Your feedback to me about my blog, my books, my columns and my seminars is so important to me. Even though I don't always have enough hours in the day to respond to each and every one of you, please know that I appreciate the time you take to write. 

Below is a selection of the comments I've received from you on this blog and by way of email. When I'm having a tough day, these comments remind me of why I do what I do. Feel free to add to them if you want to. Thanks so very much for the feedback.

Your assistance is invaluable with the information you provide. Big HUGE thanks, - T.B.

Thank you for your incredibly helpful site!! Honestly, you've answered so many questions I didn't even know I had! - M.

Your blog is quite interesting, and I wish I'd gotten a chance to know of it before I hired the lawyers that I am dealing with. - a reader

Thank you for your reply. I've been checking periodically for your response and can't thank you enough. - a reader

This site has provided me with an amazing amount of information; that you for that! - a reader

We received the probate! We couldn't have done it without your book and blog!!!! -S.

I found your wonderful site today.  One of your posts leads me to another and another…I can hardly stop reading…but I have to sleep too! - M.L.

You've done a fantastic job of breaking difficult information down into digestible yet substantial chunks that are very easy to absorb and work with. Your tone makes serious and often scary issues seem non-threatening and possible to work through if one just applies logic. In 10 minutes, I went from completely lost and very apprehensive to feeling like I've got a proper handle on the base starting point. I understand what paperwork to assemble for the first round (thanks for the reminder about creating an inventory!), and feel that I'm well equipped to ask intelligent and complete questions next Friday. It's a big relief, and a blessing. Thanks so much for your hard work - it's having an impact, and making a positive difference for people who are having a very rough time. Thanks again! - A.S.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to respond to my email. You cleared up all of my questions and concerns regarding my fathers will... Just wanted to thank you for all the work and information you provide…I will keep reading your blog…….thank you - T.S.

Thank You for this site! I have found the answers to many things here, regarding the settlement of my Mother's Estate this past February. - a reader

Your site is amazing! So much invaluable information.- N.

I am loving your site! I've obtained in minutes, more information from the questions and answers here than all the hours of searching/researching I've done across this vast net/web "info highway". - L.

Thanks for the wealth of information in your books. Such a big help in so many ways. Appreciate your style of writing as it is very simple and very easy to understand. - a reader

Lets start off with me saying thank you, your Blog is awesome. Yes, some people still say "awesome". - A.B.

This information is very helpful. Thank you. By the way, every beneficiary should read the book you wrote. It contains so much information and is very easy to understand. I think beneficiaries need to be aware and informed of the process. It contains a lot of information that would never have crossed my mind. You're helping a lot of people...Thanks. - a reader

I am both executor and one of four beneficiaries of my mother's estate, and I have just read The Beneficiary's Answer Book. What a great resource! -  a reader

Thanks a million, Lynne, for your response. It's a relief. - D.

Hi Lynne, Just wanted to say a Huge Thank-you for your Alberta Probate Kit..I was trying to take care of my Mom's matter's without a lawyer and the paperwork was overwhelming. Then I found your book and had it done within a week. I received probate w/no mistakes and I am currently wrapping this up...Thanks again - a reader thankful for your blog, I have learned a lot, and I sure needed it - J.

Your advice has brought positive results and once the estate lawyer advised that the executor was prepared to have a judge pass the settlement account, the problematic beneficiary signed the release as she had no claims of merit. Thank you. - F.

Hi – sure enjoy your blog – its so informative and Canadian! - L.G.

Many, many thanks for your prompt and helpful reply.- B.H. via email

Hi Lynne. Great blog. Thanks for doing this! - G.B. via Google+

This is a wonderfully informative blog and you are doing a tremendous public service, thank you Lynne. - J.C.

I found you doing a general Google search.... have now book marked your blog! Great information. - T.F.

I would like to thank you for creating the Alberta Probate Kit. Your book has been invaluable in sorting out probate for my dad's estate. (Actually, I suppose 'invaluable' is the wrong word - your book is worth the thousands of dollars in probate fees we would have otherwise paid to a lawyer.) - a reader

Thank you that you found time for answering my questions..You helped me much. I am surprised that there are some people in this world that can provide help for no special reason. - a reader from Ukraine

Love your articles and they sure have been a great help in the estate case that I am involved in. One of them helped get a ruling. Thank you for the terrific information.  - a reader

Hi Lynne and thanks for your great blog....You are helping many people by providing these articles and opinions for all to see. - a reader

Thank you very much for answering my question, you explain very well. - a reader

Love following you and you are so respected and loved! - L.M.

Again you have made things so very clear for me. Wonderful! Thanks again. - G. via email

Thank you so so much for taking the time to follow up with me. You’ve provided me with information that I can now get my mind wrapped around. Just knowing you’re out there makes me feel better. I so appreciate your kindness and anyone who is lucky enough to have you as a lawyer must have great karma.- C.R. via email

Thank you!! I have been reading and clicking every link!! Well done, Lynne Butler! You are a good egg. - a reader, via google+

Thanks again Lynne. What a wonderful service you provide!! - a reader

This was MY question and it was by accident that I found a response on your blog.  I wasn't sure you received it and didn't know how to work the website.  This is a THANK YOU...AND HUGE THANK YOU...for your generous spirit, your sharing of information, your time invested in your site.....all to help people.  Honestly, I am teary-eyed because I have been stressing for 25 years over the question of , ''What happens to me later on?"   Thanks to your generous sharing -- I have a starting point on what to ask etc.  From you I learned of Henson funds etc. and for the first time in a very long while....I can catch my breath. I'm only 48 --- this has been weighing on me forever.  I've been taking care of my Dad for 18 years.  I feel somewhat safer today.  THANK YOU AGAIN and please know your time and effort IS my xmas present!! - a reader

Thanks for your quick response. Boy, you know your stuff! - a reader

Thanks! Your blog has answered a lot of my questions. It is a great resource.- Chris

This is one of the best web sites I have seen to answer some of the toughest questions Canadians have. Thanks. - a reader

Thank you so much. In a world where information on the laws so difficult to access that most people stumble along on their own, to have such an informed response so quickly is greatly appreciated. - J.M.

Thanks Lynne! What a quick response! You are amazing! - G.S.

Thank you very much Lynn you answered my question completely, great information! - M.M.

