 as she has technically no money in the estate? Or do I have to pay them from her RIF? I'm not sure how to do with this situation.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thank you so much for your generosity in maintaining this excellent site.

    I wonder if you could at some point address the question of whether (when?) it is advisable to have two separate lawyers when a couple wants to have their wills drafted.

    I'm very perplexed about this. Our wills will need to be coordinated somewhat, especially with regard to provisions for the case where we die simultaneously, but I expect them to differ from each other in various details. I see lawyers advertising special rates for couples, but does that mean the wills must be exact mirror images of each other to qualify? If they are not, then, if one uses the same lawyer, may that lawyer not find him/herself in a situation where he/she is obliged to inform one spouse of another's action, but doing so would mean breaking lawyer-client confidentiality?

    Where one lawyer is used for both wills, is it usual for both spouses to be present for one consultation, or can they be seen individually?

    grateful for any insight you can provide

    ReplyDelete
  19. After reading your blog I understand a heir can waive (turn dowm) an inheritance. But i was told different. My question is, can an heir in the province of Quebec which is on social assistance and receiving rent supplement waive an inheritance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. My experience - and therefore what I blog about - is with the common law system of wills that exists in every province and territory in Canada, except for Quebec. In that province, they have a civil code that is much different than the rest of the country. I've never practiced in that jurisdiction and as a result, I don't know all the rules. If the information you have received is from a reputable source with Quebec-related experience, I have no doubt it is more appropriate for you.

      Lynne

      Delete
  20. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  21. A little humour or humor-

    Daily Cartoon: Thursday, April 25th/19
    “It’s Take Your Child to Work Day.”
    [img]https://media.newyorker.com/photos/5cc1d3d4f1d6222e51c0c015/4:3/w_172,c_limit/DC042519.jpg[/img]
    or
    Daily Cartoon: Thursday, April 25th/19
    “It’s Take Your Child to Work Day.”
    https://media.newyorker.com/photos/5cc1d3d4f1d6222e51c0c015/4:3/w_172,c_limit/DC042519.jpg

    Webeye

    ReplyDelete
  22. Hi, I just have a quick question. My grandfather on My mother's side died Nov 2017, his estate was to be split between his 4 children. My mother passed just 4 months later and im wondering if her share of the estate would go to me and my sister or to my stepdad? There was nothing in the will to cover this so im wondering what is normal in this situation as my stepdad wont give me a straight answer about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. He might not be giving you a straight answer because he doesn't know the answer himself. Your mother's share is now part of her estate. Did your mother have a will? If so, her share will be distributed according to that will. If she did not have a will, her share will be divided according to your provincial intestacy law. That almost always means a combination of the spouse and the children.

      So, you see what I mean that he might not know the answer. The real key at this point is to find out whether your mother had a valid will in place.

      Lynne

      Delete
  23. A bit of humour...

    Dilbert:Friday -June 21, 2019- Lawyers Take Years
    https://assets.amuniversal.com/eb75afd05fbe01379ddf005056a9545d

    ReplyDelete
  24. A bit more humour...

    Dilbert:Saturday -June 22, 2019- Lawyer Can't Be Too Careful
    https://assets.amuniversal.com/ee34d3205fbe01379ddf005056a9545d

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hi, Lynne
    My husband passed away recently .His will said give the house to me and all his cars belongs to house go to my name . But I found he owned Federal tax 200000,creidt card 50000 = mortgage 300000. HOuse worth 500000. in this case .They have to sell the house , kick me out right away .I never work .I depend on him . Can i have option to stay in the house for a while ? if I pay rent. what is the best option ? If i can borrow money from my family i have right to buy the house ?so i can stay . i don;t know how much i should pay to buy the house . i have to pay tax that he owned and mortage or just pay his morttahe ? thank you so much ! I am so desperate

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's a lot going on here. I answered this question in a new blog post dated July 1, 2019.

      Lynne

      Delete
  26. Hi Lynne,
    Your probate kit was invaluable. Thank You! I’m ready to distribute my mother’s estate to beneficiaries, but I’m not sure which documents to send to my bankrupt sister’s trustee. Are they to receive the same docs as the other beneficiaries – i.e. Release, Stmt of Proposed Distribution, Financial Stmt, Executor’s Compensation Stmt? (The will stipulates my compensation at 2.5% of estate value.)
    Thank you!
    LG

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great, I'm glad the probate kit was a help. Yes, send the whole package to them because they will need to figure out exactly what your sister should be receiving from the estate.

