Articles for Public

Trust Protects Family

Joan Brown had one daughter.  The daughter led a troubled life.  She had a drug problem.  She was prone to depression.  She developed health problems. She was unable to work and became dependent on the Ontario Government for income support. … Continue reading

Child in the UK is Estate Planning Challenge

David Smith is proud of his son, Bob.  His son is a banker, and a successful one.  So successful that he ended up living in London, England with a job at an international bank. That creates an estate planning problem … Continue reading

Second Will Useful for Assets in Different Jurisdiction

Hugh MacDonald immigrated to Canada from England some fifty years ago.  His English relatives keep dying off.  None of them had children, and he has inherited a substantial amount of money in the UK.  He has left it there.  It … Continue reading

Charitable Gifts by Estates and Trusts

EXCERPT FROM TAXATION OF TRUSTS:  CHARITABLE GIFTS BY ESTATES AND TRUSTS      __________________________________________________________________   Reprinted from Chapter 3 “Taxation of Trusts”, s. 3.4.1 “Summary”, p. 191, in Taxation of Trusts and Estates: A Practitioner’s Guide 2011, by Larry H. Frostiak, … Continue reading

Give Out Shares, Not Things, When Time to Make Will

David Smith signed a will when he was 75.  He had two children, and the will gave his cottage to his daughter, who spent a lot of time there, and his house to his son to even things up.  That … Continue reading

Massive failure to launch

Linda Smith died suddenly, at 91 years of age, still in her own house and living independently.  She was a widow, and had two sons, Larry and Bob.  Neither boy had succeeded in making his way in the world.  Both … Continue reading

A “Two-Barrel” Cottage Trust

Mary has the most beautiful cottage in the world. On a lakefront in British Columbia, it sits high on a hillside, jutting up out of the trees and into the breeze. The back porch is screened in from from floor … Continue reading

Protecting the Elderly from Testamentary Predators

Mr. Pendock Barry lived in England in the mid 1800s. He was wealthy. He was also eccentric. Those who knew Pendock described him as “childish in his amusements and occupations.” That was an understatement. He would have his servants prepare … Continue reading

Creating A War-Chest To Deal With Custody

When Mary divorced she worked hard to limit contact between her ex-husband and the children. It was her heartfelt belief that it was not in their best interests to spend extended periods of time with their father. Her ex-husband did … Continue reading

Right Will for Wrong Reasons

Elizabeth Amelia Brown was widowed in 1919. Her dead husband had been wealthy, and his will gave her access to his family fortune. She would be comfortable for life. She was also put in a position where she would decide … Continue reading

Saving the Day if You Have Been Disinherited

Jane Smith was adopted in 1941 when she was fourteen day sold. Her adoptive mother and adoptive father raised her together until her father died when she was eleven. Unfortunately for Jane, her mother remarried in 1952 to a new … Continue reading

Property Can Revert To Crown Without Will

Christine Borstinsong died in Ontario on June 13, 2006. She had no will, and no family members to step forward and claim her estate. There were no children, no siblings, no parents or grandparents, no nieces or nephews, and no … Continue reading

The Curious Case of Jack Wilson – Imposters

Jack Wilson could neither read nor write, and signed his name by making an “X.” Living in the Maritimes, he amassed some 250 acres of land, had a handful of children, and survived two wives before dying on March 28th, … Continue reading

Getting Dad to Redo His Will

Amber is a doctor. Her husband Rob is a dentist. Both are successful at what they do. Their combined income is impressive. In their early fifties, Rob and Amber have three young children and no spare time. Rob and Amber … Continue reading

War Declared by Last Will and Testament

Mr. R. Dodds lived in England while World War Two was in full swing. He was divorced from his wife, and had four children. He lived in trying times. The Battle of Britain had been waged and won. England had … Continue reading

Estate Planning Home Movie Panned Do It Yourself Lawyers

Harriet Thomson had three sons and lived Niagara Falls, Ontario. As the decades came and went, one or two of the boys appeared to be living at home pretty well all of the time. That was true both before and … Continue reading

Don’t Expect Estate to Pay Your Costs

Bill Smith had two sons by his first wife, and then a daughter by his second. His second wife, Mary, appears to have been headstrong and intelligent. When Bill and Mary were in their 80’s, they arranged to have their … Continue reading

Take Steps To Protect Will From Attack

John Jones was 88 years old when he decided to draft a new will. His family was convinced that he had lost his marbles years earlier. That was a problem. The will he wanted to put in place would change … Continue reading

The Notorious Knickerbockers Trust

Very little is known about the Reverend John Gwyon, but a great deal is known about his estate plan – one of the most bizarre forays into succession planning known to English legal history. Reverend Gwyon made his will on … Continue reading

Joint Ownership Can Be Tricky

Gerald Anderson was a successful dairy farmer but an unsophisticated businessman. He was in charge of the cows and the milk. His wife, Mary, was in charge of the business side of things. She made business decisions, signed cheques, and … Continue reading

Life Insurance Designation is Loose End

Jeff Nelson had a responsible position with the police department. He had a daughter, named Karen, before separating from his wife in 1980. Jeff never remarried. Karen was his only child. The divorce that followed was not amicable. He had … Continue reading