I’ve heard you speak on CBC Radio and have since been reading your blog. I feel like I’ve learned a lot about my own estate situation and have begun having discussions at home about ensuring my common law spouse and I are taking care of our matters the way we would like. Thanks for that! - C.W.

You can read a brief section [of Estate Planning Through Family Meetings] each day if you like. I however couldn't put it down: it is thoroughly enjoyable, readable, and immensely valuable. Thank you Lynne for sharing so much and so effectively! - Brian Weatherton, 5-star review on 

You don't even know it but your blog has helped me so many times since my parents declined and I so appreciate the guidance. - a reader

Appreciate your helpful blog posts, Lynne - excellent work. Thanks! - @Silverie7 via twitter

You have been great to work with and always a smashing success at our conferences. - R.S., Athabasca County

What a lot to read,. BUT it's all good. Well done. - a reader

I truly appreciate your blog. The information provided is superb and has helped to answer a lot of questions that I have had as a beneficiary. - C.P.

I have been reading your blog for some time and I must say it has been most informative, most helpful and very clearly a most needed source of "ESTATE" information. - E.D.P.

What a relief it is to have been given a link to your blog. Thank you for being so helpful! - C.E.

Thanks Lynne, You are really on top of your blog and it is greatly appreciated. - a reader

I've found your blog to be incredibly helpful and easy to read and understand. - M.H.

Thank you very much for your presentation on Wills and POA. Your expertise, integrity and experience were all so clearly evident. It was a great presentation and well received by all. - Seniors Resource Centre NL

Thank you so much for this post! This is EXACTLY the information I needed. - P.P.

I have been reading your blogs for quite awhile they are so easy to read and understand I wish there was someone like you where I live in Ontario. - P.C.

Thanks very much for the book on Succession Planning [for Canadian Business]. An excellent book, and congratulations on making it so user friendly and comprehensive. - G.C.

Really enjoy your articles and our members appreciate your insight often 'neglected' areas for families - Estate Planning.@InvestingForMe via Twitter

Thanks for your excellent blog. It is a real service to the legal ignoramuses out here, like me. - J.S.

What an information-packed blog! Sheesh! - a reader

Whoa~! That was an amazing post about wills Calgary~! Blogs like that will surely help a lot of people...Keep it up! R.W.

Thanks [for the reply to a question], that is perfect, clear, easy to understand, all features I love about your site and the information you convey! - P.G. via email

I was so happy when I found your website today - thank you so much - it's fantastic! - C.C. via email

Cheers, I enjoy reading your work since I became an executor (I enjoy your writing, I don't enjoy being an executor). - D.L.

I have been absolutely devouring your blog posts since discovering them about an hour ago. Thanks so much for what you have written. -M.L. via email.

I recently purchased the Alberta Probate Kit to help me as executrix of my aunt's estate. In general, I find the book to be extremely helpful. I wouldn't even have been able to consider handling this myself without it. - C.K.

Thanks for a wonderful book [Alberta Probate and Administration Kit] and for your recent reply to my question - P.M.

Great resource by the way [Alberta Probate Kit], thank you for providing it. It is sure making things a lot easier for me. - P.S.

I have been a great admirer of your blogs and writings ever since I discovered them last year. I just bought your book on estate planning through family meetings. It is wonderful, after nearly 30 years of trying to educate clients in this area, to read such lucid comments. They should be required reading for everybody. - C.M.

Superb post [Can a lawyer act for an executor and the beneficiaries?]. So informative and rational. - Wheaton Probate Lawyers

I'm buying a copy of your book [Estate Planning Kit for Canadian Business] because my Small Business Manager read it and said it was the best business book she has ever read. - Scotiabank Branch Manager

Lynne, you're a gem. Thank you. -R.C.

Hi Lynne, I just wanted to say "Thank You so much for answering me so quickly!" You have addressed most of what I needed to know, and I, along with my sister are so grateful to you! We just LOVE your Blog! What a wealth of information, and how kind of you to answer our questions! I am sure that I can speak for everyone on your Blog, "you are one in a million, Lynne!" Thank you! - a reader

This book [Estate Planning Through Family Meetings] offers suggestions for discussing their inheritance with your children or other heirs. Doing this, with honest discussions with your children while you are still living, can prevent disputes among the children after your death. It also allows you to make your intentions clear to all involved. It further allows the children to prepare their own wills with appropriate consideration of any potential inheritance. It just makes good sense, and the book is a welcome discussion of how to do this. - Ronald L. Gillum, M.D., 5-star review on

I have read the book [Estate Planning Through Family Meetings] from cover to cover and as a financial planner, think this book is excellent for anyone. - Raymond W. Johns, 5-star review on

I thank you [for your answer to my question] and have learned a lot more than I thought I knew prior to dealing with a passing parent. I truly thank you for your input, and you deserve even more praise as you are answering this on your own time, and without a fee. Again, much obliged. - B.M.

You have been very helpful and I do appreciate it. - L.M.

I really appreciate your fast, comprehensive and professional response. Thank you very much. - G.V.

Of the several folks I tried to connect with, you were the only one that responded . Seems the folks out there on that rock are friendlier sort. Words cannot express how I felt when I got an email from you. Blessings, - a reader

Thank you so much for your wise words. You are so great and understanding. I wish that I could hire you to be my lawyer. - a reader

Your Estate Law Canada blog is just full of valuable information. Thank you so much for all your effort. - G.P.

I've read some of your articles on estates. Been involved in a horrible one which thank god is coming to its conclusion and I respect the clarity of your answers. - R.B.

I came across your blog yesterday and found it extremely helpful. You are to be commended for answering people's difficult questions. Actually, I'll go further and say that you are a comfort to many when they don't know which way to turn next. - G.L. 

I just subscribed to your blog, it looks VERY informative and interesting, I can’t wait to go through it! - S.R.

This blog post has been SO informative, Lynne. You should be commended for giving people such great advice on your valuable time. - a reader

You seem very knowledgeable and answer questions in a manner which the normal layman can actually understand. - D.G.

I've appreciated your explanations as they are devoid of legalese. - J.K.

I find your blog very informative and probably one of the best resources for estate law on the web. - E.S. via email

Fantastic web site. I have really learned a lot. - a reader

I am so glad to have found your blog ... thank you so much for writing it. - D.C.