      Lynne

      Delete
  27. Lynne...of interest to your readers?

    Cross-border couples need special tax planning
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/personal-finance/taxes/article-cross-border-couples-need-special-tax-planning/#comments

    ReplyDelete
  28. Hi. Thank you for your blog. I have read through it and I appreciate your general information.
    I have an unusual situation I was wondering you might have some general comments on.
    I am the executor of a non family member estate. I am a bequest beneficiary (small bequest) and also residue beneficiaries - of which there are 4 (3 individuals and 1 charity).
    The issue is that the deceased was a hoarder. This is giving rise to multiple issues. I am very open and transparent with the residue beneficiaries, but it is hard for anyone to understand what this entails until you get in there. They have seen photos. I can't even let them in without hazmat and masks.

    1. The paperwork is a mess, disorganized and chaotic, and locating it in the house is taking a long amount of time due to the hoarding. This is becoming more like a full time job for me.
    2. The house contents (standard contents, not overly valuable) are not sellable due to risk of contamination.
    3. The few personal contents (more sentimental, low value) are willed to me.
    4. The real value of the estate are the investments and house - all to be liquidated.

    Questions:
    1. should the residue beneficiaries sign releases to agree to the disposal of the house contents as they are not sellable, due to the risk of contamination?
    2. what are my reasonable obligations in finding all of the assets, in a hoarding situation.
    3. Do I get extra time on top of the executor year in a situation like this.
    4. The house will be going up for sale, but will need a professional abatement team and repairs. I realize this will come from the estate to pay for it. But can the beneficiaries dispute the need for the remediation, if they don't want the money spent. Selling the house "as-is" will substantially deplete it's value, and remediation is likely to raise it. As well as the risk of illness to new home owners or those wanting to even walk through to view the home, could be an issue (could the estate be sued?). The abatement will be costly, cleaning these types of homes is not inexpensive. The repairs will also cost. I don't want to create a brand new home, but fix the hoarding damage and increase its sale value.

    5.Do the residue beneficiaries sign releases all along the way in a situation like this, to agree to the steps that I have to take?

    If there wasn't this issue, the estate might be considered, on the easy side of things. But the hoarding is a real issue.

    thank you in advance.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's quite a handful for you to look after. People usually don't realize how hard it is to deal with a home that belonged to a hoarder.

      It is very unusual for beneficiaries to sign releases or permissions all the way through an estate. The vast majority are only asked to sign one, at the end.

      It's up to you as the executor to decide which steps are in the best interests of the estate as a whole and this includes decisions such as whether to renovate. If you start asking everyone to agree in advance to your every step, you are going to find progress is very slow. They might be okay with your actions if they are kept up to date on what's happening.

      Having said all that, you have to assess the situation for yourself. If the parties are contentious or you've already heard grumbling about expenses, maybe you'd be smart to get everyone on board for major decisions. They don't have to be releases though, because that suggests they have no recourse if you, for example, sell the house for a fraction of its value. Just an agreement in principle would be best.

      When you say "finding all the assets", I'm interpreting that as finding paperwork that mentions various assets, as opposed to finding actual items in the house. Are you required to look at every piece of paper in the house? No. The test is always what is reasonable. It appears that you are familiar with many of the investments, etc. Be sure to ask the bank or financial advisor to check for other accounts, safe deposit boxes, etc. You can also make the rounds to any banks in the deceased's neighbourhood to see if he or she had any accounts there. Make sure you redirect the mail to your own home for at least the next 6 months to ensure that you find out about accounts, loans, credit cards, taxes, etc.

      You are probably right that it will take more than a year to settle this estate. It is going to take some time to get the house cleaned up and ready for sale. I would definitely not take any chances on leaving any sort of health hazard in place. Yes, estates can be sued, as can executors themselves.

      If the estate takes more than a year, don't worry too much about it. Lots of estates take more than a year. Keep the beneficiaries in the loop about what is happening by way of regular reports or email blasts. Also consider making an interim distribution of some of the liquid assets, saving enough back to deal with the cost of fixing up the house, future taxes, etc.

      It doesn't sound as though you are working with an estate lawyer. You might find it beneficial to have someone on your side during this process because you have a lot of decisions to make.

      Lynne

      Delete
    2. Thank you for your kind response. It has been very difficult.

      I was wondering if you had general comments on one of your comments above, or could point me to a website for info : "I would definitely not take any chances on leaving any sort of health hazard in place." I don't plan on doing that, and I have remediation companies ready to come and deal with the house. I just want to make sure I am doing enough.