Gold Diggers Use Marriage To Revoke Will

Samuel Smith’s wife died in June of 2000, leaving him lonely and depressed. He hired a house keeper, Francine. She did some part-time cooking and cleaning for him. She was rarely in sight when his children visited, but everyone knew … Continue reading

Delusions May Not Interfere With Will

Walter McMann was born in 1908. He married at age 18 and had four children with his wife. The couple led a perfectly normal married life until Walter deserted his wife without warning or explanation during a family vacation in … Continue reading

Protecting Children From Prior Relationships

Mr. Jones died and left everything to his wife. His son, Mike, was horrified. Why the big deal? Dad had remarried and his wife was Mike’s stepmother. She had joined the family only recently when Dad tied the knot for … Continue reading

Blended Families Creates Estate Planning Woes

Mr. Smith met and married Mrs. Smith later in his life. He was wealthy by most standards, and she enjoyed a good life at his side. The two of them shared a common commitment to charity. Mr. Smith passed away … Continue reading

Fine Tuning required for Some Estate Plans

Norman and his wife Mary have a significant portfolio of mutual funds and other investments. Even after the recent downturn, the pool of investments still exceeds $1 million. Until recently, those investments were owned jointly in a series of accounts … Continue reading

A Literary Masterpiece And A Legal Disaster

George Bernhard Shaw was born in Dublin in 1856 and became one of the most influential men of his generation. He was an author, an orator, and a social activist. Among other causes, he supported woman’s rights before it was … Continue reading

Devil In The Details When It Comes To Estate Planning

Norman Thorton was one of the most prosperous farmers in the Maidstone area of Saskatchewan. He was a perfectionist. He subscribed to farm journals, and studied changing farming methods. He was up on the latest technologies. His machinery was the … Continue reading

Who Should You Pick As Your Executor?

Bob and Sally Smith appointed each other to serve as the executor of each others estate. What happens if both of them die? They have appointed their daughter, Anna, to serve as the alternate executor. It will be her job … Continue reading

Choice of Executor Critical When Trouble Is Brewing

Gerald Conner died in Ontario on April 26, 2004. He had no spouse and no children. He did have five siblings and decided to divide his estate among four of them. The fifth, a brother named Sam, was cut out … Continue reading

An Estate Planning Lesson From Ronald Reagan

When Ronald Reagan was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, he announced his condition to the American people in a letter dated November 5, 1994, stating “I intend to live the remainder of the years God gives me on this earth doing … Continue reading

Whimsical Last Wishes

Lawyers draft wills that are all business. The fun starts when people take up a pen to draft their own will, without the assistance of a lawyer. Henry Durrell left a will providing that one of his three nephews would … Continue reading

Ability to Write Will Can Fade With Age

Rita Coupar was born in 1906. The people who knew her over the years, liked her. She was described as bright, cheerful, and dignified. Rita married but never had children. Perhaps because of that, she was always very close to … Continue reading

How Will You Spend Your Last Few Moments?

On June 8, 1948, Mr. George Harris was adjusting a disc apparatus on his farm when his tractor accidentally backed up, trapping him between the two pieces of equipment and opening a large gash on his leg. It was noon. … Continue reading

Will Forgeries More Common Than You Think

Hugo Herman Krupp died on February 6, 1994. He was survived by three adult children, a son and two daughters. They found a will their father had signed seventeen years earlier in 1977. It divided the wealth equally among them. … Continue reading

Estate Planning If Your Kids Move To The U.S.

Jack and Sandra Taylor have two children, a son who lives in New York and a daughter who lives in Vancouver. The Taylor’s lived, worked, and retired in Toronto. They have no plans to move. With cheap airfare they manage … Continue reading

Beware of U.S. Estate Taxes

Mr. Paul’s was born in the United States. He married his Canadian wife in 1978 after he came to Canada to work, and has lived in Canada ever since. Financially, Mr. and Mrs. Pauls have done well. They have a … Continue reading

Openness Is A Good Thing

Seven years ago a trio of Toronto lawyers opened a new law firm. It was a bold experiment. They told the world that they would do nothing but estate litigation. They were true to their word — no house deals, … Continue reading

Don’t Leave Estate Planning to the Last Moment

Rudy Gutzke was born in the Ukraine and immigrated to Canada, marrying late in life to a woman named Lorna. She already had two children. Rudy never had children of his own. Rudy and his wife grew old together and … Continue reading

An Estate Plan Gone to the Dogs

Thelma L. Russell signed her last will and testament in California on March 18, 1957. Handwritten on a filing card, it was short and to the point: “I leave everythingI own, Real and Personal, to Chester H. Quinn & RoxyRussell … Continue reading

The Danger of Doing it Yourself: Penny Wise and Crown Foolish

Last week’s column dealt with the legacy Alfred Nobel left in creating the Nobel Prizes in his last will and testament. He drafted that will himself, without the assistance of a lawyer. It was handwritten and short. By drafting his … Continue reading

A Lasting Gift

Alfred Nobel was born in Sweden in 1833 to a family that went from rags to riches, went bankrupt, and then went from rags to riches again. He became one of the richest men in Europe in his time. How? … Continue reading

Arranging for the Disposal of Your Remains

Download PDF In the late 1870’s, an Englishman named Henry Crookenden left a last will and testament directing his executor to give his corpse to a friend, Eliza, to be disposed of in accordance with a letter of direction he … Continue reading