Thank you so much for your article. Without this info I would still be sitting here not knowing what to do. - S.D. via email

Had I known about you before, I would have hired you as my lawyer. - a reader

Thank you so much for taking the time to reply to my email. We filed our application for probate earlier this week. Just wanted to say that your book [Alberta Probate Kit] and assistance were a huge help in dealing with some of the least fun stuff life drops in our laps. - S.J.B.

I just wanted to thank you for answering my question on your site. I read through all of the questions, and your replies, because I am quite possibly nearing a passing in my family, so I decided to try to tap into your expertise. I feared I was late to the table when my question went unanswered. It made me feel really good when I came back tonight and saw you had responded. Thank you again, Lynn. - G.P.

I thank God for your very clear advice Lynne, Bless you. - P.P.

You are totally wonderful for getting back to me and thanks for the info. - J.D via email

It's not the most stimulating topic but she makes it interesting.  
She's a wealth of knowledge. -#@KatyPlesuk via Twitter

I am so very pleased to receive your reply [to a question]. I am very impressed by you and by your speedy reply. Forever grateful, - J.M. via email

You made me feel a little less blind to a legal system for the people, by the people but too complex and inter-connected for an average person to fathom. Best wishes to you and I hope you take great comfort from the sometimes un mentioned appreciation. You are a soldier for the people. - B.M via Facebook

Thank you so much [for the answer to a question]. You are a godsend. - R.P.

Wow, I am so excited that I found your Blog. I could spend all night reading it. - J.M. via email

Thank you for listening and providing outstanding feedback on my estate and trust inquiry. Your book of knowledge is amazing and you are there to share it. You rock. - M.M.

Thank you so much for your informative blogs! You're really helping a lot of people. - C.M.

I am soo lucky to have found your blog! It's amazing! - a reader

I am grateful for your help and your blog is absolutely fantastic. - M.M.

I am a lawyer called to the Bar in Ontario, and I would like to congratulate you on the Estate Law Canada blog. - S.D.

WOW Lynne! Thanks so much for your very insightful skill build with us this morning. You show great passion for what you do and anyone would be so lucky to have you as a partner to help them achieve business results and do what is right for the client!!! - Scotiabank branch manager

Thank you so much [for the answer to a question]. You are the best ever!!!...I have more hope when I meet people like you who care. I feel like maybe I can make it through this bureaucracy. - S.S. via email


  1. Thanks for your excellent site which I have followed for a year as an executor. Comment; no reply necessary: I wish I had known earlier about needing social insurance numbers and the USA equivalent for the clearance certificate.
    If it is flagged on your site or others I missed it.
    In addition I think there should be a best practise for collecting and storing these numbers. I imagine say 10 numbers stored for years in an unsecured file. As an executor I will be destroying their record as soon as possible. Thanks again. Jim P

    1. Thanks for that reminder, Jim. I'm really glad you've found some help among these posts. That was my original intention - to provide a resource.


  2. We purchased a single bedroom condo for our developmentally disabled son 10Years ago. The purchase price was $110,000 and is now valued at about $230,000. The title is in his mother's name.
    During this period my son paid rent equivalent to the condo fees and municipal taxes.

    We would now like to sell this property and purchase a two bedroom unit for him, so we would be able to stay with him occasionally.

    Is there a way that we can do this, without paying capital gains on the sale of this upgrade to my son's living accommodation?


  3. Mother died Aug 2012 and no probation sis's give no info and is our business with the lawyer. Please do not interfere....2014 and I am ready to call the lawyer in Ontario or the courts. Lynne, you gave me advice and I passed it on..there was an issue of 20 names on a share and they are trying to get the names removed..some have died. No communication at all...what to do? Lynn

  4. Lynne, you gave some fab advice..2sis'sexecutors of my mom will died Aug 2012 and still not probated..would have not known this if we were not blunt. 5family shares-and a sixth to her20 friends. They do not want to share anything with us"..did mention the lawyer is taking some of the names of the sixth share and leave only the we are 2014...ready to star making some calls...secrets...despise. Lynn

    1. Thanks for the feedback. Good to know that at least things are progressing. Hang in there.


  5. Your blog is quite interesting, and I wish I'd gotten a chance to know of it before I hired the lawyers that I am dealing with. I have a question re: estate distribution and Revenue Canada (a.k.a revenge Canada). What is the proper means through which to ask it?

    1. You can ask your question on any thread on this blog, or you can email me at


  6. Hello Lynn,
    Loved finding your book Alberta Probate Kit. Parts of it were extremely helpful, other parts were outdated!
    Any chance you'll be releasing an updated version?

    1. Yes! I'm pleased to let you know that the publisher and I have been talking about updates recently. I've been working my way through the book and the CD, as they are very detailed. You won't have to buy a new book though; you will be able to download the updates. I'll let everyone know on this blog when the updates are done.


  7. Dear Lynne Butler; I am not familiar with blogs and hope you will see this. My biological father passed away and there are no other relatives or people that have been found to claim his estate. I was put up for adoption and I am the only child of his that is known Even though I was put up for adoption would I qualify for the estate in Alberta? Thank you so much for any info you may be able to give me. Will I need to hire a lawyer and would you be available?

    1. Hi Donna Marie.

      I'm pleased that even though you are not familiar with blogs, you decided to read mine. Welcome!

      I assume that when you were put up for adoption that you were actually adopted. This may sound like splitting hairs, but it's really important legally.

      If you were adopted by someone, then you have no claim at all on your biological father's estate, unless of course he made a will that names you. It sounds, however, as if he passed away without a will based on the fact that you said other relatives were found.

      Once you are adopted by someone, you are legally their child for all purposes, and no longer the child of your biological parents.

      If you want to discuss this with a lawyer, that never hurts. General information is fine, but it's never as valuable as one-on-one discussion. No, I'm not available, partly because I no longer live in Alberta, and partly because I work in-house now as a will planner for a trust company.