      I also noticed that you have a book, does it contain the beneficiary release forms that I would use for the estate and any other forms I might need (Ontario)? Do you have a direct link for book that is best for me to use? (as you have several books published)

      Thank you

      Delete
  29. wow, i just stumbled onto a comment you made on legalwills.ca and i wish i had someone so knowledgeable sooner. i am trying to read about procedure and still have to pursue case law etc because i can't afford a lawyer. Your comment on it not being necessarily too late was a relief as i just found out last year that my father died 14 years ago. His children from his first marriage scooped him up when my parents separated and i didn't have a clue how to find him. We were never informed and i found a website the church made while involved in a geneology project. I know a lawyer would probably be best but i read it would be hard to find someone to take it on contingency so i'm trying to be my own advocate. I have lived half my life and raised children in poverty and i think my helf siblings made millions from the real estate left behind. I feel like it was fraudulently and purposely done out of greed and spite and that alone makes me sad. I will be reading all i can of your advice and blog this week!

    ReplyDelete
  30. I hope this is a fairly short question that would be helpful to me.

    With the help of a social worker at the hospital where my father died at, the social worker and my sister lied and both said a new will had been created and my sister was executor.

    My cousin assisted her and went into my father's estate and took all legal properties from me, 25k in cash and changed the locks.

    I'm confused. My sister, cousin, and the social worker lied. There was no executor at all. The will did not go through probate either since my sister knew not to as she was pretending for 5 months she was executor.

    How can this action go on and not be punished?

    She is still advocating she should be executor but yet she and her social worker friend did not give me any chance after my father died to see the body, to know what happened to it, nothing.

    My sister lied about everything and so that's why I'm confused. I finally saw the will and no executor was named.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. How can this action go on and not be punished? [anonymous]

      There are many injustices out there and many fall by the wayside. Not fair, but life is not fair and so we carry on.

      We know very little about your situation. It appears that you need a 'good' lawyer to help you get to the bottom of your estate matter. There are many unanswered questions. Perhaps your concern is, the cost to do this, the amount of work? Perhaps your sibling is well aware of this and does not think you will do anything. Perhaps a well written letter by a lawyer to your sibling will get a response that could help resolve and settle your estate matter in a fair and legal way. How far are you prepared to go with this? As far as I know you can't go to the police with this as this is a civil matter. You have to handle it yourself. Perhaps others can pipe in with suggestions? Your sibling, and her lawyer (if she has or gets one) could drag this out for a long time. This is where money plays a big part.
      My cousin assisted her and went into my father's estate and took all legal properties from me, 25k in cash and changed the locks. [anonymous].
      It appears that there is a property. Unless the 'will' states that your sibling is the sole heir of the property then she cannot sell it. There must be some value there. You indicate $25K was taken from you.
      Your father has a 'will' yet he did not name an Executor. Considering what has happened as you describe it, I don't think the Court would allow your sibling to be the Executor. Perhaps the Court will allow you to be Executor. If not, then the Court will appoint one. I believe you need a lawyer to assist you in resolution and settlement. IMHO.

      Lynne, I would be curious as to how many 'wills' are written without an 'Executor' being named?

      Webeye

      Delete
    2. It's going on without being punished because you seem to be the only person who is affected by it, and so far you haven't stopped them. Nobody else is going to step in and do this; there is no estate department or executor police to handle this stuff. It's up to you.

      If there is no will, the law says that someone can be appointed administrator of the estate. That could be you or your sister but you have equal right. This means one can't do it without the other one signing off. Another option is for the Public Trustee of your province to be appointed. In your case, that might be a good idea since the Public Trustee could bring a fresh set of eyes to the situation and figure out what has happened.

      Start by talking to a lawyer who has experience in wills and estates law. I suggest you move quickly before everything is illegally sold or taken.

      I wish I could say that this sort of thing is rare, but it's not. Many people who behave the way your sister is acting do so because they believe - or hope- that nobody has the interest, time, and money to stop them.

      Lynne

      Delete
    3. Lynne,

      You indicated -Another option is for the Public Trustee of your province to be appointed.

      I am not aware of this and I will research whether a 'Public Trustee' would be available to me and my never ending Estate Matter...15 years or so.
      I currently have a lawyer. Can I request that my matter be handled by a Public Trustee since he is just sitting on it. There is lawyer misconduct-conflict of interest. Indisputable.

