Estates & Wills & Trusts

Legal guardianships vital for people with disabilities

The life expectancy for children with cognitive disabilities is growing, and this has serious financial and legal implications for their families as their parents age and die, says Ottawa disabilities and estate planning lawyer Kenneth Pope. Read more

New registry could end problem of lost wills: Bernstein

A new online registry that can locate lost wills has potential benefits for the public and law firms, says Toronto wills and estates lawyer Daniel Bernstein. Read more

Online will kits better than nothing: Urback

Online will kits are affordable and easy to use, but they deny the testator the opportunity to have meaningful discussions with a professional about individual circumstances and wishes, says Toronto wills and estates lawyer Matthew Urback. Read more

Where there’s a will to contract, there’s a contract to will

By David M. Smith In researching common errors in will drafting, we recently stumbled (as one often does through research) on the following question: In the case of mutual wills, what happens in the event of remarriage? Read more

Conscientiousness rewarded in recent case

Applications to pass accounts and be compensated for acting as power of attorney can win the court’s approval — and even its praise — if everything is done properly, says Toronto wills and estates lawyer Elinor Shinehoft. Read more

Sleeper trains: nostalgia for something we may never have done

By Ian Hull When was the last time you slept (lying down) on a train? Or a better question: have you ever slept lying down on a train? Read more

Power of attorney a ‘powerful and dangerous’ document: Aulis

Lawyers and their clients must tread carefully when drafting and implementing a power of attorney (POA), says Toronto trusts and estates lawyer Patrick J. Aulis. Read more

Province gives ‘meaningful guidance’ around multiple wills

Recent guidance from Ontario’s Ministry of Finance is helpful to estate lawyers looking to minimize probate-related expenses through multiple wills, says Toronto trusts and estates lawyer Suzana Popovic-Montag. Read more

Use your ancestry to your advantage

By Suzana Popovic-Montag Tracing your ancestry is big business these days. According to, the company and its worldwide affiliates have three million paid subscribers and have collected 15 million DNA samples from individuals. Read more

A cautionary tale about separation and dying without a will

By Matthias Duensing for After 10 years of marriage and two small children, Theresa falls in love with a co-worker, and asks her husband, Max, to leave their family home in Woodstock, which they owned together as joint tenants. Read more

Discuss settlement range with client prior to mediation

Counsel must prepare their clients for mediation to get the most out of the process, says Toronto trust and estate litigator and mediator Felice Kirsh. Read more

I’m the executor but not a family member and it’s getting awkward

By Lisa Laredo Have you been named the executor but you’re not a family member? Being executor of an estate can be a tough job. After all, you are required to gather all of the estate assets, pay the person’s debts and divide what remains of their estate amongst their beneficiaries. It can be challenging, overwhelming, time-consuming and emotionally draining. Read more

Divorce agreements can affect estate settlements: Horst

Failing to fulfil your obligations in a divorce settlement can be costly, even after you pass away, says Toronto wills and estate lawyer Marlin Horst. Read more

Ticker writes a new chapter in his career with first book

Toronto-area estates litigator Charles B. Ticker has written the perfect book for those who know "bubkes" about estates and trusts. Read more

Planning key to avoiding probate fee ordeal for B.C. executors

A law that requires executors-to-be in British Columbia to pay probate fees when applying for a grant of probate can cause a significant practical problem for those administering valuable estates — but with some advance planning, it is possible to avoid running into these challenges, says Vancouver corporate lawyer Jonathan Reilly. Read more