  8. Hi Lynne,
    My husbands grandfather passed away recently. In his will grandpa named my husbands father, my husband & my brother in law as trustees. My husbands father is adamant that he (the father) is the only one that can sign anything to do with grandpa's estate. It is my understanding that all 3 trustees have to sign any legal documents. Is this correct?
    Thank you

    1. You are correct. All three must sign legal documents.


  9. Hello Ms Butler
    I need advice on challenging a will in Ontario. Here are some details:
    - my mother-in-law passed away in June 2013 with a will; my husband is the executor and I’m the alternate executor
    - the will gives her daughter and her daughter’s son a very small share of the estate; the deceased did not get along with her daughter
    - the will gives the rest of the estate to my husband "for him to use as he sees fit"
    - my husband of 28 years decided to separate in September 2013; he will not give me a share of the inheritance; I helped my mother-in-law many times, including for 2 years while my husband and his sister were each living in different provinces
    - shortly after my mother-in-law’s death, I convinced my husband to give each of our daughters a small share of the inheritance since they are grandchildren of the deceased and should receive a share as the grandson did; in December 2013 my husband gave each of our daughters a small share stating that "it was gifted by Grandma"; also, he decided to give his sister a much larger share than the will stipulates
    I've delayed challenging the will due to a major depression for which I'm being treated since November 2013. The will has already passed probate so time is running short.
    I read many of your articles on contesting a will (undue influence, lack of mental capacity, problems with the will document itself). The will is poorly written: for example, had my husband passed away before his mother, the majority of the estate would have gone to the daughter (?) which was not the intention of the will. To a different reader you wrote “You personally can't contest anything because you have no rights whatsoever to your mother-in-law's estate”
    How can I successfully prove that the intention of my mother-in-law was for her son (my husband) to share the inheritance with me?
    Thank you in advance for your help and time.

    1. To my husband "for him to use as he sees fit" is what you quoted from the will. How is that interpreted as an intention to be shared with you? You need a divorce lawyer & a discussion regarding 'his' assets. That's my opinion on the matter

    2. I didn't realize I hadn't answered this question before. Sorry about that! I have to say, I agree with the person who commented right above this. The law will assume that the intentions expressed in the will are the real intentions of the person who signed the will, unless there is some other evidence to the contrary. You don't have any right to your mother-in-law's estate, even if you did help her many times. Unfortunately, she is not required to pay you for that help. I also don't know why you would say that the estate going to the daughter was not the intention of the will, since it is written that way in the will and it was signed by your mother-in-law. I don't think you have much, if any, chance of successfully contesting this will, but feel free to ask a local lawyer for a second opinion. I also agree with the commenter that you may be able to recover something through matrimonial property division.


  10. Dear Ms. Butler,
    RE: Class Action Suite
    Thank you, for responding my to blog, IVery much appreciated.
    I,m looking foward for your comments.
    H. Webster BC.

  11. Hi Lynne,

    My sister and I are considering using your probate kit. We are both executors and the beneficiaries. One question prior to doing so. I have read and heard of some unfortunate stories from people attempting to do so. The estate is more complex than average with house ( previously moms and now our principal residence and no cap gains ) , Land that is split between mom and three siblings to pass on to us, and two banks. Would you still recommend your kit with our situation or to use a lawyer and avoid any potential delays and possible rejection. Lastly by doing so will we have to present to the court after probate is granted?

    Thank you for your time.

    1. Hi Scott,
      I hope the "unfortunate stories" were from people administering estates without lawyers, and not necessarily those using my book! :)

      I have to say that the land split between siblings to pass on to you concerns me a little. I would feel more comfortable knowing that you had taken the title to the property to a lawyer for a discussion of each party's rights before going ahead.

      Not that I don't want to sell a copy of the book, but I'd hate to see someone get messed up with a land title. The book gives instructions on how to transmit and transfer land from an estate, but that is all predicated on knowing the rights of each person.


  12. I and my brother are secondary executors of our father's will. Our mother is first executor but she had a stroke a few years ago and is unable to sign or speak anymore. I one of the sons who takes care of her is trying to request tax history records from the government and sent in his will and also my full
    power of attorney I have for my mother whom I take care of. My executor status was
    rejected by CRA and they said in the letter that a letter from my mother has to be sent
    saying she names me as executor as she is unable or unwilling to do it. I already explained in my t slips request that she can't sign or speak anymore and they still rejected my request for my father's old tax info. I cannot get
    my dad's tax returns done until I get those old tax records.

    I am wondering if a doctor's letter stating my mother's inability to write will be sufficient to prove legally that
    she is unable to perform the duties of executor anymore, or do I have to
    go through the whole court process to have her deemed mentally incompetent
    which I do NOT want to do?

    1. No, you should not have to have your mother deemed incompetent. Assuming that the POA is validly signed, then you are legally able to rely on it.

      I can see the disconnect. The law of wills says that an alternate executor cannot act until the first named executor has renounced. I believe you aware of this concept, based on the steps you've taken.

      I suggest you make a second attempt at CRA, with some changes to your documentation. Find a form of renunciation by looking at the probate rules of court for your province. A good site to find this is This form is the one used when an executor wants to step down so that an alternate can take over. Where your mother would normally sign, you should sign instead. Sign your name, followed by "Power of attorney for...." so that it's clear why you are involved. Include a copy of the POA when you send it in.

      This is no guarantee. In my experience, CRA has rejected POAs that don't specifically make reference to CRA.

      I don't think a doctor's letter would do it, though I haven't personally tried it that way. You should send a letter either from yourself or from a lawyer arguing that you have the right to sign the renunciation for your mother.

      If this fails, your other option is the courts, but not to have your mother declared incompetent. I don't believe that declaration would put you any further ahead. You would need an order allowing you access to the tax records.


  13. Ms. Bulter,
    Do you have a public email address? I would like to ask a question; however, I would like to keep it private.

    1. Sure. You can email me at I will of course respect any request for privacy.


  14. Dear Lynne,

    IF two people own a property as joint tenants (In Alberta) and the property is sold, is all equity split between both owners regardless of who put how much money into the down payment? So both names on title and both names on the mortgage.

    Thank you.

    1. Lynne, wondering if you missed replying to this question?
      Thank you.

  15. Hi Lynn,

    My husband and I have a house (currently joint tenants on the title). I want to ensure that should I pass away that my portion of the house goes directly to our daughter as oppose to my spouse. If the title to the house is changed to tenant in common, can i name my child as my beneficiary? then my child and spouse would be co-owners. I'm trying to find a way to ensure that my daughter inherits in the event my spouse remarries. Do you foresee any issues with this approach? thank you kindly

    1. You would change title to "As to an undivided 50%" then you can bequeath your portion. Joint tenants goes to surviving person on title, not to your estate. Correct Lynn?

    2. what happens if the husband also leaves the daughter his portion of the house at the time of his death? the daughter would inherit portions of the house at different times, would this affect any capital gain taxes that she would be responsible for?