      Delete
    4. Webeye, when the Public Trustee is appointed, they act as the executor, not as a lawyer. They will hire a lawyer to take their instructions, just as any executor would do.

      Lynne

      Delete
    5. Lynne,
      Thank you. That is very helpful along with other info that I have.

      Webeye

      Delete
  31. Lynne,

    Pehaps some bloggers would find this of interest.

    This could be the all-time most ignored piece of personal-finance advice
    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/personal-finance/article-death-in-the-digital-age-how-to-tie-up-loose-ends-with-your-loyalty/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's an excellent article and thanks for pointing it out. I'm going to link to it for readers.

      Lynne

      Delete
  32. Lynne,
    Clever. Could also apply to Law?
    A clever way of explaining (showing) 2 sides to a story. In Law we know that most Lawyers are very good at creating doubt. Those who challenge that doubt, get to the core of the story, remove that doubt by telling (illustrate) the real story.

    Webeye

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Usually our goal is to remove doubt, not create it, unless of course your client is accused of a crime.

      Lynne

      Delete
  33. Hi Lynne i am looking at declaring bankruptcy but have shares from my mothers company willed to me that pays $1700 per month for the next 4 years as well as shares in some oil wells in Utah from my grandmothers will paid out monthly in US dollars. can i open a trust account for my 2 young children whom i am a single parent and sole gurdian and parent of and have the shares paid out to them in trust for both sets of shares? The $1700 monthly share is from here in canada.
    This is the only area on your page to ask a question so i hope its the tight spot to do so! And thank you in advance as well for your help and knowledge!

    ReplyDelete
  34. Both my parents passed away 3 years ago .
    My sister is the excutor ,she said she had poa while they were alive .
    We asked numerous times over the years for any kind of accounting and only received hateful emails or texts back .
    We received an informal spreadsheet of accounting and there was roughly over 300k missing .
    Asked for passing of accounts and received a little better accounting on where this money went ,she gave herself 100k to herself 10 days after the house sold so my parents could live in a nursing home ,on top of that she gave herself another 100k on the same day as a loan to her husband's company .
    After 2 months she gave herself 25k saying it was a thankyou for selling house privately.
    Also she proceeded to give herself a wage of 10k every 2 months ,plus using my dad's credit every month in at least 2k a month plus rstaraunt s almost everyday.
    Total was 360k in 8 months from time of selling house until both my parents passed away .
    There is no proof of any of this ,just a simple spread sheet ,we have a hearing april first .
    I have a break down on every single expense I am going to ask ,do judges see this as fraud on her part ,this is 4 years now on a small estate until she took most of the mo ey .

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Before the hearing, try to get bank statements and any other 3rd-party information that you can. If the banks say that you cannot have the statements, ask the judge to make an order that directs the bank to give you those statements.

      Yes, it's possible that the judge would see this as fraud. Perhaps more like theft, or at the very least a breach of her fiduciary duty. Regardless of what we call it, if you can prove she took this money, she is in major trouble.

      Something to remember is that when a person is charged with a crime (which so far she is not), you have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. But in civil court, you only have to prove it on a balance of probabilities. In other words, the judge has to believe that what you're saying is PROBABLY true based on all the facts and circumstances. Depending on what the judge says, your sister might end up with criminal charges as well.

      Lynne

      Delete
    2. Unknown has left a new comment on the post "How to ask a question":

      Both my parents passed away 3 years ago .
      My sister is the excutor ,she said she had poa while they were alive .
      We asked numerous times over the years for any kind of accounting and only received hateful emails or texts back .[....]

      To unknown- You refer to 'we'. Do you mean you and your lawyer, or are you doing this on your own?
      Webeye

      Delete
  35. I would like to add my brother name to my house title. Is it possible to do it without the service of a lawyer or legal consultant? If so, what applications or forms do I need to fill out/where can I get the form?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sure, you can do that without a lawyer. Feel free to remove your own appendix and do your own root canals while you're at it.

      I would suggest asking for forms at the land titles office or land registry.

      Lynne

      Delete
  36. Hi Lynne,
    I bought the probate kit and started completing the documents. Thank you for putting this together! I have a question regrading NC 8. The Will am I probating was written in BC. The Testator moved to Alberta 1.5 years hence why it is being probated here. There is no NC 8 attached to the will. The original Notary and her assistant are in BC. Do I need to courier the original will to them have it marked Exhibit A and have them sign (seems risky)? Do both witnesses need to sign the NC 8? As one witness was a notary and the other her assistant, I assume that it does not need to go to a Commissioner of Oaths.
    Plus if I am correct outside the Province a Commissioner wouldn't be recognized.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, you have to send the original, and yes it's risky. That's why you should use the most secure method you can.

