Estates & Wills & Trusts

Ticker writes a new chapter in his career with first book

By Tony Poland, AdvocateDaily.com Associate Editor

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

Ticker, who practises estates litigation and mediation at Charles B. Ticker Law Office, found time in his busy practice to pen Bobby Gets Bubkes: Navigating the Sibling Estate Fight.

Although the intention was to write something for the average person looking for advice, his work has been touted as “the kind of book that lawyers should have on hand in their libraries for quick reference, or to recommend their clients read it before they enter into costly litigation.”

“I thought I was writing for the client, but what I didn’t appreciate is that lawyers who are reading the book see this as helpful in dealing with their clients with the kinds of issues that come up,” Ticker says.

The book has a catchy title, which came about because he is a fan of alliteration.

“I was debating whether or not to use it because people might not know what bubkes means. But people do know plenty of Yiddish words,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com. “I’ve gotten many comments from people who love the title. They may hate the book, but they love the title.”

Ticker says he had been thinking of writing a book for a while, “bouncing around ideas” about his everyday dealings with clients.

“I started playing around with the idea of fairness in an estates context,” he says.

Ticker explains he found many “recurring themes” when dealing with siblings and estate litigation.

“I would be doing an examination for discovery of an adult sibling in a will challenge, and they would start talking about stuff that happened when they were five years old, and they still haven’t gotten over it,” he says.

Not that it surprised him. Ticker recalls when he was 10, he threw a shoe at his five-year-old sister because she wouldn’t stay out of his toys and games.

“Fortunately it didn’t cause any damage. You think people would forget about things like that, but 20 years later at my wedding, my sister’s making a speech, and she refers to the time I threw the shoe, so obviously she never forgot it,” he says.

While siblings can face many different circumstances in estate litigation, the themes are basically universal, Ticker says.

“That’s how the book came about,” he says, adding he wanted to write a primer to help people understand the pitfalls of estate litigation.

“I would have people come into the office and tell me they want to go to court and get in front of a judge,” Ticker says. “Then they get involved with litigation and realize you don’t go from start to finish in an hour like they do on Law and Order. It takes months and years and tens and hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

In fact, in one of his chapters, Settle or Sue?, he quotes an actual client who learned the hard way about the court process and said, “I’ve had it! My physical condition has deteriorated — I have rashes and boils on my body, my hair has fallen out!”

“What I’m trying to do with this book is prepare people for what’s involved,” Ticker says.

While his writing has been well received, he says the process didn’t come easy.

“I’m not quitting my day job,” Ticker jokes. “This was something I wanted to do, and I thought it might be helpful. I found it was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.”

However, he says he is looking forward to being invited to speak about “competing concepts of fairness in estate litigation” at upcoming conferences.

“Hot off the press, I recently made the book available when I was speaking at a conference and was contacted afterwards by a lawyer who said he needed more because he wanted to give them out to his clients,” Ticker says.

The book has been praised by lawyers and authors. The foreword was written by Susan E. Greer, a retired judge of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

“Ticker’s book is a valuable reference for not only general legal practitioners whose law practices involve litigation in the areas of estates and trusts. It is also a manual for family members who find themselves at odds with one another when a parent or relative dies,” Greer writes. “I am of the view that the two great motivating factors in estate litigation are those of ‘greed’ and ‘money.’ Ticker has taken these two factors and combined his many years as a lawyer to write a practical manual for use by both lawyers and litigants to better understand the vagaries of estate administration and litigation.

“Ticker is able, in simple language, to synthesize the complications of estate administration and the ensuing litigation that may arise when families disagree on how the estate is to be administered.”

Ticker says he is especially proud of the foreword, since he only wanted Greer to read the manuscript and provide an endorsement.

“I was floored because I never asked for it,” he says. “It meant a great deal to me because she was, and is, a very highly respected judge in the estates’ area here in Ontario.”

Ticker hasn’t finalized plans to distribute the book but hopes to have it available on Amazon.com in the near future. In the meantime, to order a copy of the book, click here.

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