    3. He could at any time add her as joint tenant then the property would become hers in the event of his passing. She would then only pay capital gain if she were to sell the house, unless it is her primary residence, then no taxes upon the sale.

    4. These posters are correct in saying that if you and your husband changed the title to tenants in common (the undivided 50% each mentioned above) then you could leave your portion to your daughter. If your daughter inherits halves at different times, that is perfectly fine, in legal terms.

      Assuming that the house she inherits is the principal residence of the person leaving it to her, there is no capital gains tax liability when she inherits it. As the poster above said, she might incur tax when she sells it if it is not her personal residence, and she owned it long enough for its value to increase.

      As for foreseeing any issues with the arrangement, you should consider that your husband could leave his half of the house to someone else, say a new wife. In that case your daughter will have to deal closely with the other. This could be complicated, especially if the new spouse is living in the house and is joint owner.


  16. Concerning the article, My husband didn't update his RRIF beneficiary.

    If the annuitant named his wife or common law partner as his beneficiary of his RIF and also a successor annuitant. If they separated years later but the annuitant didn't change the designation of the beneficiary because he wanted the separated person to have it, will the beneficiary still be a SUCCESOR ANNUITANT, or does the separation nullify being a Succesor Annuitant, resulting in a huge tax bill, and most of it lost when dissolved.

    Do you know of any legislation in print that states that a separation will nullify the beneficiary as a successor annuitant.

    You have written many great articles. Thanks. Andy

  17. Hi Lynne,

    Absolutely love your blog!

    Please forgive the length of this post, but it takes a bit of explaining.

    Okay... When my husband's mother became ill, we moved in with her, in to the home that my husband grew up in, to care for her. We nursed her back to health only for her to be diagnosed with a terminal illness 6 months later. After being hospitalized for 3 weeks, we now have her home where we continue to care for her as this is where she wants to be when she passes.

    She has just shared with me that her lawyer called her the week before she went in to the hospital to ask her to come in and go over her documents, to see if they needed updating. She said that the lawyer wrote down all of the money that my husband had borrowed from her over the years and that my husband would have to "pay it back" out of his inheritance. She asked me to read and explain her Last Testament to her because she didn't understand it. She told me where she had hidden it in her house and asked me not to tell her sons.

    As I read through it, I discovered that she had made a withdrawal on one of these reverse mortgages. In her will it states that my husband must pay that amount, which is double (the amount he owes her is also stated in the will) what he owes her, from his inheritance. On top of that, his share of the inheritance was changed from 50% to 45% because my mother-in-law says the lawyer explained to her that it would be most fair to her other son seeing as how he has never borrowed money from her.

    Now, she says this is what the lawyer told her to do! My mother-in-law speaks very little English and you have to speak very slowly to her. I'm concerned she didn't understand what the lawyer was telling her. She is convinced that I am wrong about how much my husband will actually have to pay.

    The lawyer has no idea how much time we have spent in caring for our mother, how much money it has cost us, and how much money we have lost. We are both self-employed - when we don't work, we don't get paid. His brother and his wife have done nothing to help. Not to mention that my husband has invested approximately $10,000 of work into the home since we have been living here. We just feel like the lawyer stuck her nose where it didn't belong - just looking at figures on paper!

    I haven't told my husband anything about this (who, by the way, has Power of Attorney), but when his mother passes on, which is going to be very soon, he will be devastated to learn he was snowed by his mother's attorney. How on earth are we ever supposed to deal with this?

  18. Hi

    2 of my sisters are execs...3 of us are not but we are all dad has propertys in BC ...which the execs want to buy..the whistler was worth more in 2007 now the market isn't as good...and now they choose to buy us out this a conflict of interest as one is a cga and the other a realtor. they did renos well over what we agreed to and voted on..and could have sold it in 2009 or 2010.I am upset

    1. Are you saying that your father died in 2007 and the property is only now - 7 years later - going on the market?

      What happened with the property since 2007? Who was using it? Did any of the beneficiaries insist that it be sold? If the beneficiaries just went along with all of this for 7 years, or perhaps even used the property off and on during that time, you can't complain now that it wasn't sold. The term for not speaking up for years is called "beneficiary acquiescence".

      If, on the other hand, you or the other beneficiaries have been pushing and insisting and doing all that you can to get the property sold ASAP - and by this I mean right from the start - then things are different. If the executors have been ignoring your attempts to have it sold or refusing to list it, they will have to explain themselves to the court, and possibly come up with the lost amount personally.

      It's not legally a conflict of interest for a person to be both an executor and a beneficiary. That is definitely allowed. But anyone who appoints an executor who is also a beneficiary is usually being unrealistic if he expects the executor to act impartially. People are terrible at being executors, mostly because they are unable to put aside their own interests.

      If you are really upset about this, and you want to take it further, you need to take all relevant estate documents to an experienced wills lawyer for a straightforward conversation. However, as I said, if you've gone along with the property not being sold for all these years, don't expect much sympathy.


  19. Thank you Lynn for this most interesting blog, I've only found this today searching for answers on my fathers' fatal accident last week. My question is, can someone with an extensive criminal record be an executor/trustee of a will? Or at least without any legal supervision, in this case my
    brother ?

  20. I recently bought your book and found it very informative, but was very disappointed to find that it doesn't reflect current laws and forms.

    With that being said, I do believe that it provided fairly decent information that carried over to the current acts.

    I was hoping you could help me regarding an issue of beneficiaries.

    My father-in-law passed away recently without a will. His wife pre-deceased him by five years, he has two living children and two children that also pre-deceased him. One of the pre-deceased childeren had two children. My interpretation of the Wills and Successions Act (Section 66) is that the estate should be divided into three shares, one for each living child with the third share divided between the pre-deceased child's children.

    However, one of the living children has consulted a lawyer who claims that the estate is to be divided between the two living children only. Although I am a layman, the law seems clear that a pre-deceased child's share is to be divided between that child's children.

    The estate seems relatively simple and I think the surviving children should apply for grants of administration rather than engage a lawyer. If my spouse and I are correct regarding the estate being divided into three shares rather than two, then I have no faith in the lawyer the other person consulted; but, on the other hand, if my spouse and I are unable to correctly interpret such a basic rule of law then I don't think we should attempt to administer the estate ourselves.

    I would appreciate it if you could clear up this issue.

    Thank you, and I look forward to the updates you referred to in an earlier post.