      Only one witness needs to sign.

      It doesn't matter what the witness' job is. They still need to sign in front of a notary.

      You are right that it needs to be a notary and not a commissioner for oaths because it is out of province.

      Lynne

      Delete
  37. Lynne,
    Your Ontario viewers might find this of help.
    **How do I complain about a lawyer or paralegal?
    This question has an answer and 5 steps
    1 2 3 4 5
    Reviewed: October 10, 2018
    ANSWER
    The Law Society of Ontario (LSO) regulates lawyers and paralegals in Ontario. This includes making sure that they:

    are licensed and insured to practice law
    are qualified to help you with your legal issues
    follow the rules of conduct set by Law Society of Ontario about how to behave professional
    take part in continuing education to learn about the law and how to behave professionally
    One way that the LSO does this is by responding to complaints about lawyers and paralegals.

    Before making a complaint to the LSO, try to talk to your lawyer or paralegal and try to resolve things before making a complaint. Most lawyers and paralegals want to solve problems before they become complaints.

    If the lawyer or paralegal works in a firm or company, talk to a more senior person. For example, you could talk to a partner at the firm about a lawyer you’re having a problem with. Or, you could talk to the lawyer responsible for supervising the paralegal you’re having a problem with.

    The LSO is not able to help with every type of complaint. They usually deal with complaints about a lawyer or paralegal who didn't do their job properly or behaved unprofessionally. They don't deal with issues about the amount of a lawyer or paralegal's bill.

    Your complaint must show that your lawyer or paralegal did things that are against their professional responsibilities. If your complaint doesn't show this, the LSO will not investigate.

    Complaints must be filed within 3 years of when the problem happened or you became aware of the problem.

    Some complaints are closed within 1 month and others are resolved within 1 to 3 months. If your complaint is complicated, or if it raises serious professional conduct issues, it may take up to 1 year or longer to complete an investigation. If there is a discipline hearing, it could take even longer. But most complaints do not end with a discipline hearing.

    If there is a discipline hearing, it is between the LSO and the lawyer or paralegal. You are not a party

    If the LSO cannot help with your complaint, they will tell you why and try to give you information about other sources of help.
    https://stepstojustice.ca/questions/tribunals-and-courts/how-do-i-complain-about-lawyer-or-paralegal

    Webeye

    ReplyDelete
  38. A LAWYER'S DUTY TO THE COURT
    https://www.advocates.ca/Upload/Files/PDF/Advocacy/InstituteforCivilityandProfessionalism/Duty_to_Court.pdf

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The lawyers in every province and territory in Canada are subject a code of conduct. The code sets out our duties to our clients, to other lawyers, to the courts, and to society in general. I believe that each province makes its code available to the public on its Law Society website.

      Lynne

      Delete
  39. Hi Lynne,
    What is your opinion on Canadian Legal Wills online? No disrespect but why would I want to pay $1000 when I can pay 1/5th of that with this option? Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No offense taken. It's a reasonable question. My answer is simple. If you think you can do my job as well as I can after I spent 8 years getting my education and 35 years practicing law, you go right ahead. Assume that there is nothing I could advise you about, that you know everything I know about tax, inheritance law, estate litigation, and legal language.

      I assume you would also remove your own appendix, and yank out your own wisdom teeth.

      If you don't understand the value - as opposed to the price - there is nothing I can say that will make you see it. Best of luck.

      Lynne

      Delete
  40. Hi
    I have a problem with a beneficiary, but in reverse.

    I am the Executor of an Estate, 2 beneficiaries are: me and a sibling.

    As Executor I have provided accurate and up to date records that a 15 year old could follow. The other beneficiary's lawyer delayed for 5 months providing an account update (needed for clearance letter) and now wants to pass the accounts, despite my providing accurate records and him not having asked any questions.

    So as it seems it's going to court (and will take a while now considering the court closures in Ontario) I want to make a distribution to myself only.
    I also have not received any compensation as Executor.

    I told his lawyer stop delaying as it takes weeks at a time to get a response, and I copy the other beneficiary on my emails to his lawyer.

    So, can I make an interim payout to me as Beneficiary and another as Executor?

    I don't see why I cannot. The other Beneficiary's lawyer advised I shouldn't but I don't take direction from the adversary.

    (I have accounted for taxes and know there will be enough left over)>

    Thank you!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Nope, you don't want to take advice from someone who represents a party in direct conflict with you.

      I would suggest that you do not take any payment as executor unless it is specifically stated in the will how much you can take and that you can "pre-take". I would be very surprised if the will included anything about pre-taking.

      As for making a distribution to beneficiaries, that is something you have the discretion to do whenever you feel it is appropriate. You don't need anyone's permission to do so. I think your idea of paying both beneficiaries the same amount. Before paying anyone, though, read the rest of this post.

      I know you said you held back enough for taxes, but there is something else to keep in mind. The legal fees (if there are any) for the passing of accounts should come out of the estate before the beneficiaries are paid. So should reimbursement of your expenses. Be careful that you do not disburse too much because you don't know where this is going yet. You might regret paying beneficiaries if this turns into a fight.

      One final comment is that if the judge agrees with you that your accounting was good from the start and there is no reason for the beneficiary to object to it, you are entitled to ask for costs against the beneficiary. However, since you don't appear to be using a lawyer to help you, there aren't really any costs to hit him with. This is one of the reasons they don't care about delays.

      Lynne

      Delete
    2. Thank you for the specific information and tips. Appreciated. It helps.

      Can you provide an email address where I can etransfer a partial fee for for your efforts. I believe it's right to pay where possible.

      Thanks

      Delete
    3. That's nice of you. You can email chelsea@butlerwillsandestates.com. She'll help you.

      Lynne

      Delete
  41. This is a blog, therefore, I will throw in my 2 cents.

    Your Estate matter reminds me of my Estate matter before I got involved with lawyer(s) (also in Ontario). Mine is still unresolved after 15 years but the wheels are in motion
    We don't know all of the details of your Estate matter but it appears that it is a simple one, as is mine. The other side knows you don't have a lawyer and they will do everything to get you to cave in to whatever they want (whatever that may be). It appears that you don't have a lawyer a this time. You may not have any choice but to get one. Lawyers have skills that you do not. What is simple often becomes complex. You need to find an honest lawyer, one with integrity and one who works for you and not for the other side. Without knowing more it is difficult to comment. Can you give us more information without compromising your situation? As far as a distribution. You might want to hold off as it might just might complicate matters. One question. Should the other side provide Pass Accounts? A Passing of Accounts goes through the Court. IMO.

    Webeye

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The other side has petitioned for the passing of accounts, despite having very clear records.

      As Lynne pointed out (for a point I didn't know), not having a lawyer can drag on the process. I don't see the reason why they would do this other than the other beneficiary is being told by his lawyer to go to court for everything. We shall see.

      Delete
    2. Some people are like that - delaying things for no good reason. And yes there are lawyers like that. IMO, the ones who use delay as their main way of dealing with files are the ones who don't actually know what they are doing. If a person has a decent case, why is the best way to prove it just delaying it? Why not get on with it and win? I had one of those delay-at-all-costs lawyers on the other side of a file for much of last year and it nearly drove us all crazy. Finally his client got sick of nothing happening and fired him, much to my joy. We've now settled the case to everyone's satisfaction.

      Lynne

      Delete
  42. With reference to My Estate Matter I did make an equal distribution, very early. It did not help, and in hindsight I wish I had not done so. It just gave the other side more funds to play the game and reduced the available funds in the Estate Bank Account used to pay the lawyers. A Royal Mess. Some heads should roll. TBC

    Webeye

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi,
    If spouses are beneficiaries to each other's life insurance policies but you both pass away at the same time do the insurance policies automatically default to the estate or does one name alternate beneficiaries?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi QV,
      The law doesn't let people die at the same time. If two spouses die in such a way that nobody can tell who died first (like a car crash) then the law says that the younger person survived the older person. So let's say the husband is older than the wife and they have life insurance policies that name each other as beneficiaries. They die, nobody knows who first, but the law says the husband died first because he's older. So his policy is paid to his wife. Then she dies so her policy falls into her estate. Her estate includes his policy proceeds. End result, both policies are in the wife's estate and are distributed according to her will.

      I have seen some cases in which an insurer allowed a policy owner to name an alternate beneficiary. It seems to me though that the opportunity to do so isn't always available.