  21. Thank you Lynn for this most interesting blog, I've only found this today searching for answers on my fathers' fatal accident last week. My question is, can someone with an extensive criminal record be an executor/trustee of a will?

    1. A criminal record alone does not disqualify someone.


  22. Lynne, is the information in your book ALBERTA PROBATE AND ADMINISTRATION KIT (published 2011) still accurate with respect to the new wills legislation that came into effect there in 2012?

  23. Hello Lynne
    you state that "a trustee in bankruptcy has complete control over the bankrupt person's incoming money. The executor of the estate has no choice but to send the inheritance cheque to the trustee in bankruptcy".
    Well, that sounds great but what if the executor did not know about a beneficiary's bankruptcy and sent the inheritance directly to the heir who now, surprise, surprise, refuses to forward the funds $85,000 + to her trustee? Where does that leave me as her creditor?

  24. Similar to a previous comment, I have been told that I must use the forms from the 2012 Probate Kit, and previous publications should not be used. Do you have an update for those of us who have purchased your 2011 book? It's use appears to be limited now. I still hope it will be a useful guide, but am disappointed to find out I can't use the forms on the CD now.

    1. The book and CD come with a link to a site containing updates for the forms. It doesn't cost any extra for those who have bought the book.


  25. Hi Lynne,

    I have a question with regards to duties of a court appointed Trustee that has, in our eyes, crossed the line, so to speak. Is there a resource that you are aware of that explicitly explains what a Trustee can and can not do? Or, could I email you privately with an explanation of the events that have led me to write you this blurb?

    You have the most wonderfully informative site! Thank you.


    1. Hi Laurie,
      My most recent book is called "How Executors Avoid Personal Liability" and is a guide for beneficiaries as well as executors/trustees. You might find it contains the answers you want, as the entire book is about what trustees can and cannot do. You can buy it on or on


  26. Hi Lynn, my ex fiancé 's common law spouse recently contacted via email to tell me I am the beneficiary named on an investment account that he had. She is refusing to give me any other info. He has been dead for 15 months . She is the executor. Is this illegal?

    1. No, it's not illegal. If you are directly named as a beneficiary, the investment account is not part of the estate. The executor is in charge of the estate and nothing else. Therefore, it's up to you to deal with this asset on your own. In my opinion, the executor's role is simply to advise the beneficiary of the person's death, and the fact that he or she is named as a beneficiary. I also believe that some good manners and courtesy go a long way in these situations (she could, for example, have offered you a copy of the death certificate just out of courtesy), but it seems pretty rare that people care about that.


  27. Hi Lynne,

    Thanks so much for your blog! It is extremely helpful.

    I am a US citizen but co-own Ontario property with 3 sisters and 1 cousin (sisters own 1/2, cousin owns 1/2). We are tenants-in-common. In our discussions (we are in our 60's and know we need to deal with inheritance issues), we have agreed that only family bloodline should inherit; however, we have no legal, binding document to that effect. A couple of us are having wills written to reflect our children inheriting our "share"; is it possible to have that bloodline stipulation written into the deed itself to avoid confusion? Or do we need a separate document to that effect, or should we just let the wills cover it? I like the thought of having subsequent generations "see" our intent to follow the bloodline.
    Thanks for any help,
    Shari Brown

  28. Hi Lynne; My ex-husband died suddenly December 2014. We have a 17 year old and a 15 year old together. Our 15 year old was with his Father when he had the heart attack. My ex died without a will. We do live in Ontario. I am just trying to settle things for my kids. We do not have a lot of money - but we manage. He left behind a small house, older car, furniture and some tools. He has only 1 brother and both parents are deceased. His brother took the kids to the bank to close their accounts and gave them each a check for several hundred dollars. I was fuming. I took them straight to my bank and had them open accounts to deposit that money into. As the mother of his children and their Legal Guardian is it my responsibility to organize and distribute everything. I know he would want the house sold and the money put in a trust for the kids until they are older. What is the easiest way to go about all of this. We are on a very limited budget and I am now paying his utilities and house insurance until everything is settled and I can barely afford these now that we don't have his child support payment. Any advice or links to sites or groups that specialize in this kind of thing would be great. Thank you so much for what you do. Yours was the first site spoke in plain old english, not legal jargon.
    Bobbi-Joe Roberge

    1. When a person dies without a will, someone has to apply to the court for authority to deal with the estate. When you're married, the spouse is the first choice. However, since you're divorced (I think), you are no longer the person in charge of this. It sounds as if his brother has stepped up, but if he has, he should have legal authority from the court. If you're not sure if he has this, ask him, and if his answer isn't clear, you can do a search at the court house nearest where your ex lived. It's a probate search done on your ex's name. It'll cost about $10.

      If the brother hasn't applied for administration yet, perhaps you need to persuade him to renounce (waive) it so that you can do it. Whoever is appointed as administrator is responsible for selling the house, investing the money, etc. Even if you're the legal guardian, that's up to the administrator because it's estate money until the children are old enough to inherit it.

      By the way, you can recover child support arrears from the estate. This might make a difference to you if the estate is all invested to go to the kids in the future but you need financial help now.

      Self-Counsel Press sells a DIY probate and administration kit for Ontario. There is a link to it on the "interesting links" section of my blog. This might help you if you are going to be the one to apply for administration.

      Hang in there.

  29. I know that income taxes must be paid on an estate to the time of a person's death, as part of the deceased income, but how are the taxes paid between the time the person dies and the estate is divided among those named in the will?

    Thanks for any help.

    1. Hi Alan,
      An estate is a trust, which is a taxpayer. If the estate earns any income after the person dies and before the estate is distributed, the executor has to do a tax return (T3 as opposed to T1) for the estate. Any tax liability is paid out of the estate before it's distributed.


  30. Hi my sister and I have a question. My parents promised to gift the proceeds from the sale of their primary residence to both of us before their died (we 2 are their only heirs). The problem is before they could sell the house our father died, and then soon after our mother had a stroke leaving her unable to write or speak, though she is still clear minded and understands questions. With our poa for our mother we sold her house and deposited the proceeds into a joint bank account which we use for our and our mother's living. Our question is since our parents never put it in writing that they were going to gift the house sale proceeds to us before our father died and out mother became sick, they only verbally promised it to both of us, could this become a tax problem? Isn't a verbal promise legally valid? We are wondering as someone thought that a gift could possibly be challenged by the government in some way if they wanted to get more of the proceeds of the house for them instead of us their daughters having it, is this true, and if so how could they challenge the gift as there are no other heirs other then my sister and I, and no other witnesses still alive of our parent's friends or relatives.