      Lynne

      Delete
  44. RE-Anonymous-April 8, 2020 at 10:13 AM
    From anonymous "the other beneficiary is being told by his lawyer to go to court for everything." How is that remotely possible, if you have conducted yourself accordingly? What does 'everything' mean? There is a 'will' and you have been given the power to do what the testator has written in the 'will'. The situation here as I see it, is that you know the in and outs about this matter and we don't. Perhaps, the other side wonders why you are not retaining a lawyer and they hope you will cave in to their demands.

    From L Butler " And yes there are lawyers like that. IMO, the ones who use delay as their main way of dealing with files are the ones who don't actually know what they are doing."

    My matter-Not so sure about the above (L Butler) as the lawyers I have encountered are very skilled at what they do. The lawyer for the opposition knows exactly what he is doing. He keeps punching but I keep punching back as best I can with one arm behind my back. 15 years and still unresolved. How is that possible? This is only possible due to lawyer interference. Lawyers who protect other lawyers, their turf. Current status-The wheels are in notion at a higher level. TBC.

    Webeye

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're always free to disagree with me, webeye, but in my experience, a lawyer who continually deploys delay and nothing else does so because there is nothing else in the arsenal. It is to nobody's advantage but the lawyer to drag on a case for years, and even then it is of limited value to the lawyer.

      Lynne

      Delete
  45. Lynne, I could not agree with you more re-
    "but in my experience, a lawyer who continually deploys delay and nothing else does so because there is nothing else in the arsenal. It is to nobody's advantage but the lawyer to drag on a case for years, and even then it is of limited value to the lawyer." [LB]

    Webeye

    ReplyDelete
  46. Hi Lynn.

    Your articles are helpful and sometimes very entertaining!

    Question about RRIFs. My mom died last year and had a couple of RRIF accounts. My sister and I are each 50% beneficiaries. I am the executor and my sister is challenging the will both for undue influence and capacity. The estate is small (less than 20K) and probate isn't necessary. She will not sign the release indemnity from the trust companies that hold the rrifs and as such, the trust companies won't release any of the funds to either of us.

    Are they entitled to do that? Seems strange that if one beneficiary doesn't cooperate, they keep everything?

    ReplyDelete
  47. Re-Anonymous-March 27, 2020 at 11:31 AM.
    My 2 cents. All this for an Estate valued at $20K or so?
    Your sister is challenging the will both for undue influence and capacity. Can she prove that? When was the 'will' written and when did she die? Perhaps your sister has done more for your mother than you. It is not unusual for another sibling(s) to do more. But, what will this cost? Perhaps your sister can financially keep this matter going, and also because she feels so strongly about it.
    I look forward to Lynne's response re the role of the Trust Company-ie.release indemnity from the trust company.

    Webeye

    ReplyDelete
  48. Hi Webeye

    The sister is estranged and has had little contact with her mom. I only offered that as context for the non cooperative beneficiary question. The standard answers I keep getting from the bank and the trust company are "to protect ourselves from legal action we will not release the funds until all beneficiaries sign their indemnity agreements"

    That's the question I would like Lynne's opinion on too.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I am listed as co-executor/estate trustee with my sister on my mother’s Will who died in Nov 2019. There are four children listed as residuary beneficiaries. As my sister was PA of Property and co-signor on my mother’s bank account while alive, we verbally agreed in 2016 that, upon my mother’s death, she would continue doing the financials and I would do the funeral. My sister disbursed most of the money by August 2019 before her death including the gifts to the grandchildren outlined in the Will. I strongly disagreed with this by email as she essentially rewrote the terms and wishes of my mother. Since then, we have been estranged.
    I am concerned about my responsibilities now with respect to the wrap-up of my mother’s terminal tax return and any other documentation for the government.
    1. Do both of us have to sign off or is one signature accepted?
    2. If we both have to sign off, I will not sign anything unless I am given proper documentation. What if this is not provided by my sister?
    There may be insufficient funds to satisfy outstanding costs, prior to receiving the clearance certificate. I believe it is the executor(s) who have to pay for this oversight or ask for money back from the four beneficiaries. I know the other two beneficiaries will not be interested in paying this bill.
    3. Am I still responsible, even though I did not agree with my sister giving out most of the money while my mother was still alive?
    Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a pretty complex topic to be covered in a blog post, but I can at least give you a few things to consider.

      The first thing that jumps out at me is that you are not really acting as an executor. You mention that you will not sign off unless you are given proper documentation. That documentation is supposed to come from the executors, so in other words, from you as well as her. You would probably have been better off had you renounced at the beginning and not acted as executor at all. That's water under the bridge so let's figure out where to go from here.