    Thank you kindly
    Jen and Kate Lawrence

    1. Hi Jen and Kate,
      This isn't going to be a simple answer :)

      A verbal promise can be a contract, but not when it comes to land. Every deal concerning land must be in writing.

      In my opinion, you are breaching your legal responsibility by using some of the money from the sale for yourselves. Trustees such as people acting under powers of attorney are fiduciaries, and part of the fiduciary responsibility is not to use the person's assets for your own benefit.

      I know it's tangled, because you're both going to inherit one day, but that day has not yet arrived. While your mother is alive, that money belongs only to her.

      Basically, you're asking me about your odds of being busted for this. In reality, when all beneficiaries of an estate get together and cover for each other, there isn't much chance of being caught taking money from the estate. There are no estate police, after all. However, you now know that what you're doing with the money is not ok, and how you deal with that information is on you.


  31. Re: Section 9(1) of the Estates Administration Act, RSO 1990, c E. 22

    In the case of an Ontario intestacy involving real estate and when no caution is filed, and three years has passed from the time of the owner's death, how do beneficiaries proceed to take possession? What steps need to be taken for beneficiaries to receive the property into their names? What is the purpose of filing a caution?

    Thanks in advance if you get to this, and thanks for a great informative blog.

  32. Good morning Lynne: My husband passed away last month and I noticed on his will when I got it from the cubboard that he had signed it on the page with the witnesses. Everything has been left to me as well I am the executor to his will. Everything we own is in both names. Thank you

    1. If everything you own is in joint names, you won't even need to put the will through probate. It sounds as if the two of you had done the proper estate planning so that things can go as smoothly as possible.


  33. Hello Lynne, My husband and I jointly own most of our assets. I also own a rental property and mutual funds with my mom (joint tenants). All my RRSP, life insurance policy, bank account that are not owned jointly have a beneficiary named. I'm completely new to the Will procedure. Do life insurance, RRSPs, jointly held accounts and assets with named beneficiaries have to be indicated in the Will? Also, if my husband and I leave this world together, what is the most painless way to pass everything to our only adult son? Thank you.

    1. If someone came into my office and asked me this question, I would devote an hour to discussing it. I can't do it justice here in a few words but I'll give you some highlights.

      You can't pass "everything" on to your son for the simple reason that you own some of it in joint names with your mother. No matter what you say in your will, if you die before your mother, she will own the joint assets, because that's how joint assets work.

      As for the assets with named beneficiaries, that depends on who you've named. Most likely you've named your husband, so on your death they will be paid to your husband. If he makes a will leaving them to your son, your son will eventually get them. However, if your husband remarries and names his new spouse as his beneficiary, your son will not get them.

      You and your husband should both make wills that address a) what happens when one of you dies and b) what happens when both of you have died.

      Consider what should happen if your son, God forbid, should pass away before you do, e.g. should the estate be held in trust for his children?

      It would be worthwhile for you and your husband to sit down with someone for a chat about these things. Try to find someone who does "estate planning" as opposed to someone who "makes wills" so that you can get the full picture of how it's all going to work together.


  34. Lynne

    Your blog has helped so many people with many questions and answers. One thing always leads to another. I am always grateful to those that share. I share as much as I can as well.

    1. Thanks. I always appreciate shares and I really appreciate that you read and comment as much as you do.


  35. Hi Lynne,

    I was wondering if you can help me out with a question I have. I live in Vancouver and I built a laneway house on my parents property. I was talking to my brother of how we would split up the estate in the distant future. We decided that we would split the value of the property minus the value of the laneway house 50/50. We talked about having the property go under my name (after my parents have passed) and I pay him cash in payments. Is this better then to have the property go under both our names and have my brother buy me out? We want to figure out a way to pay as less tax as possible in the future while staying within the guidelines of CRA.

  36. Hi Lynne, I'm finding your comments very helpful. Here is my sister and my situation. Our father passed away in Vancouver, BC July, 2015 in a nursing home. He left no will, but had approximately $12,000 in the bank, a violin approx value $14,000, some cassettes/CDs of music he recorded, and two paintings by a Canadian artist of himself probably worth approx. $1-$2,000 each. His ex-girlfriend (they broke up several years before he went into the nursing home) had POA just to help out with his finances, but did not withdraw the money from the bank, which we suggested she do right before he passed to avoid probate, and we would split it three ways. Which she did not do, so the money is stuck in the bank now to go through probate, lawyers, etc. We were told the cost could be $3-4,000 in legal fees. Due to dissension on her part towards our father and us, she might have lied about the amount of $ in the bank, and the Royal Bank of Canada will not give us that info, to determine if it is even worth going after. There are also the two paintings that have no real value except to us as his daughters. She doesn't want them, has been nagging us to remove them from her property, and we made arrangements to donate them to the nursing home, but they need photos of the artwork before they will accept them, and she refuses to do this...for a whole year now. We live in the USA and have no access to them as she won't let us in her home. Then there is the violin that is worth supposedly $14,000. We were initially more than happy to let her keep the violin, the cassettes, CDs, the paintings, and the $ if she had taken it out we will probably never know, but the aggravation has been costly to us emotionally. She sends us threatening and cruel emails to remove the paintings immediately (NEVER mentions the violin or $ in bank) but when we take steps to have a courier service pick up and ship the paintings to us in the USA she says that they belong to the "estate" and cannot be shipped anywhere until the "executor/administrator" says we can. My sister and I are his only surviving relatives. We have put this all to bed, walked away from everything, from the alleged money in the bank, the violin, his cassettes of music he recorded, and his paintings because of the heartache this cruel woman has dispensed on us. What are your legal and or any suggestions? Very grateful for your help. Thank you!!

    1. As soon as I found out my sibling was named Executor (I live outside of the country), I hired a good lawyer from a well-respected firm. This has helped us keep the sibling in check some what, although she has still stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from the estate. But at least I have paperwork showing what the estate was comprised of before death. A good lawyer is your best friend right now. Maybe all she needs is a letter on legal letterhead to adjust her attitude.

  37. My mom 96 had her properties, matrimonial home & rental income stolen by my brother for 14 years. They were in Joint Tenancy 1993. 1996 my father severed the joint tenancy without her knowledge or written consent, including the matrimonial home. Is that legal? Property theft unfortunately is not a 'criminal act' in Canada so the police could not help her.