      Your job as executor is to insist that the POA account to you for the funds she spent while your mother was alive. If you cannot get a satisfactory answer, your recourse is to use the court to compel her to do so. This pretty much pits you two against each other, unfortunately.

      Co-executors will both have to sign tax returns.

      Your legal position is a bit precarious. As a general rule, a co-executor is not responsible for actions, such as say a payment of funds, that he or she didn't actually handle. But that only goes so far. If you are aware of executor's actions that are not proper but you do not put a stop to them, the court may consider you to be complicit with them.

      The situation is complicated by the fact that your sister paid out those gifts to the grandchildren. There is no way on earth that was an allowable thing to do. That does not fall back on you as an executor because it was done when your mother was alive. BUT... now that you are an executor and your mother has passed, you have to look at the extent of your obligation to make the POA responsible for reimbursing the estate. This is not on the beneficiaries.

      This is a really good example of how one person being both POA and executor is not always a good idea.

      Lynne

      Delete
  50. My 2 cents:

    Parents always want to believe that their children will get along and do the right thing when it comes to their affairs ie 'wills'. It appears that this is often not the case. See below for many responses re co-executors.
    https://tinyurl.com/ybyfqqwe

    Webeye

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Parents are often - but not always - ridiculously blind to their children's shortcomings, including their ability to get along with each other. Most of the estate litigation I do is sibling executor vs sibling executor.

      Lynne

      Delete
  51. Most of the estate litigation I do is sibling executor vs sibling executor. [.....LB]
    Lynne,
    What percentage would be sibling executor vs sibling beneficiary? I thought that this would have ranked a higher percentage.

    Webeye

    ReplyDelete
  52. My mother passed away last month. I am the executor of the estate. We are in Ontario. She had listed my sister and I only as beneficiaries on her life insurance, RRIF and TFSA accounts. Her will states that the residual of her estate is to be split 3 ways - my sister, myself and the children of our late brother. Does the will only mean the amounts left after the specific beneficiary designations - ie - her bank accounts and non-registered investments? Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct. The residue of the estate does NOT include any assets that were designated to a specific beneficiary.

      Lynne

      Delete
  53. Online wills cut costs and deliver convenience, but they aren’t for everyone

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/personal-finance/household-finances/article-online-wills-cut-costs-and-deliver-convenience-but-arent-for/

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Unfortunately, it's difficult to persuade some people of the value of a proper will, when all they see is the price of a will.

      Lynne

      Delete
  54. Hi Lynne,

    Carrying forward a joint 2018 tax return into 2019 where one spouse died in 2019, the returns must be split so that the final tax return of the deceased spouse can be filed separately. Certain deductions such as the spouse amount cannot be claimed by a deceased person. Is it possible for the surviving spouse to still use this deduction even if the deceased spouses' net income is higher than the basic spousal amount of $12,089? Or is the deduction lost to both parties?
    Thank You.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's a question for an accountant, not a lawyer.

      Lynne

      Delete
  55. Of interest?
    Why an estate freeze makes sense now

    https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investing/personal-finance/taxes/article-why-an-estate-freeze-makes-sense-now/

    ReplyDelete
  56. Hi there:

    After receiving a cancer diagnosis last year I am putting together my will, just in case. I'm planning to leave everything to my husband, but should he predecease me, I would like to leave my estate to a specific charity. However, my husband has two adult (mid-20's) and non-dependent children from a first marriage and I want to know if I have to leave them my estate or a portion thereof. They made my life a living hell when I met their father (a year after his divorce - I did not break up the marriage) and I feel disinclined to leave them anything if I am not required to. We all live in BC. Thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cranky,
      You have no obligation to them of any kind.

      Lynne

      Delete
  57. Hello,
    I am the executor of my uncle's will. I am also the only named beneficiary. In going through his papers I have found a significant outstanding debt (about 610,000) owed TO his estate that I have no interest in trying to collect, since I do not think the person who owes it has any ability to pay it back and I don't want to fight about it. Do I have any obligation to pursue it, or "count" it as part of the estate for probate fees/estate tax?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's always up to the executor to assess whether anything owed to the estate is collectible and a good use of estate resources to go after. The risk in not collecting something is that the beneficiaries will hold the executor responsible for the money they miss out on. In your case, however, you are the only beneficiary so presumably there is no risk in you as beneficiary suing you as executor for the loss of the $610,000. You are entitled to determine that the debt is not collectible and therefore should not be included in any calculation of the estate.

      Lynne

      Delete

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