  38. Wonderful site. I don't know how you can find the time to do this - but may the Creator of the Universe bless you. To bad I did not know about you 14 years ago. But I am using it now by getting a new lawyer & hope to put my thieving brother in jail. Mom is 96, and still has no rights because my brother stole everything due to my father secretly severing Joint Tenancy on the Matrimonial home & 2 other income properties. I think theft of property & its' rights should be in 'criminal law' not civil. I intend to fight to my death to make that happen.

    1. I sincerely wish you the best of luck with your battle. You are right that theft of property should be criminal - and it is. The problem that defeats many people is the fact that the thief is an executor who has paperwork giving him the right to access the assets. From there it just gets messy as to who did what, and why, and what was intended. Estate litigation is harder and messier and more depressing than anyone can imagine, until they are stuck in the middle of it. Hang in there.


  39. We ordered your book on May 14/15 but have not received it. Can you let us know when it will be mailed.

    1. You didn't order it from me, since I don't sell them, but that's an unusually long time to wait. Where did you order it from? The link I give on this site for most of my books is to the publisher, Self-Counsel Press, but my books are also available at Amazon, Indigo, Lulu, and many other places. Wherever you ordered it from should have sent you an email confirming your order, so I suggest you look back and see where you bought it.


  40. RE: Mistakes Executors Make
    Lynne, I find your website to be very informative, however, when an Executor treats the financial assets of the deceased as his/her own personal piggy bank, that is called theft! NO different than an accountant dipping into the company coffers. Perhaps your advice should have been "Don't even think about helping yourself to any of the financial assets of the estate unless you look good in horizontal stripes"!

    1. I like that. May I quote you? ;)


  41. Hi Lynne, I am looking for some clarity on some matters concerning the probate process for my mother who passed away in BC in Sept 2014. She left 3 family members as executors, myself who lives in Scotland, a brother who lives in Toronto and another brother who lives in Ottawa. My mother lived and owed a unit in a +55 complex, my daughter (aged 25) moved here to be her carer until her death and has remained in the unit. I expressed my wishes that because we are all so far apart we should get a lawyer to deal with everything, however this is not the case. One brother has taken charge and decided to do the probate paperwork himself, the other brother is ok with that and nearly a year later it still has not been done. I have come over for a long holiday to try to get some things sorted.
    1- Does the grant of Probate need to be filed within a certain time limit?.
    2- Can we put the unit up for sale now?, as the Strata has now written to resolve the issue of someone under 55 residing in the unit.

    I appreciate you get lots of queries, but I hope you have time to help. Regards, Ellen

  42. Hi Lynne, I hope you can advise on some points that I'm confused about. My mother passed away in BC in Sept 2014. She left me and my 2 brothers as executors, I live in Scotland, 1 brother in Toronto and 1 brother in Ottawa, I requested we should get a local BC lawyer to deal with the probate, but this was dismissed. She lived and owned a unit in a +55 complex. My daughter had moved here to be her carer, and has remained in the unit meantime, until we plan to sett it.. With the unit my mom has also some back accounts. It turns out my brothers have not filed for probate yet, can you advise:
    1- is there a time limit that we have to file this probate.
    2- can we sell the unit now?, it turns out the strata is now why someone under 55 is still in the unit.
    thank you for your assistance, regards Ellen

    1. Hi Ellen,
      It really would be easier to have someone in BC take care of this, particularly as it seems that your brothers are not dealing with it. Getting a BC lawyer is a good idea, or you might consider getting a trust company to act as your agent. When I recently worked for Scotia Trust, they had some extremely knowledgeable people working in both Vancouver and Victoria who would be able to help you.

      There is no specified deadline for filing of the probate. However, not dealing with it means that issues (like that raised by the strata) will crop up. In the meantime, someone has to pay the expenses and taxes on the unit. Also, if there is a fire or other disaster, the unit and its contents could be lost entirely.

      You could list the condo for sale before getting probate, but you cannot actually complete the sale until the probate order has been granted.


  43. Hi Lynne,

    Can you please help?

    1. My parents want to exclude my sister from their will because she is financially doing well, can they do this legally in BC?

    2. Can 2 people be appointed as the executors of the will with equal power?

    3. My brother is brainwashing my parents and I feel he would push for him being the sole executor of the will which will create major problems for our family?

    What is the best advice you could give me?

    Thanks so much! :)


    1. Hi Anthony,
      Just to be clear, I don't give anyone advice on this blog. I talk about the general rules and give information, but I cannot give advice to anyone without a full conversation in which I get to ask questions and look at documentation. In any event, I'll do my best to answer your questions.

      Yes, parents can choose to exclude one of their kids who is financially independent. BC has a unique set of rules that allows a child who has been left out to challenge the will on fairness grounds, so your parents should get any new wills prepared by an experienced lawyer who can make the will as strong as possible.

      Yes, two people can be appointed as joint executors. This is pretty common, but it doesn't always work out. It's tough for two people to agree about everything, large and small, that arises from an estate. However, it can have the effect of keeping a second set of eyes on what someone is doing.


  44. Hi Lynne,

    Please help! :)

    1. My parents want to remove my sister legally from their will because she is doing very well financially, can they do that?

    2. Can you have 2 executors of a will with equal power?

    Thank you so much for your time!


  45. Hello Lynne,

    I have read your blogs and articles regarding will and estates. My situation is a little more complicated and would love to get your advice.

    My father passed away last year in a foreign country. His will has been declared interstate. My sister and I had been declared his beneficiaries of his LIF and our children beneficiaries of his estate. 2 months before he passed away he was married. That is why the will is interstate. What is the entitlements to the wife as my father never made any changes to his will because he didn't want the wife to get anything.

    My sister is at her wit's end dealing with this and financially I have been making all payments to the estate bills.

    Is she entitled to the LIF and estate 100% and if so, would my sister, as administrator, have to pay all outstanding income taxes. His estate is worth approx. $75000 and the LIF $420000.00.

    Any incite or advice would be greatly appreciated.

  46. My situation is: the executor is also a beneficiary and is willed the house, where she will live. I and 2 others are willed the cash, to be split 3 ways. When it is time to pay bills and final taxes, if she pays out of the estate account, how does she contribute her share as no cash goes to her? Susan


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