Category Archives: Estate Planning

Are your Beneficiary Designations up to date?

Michael consulted us recently after his father’s death. Michael was an only child, and his parents divorced when Michael was still quite young. Michael was his father’s closest relative and he thought he would inherit his father’s estate, which consisted of an RRSP worth $200,000 and a bank account worth $50,000. Unfortunately, when Michael’s father […]

Marriage will no longer revoke a Will!

A new law in Ontario will bring some important changes for Wills and Estates. Bill 245 has received Royal Assent but will not come into force until at least January 1, 2022. The new law will make several substantial changes affecting Wills and Estates, including repealing the longstanding rule in the Succession Law Reform Act […]

If I say I’ve moved to California and make a new Will there, who’s going to argue?

Johnny Hallyday’s Story   Johnny Hallyday might be the biggest pop star you’ve never heard of. Over the course of a long career based in France, he sold more than 110 million records worldwide, making him one of the best-selling singers of all time. He was credited with bringing rock and roll to France and was called the French Elvis. However, starting in 2007, […]

My eldest child will be offended if I don’t name him as my Attorney in my Power of Attorney for Property

Brooke Astor’s Story New York socialite Brooke Astor gave her son Anthony Marshall a Power of Attorney over her financial affairs. Unfortunately, he was untrustworthy. In October 2009, Anthony was convicted of fraud and grand larceny relating to his handling of his late mother’s estate. Among other things, he had given himself a retroactive $1 […]

I’m healthy, so I don’t understand why I should make a Power of Attorney for Property

Etta James’s Story R&B singer Etta James won six Grammy Awards during her career. Unfortunately, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2008. That same year, she signed a Power of Attorney appointing her son Donto James to look after her property. Not surprisingly, her current husband, Artis Mills, challenged the Power of Attorney on the basis that she was […]

I’m afraid my children will say I was incompetent when I made my Will

Leona Helmsley’s Story Real estate tycoon Leona Helmsley, who served time in jail for tax evasion, was referred to in the tabloids as The Queen of Mean. When she died in 2007 at the age of 87, she left an estate worth billions. Her closest surviving relatives were her four grandchildren. For reasons she did not explain, […]

Why should I leave my Will at my lawyer’s? I prefer to keep it at home in my sock drawer

FloJo’s Story Olympic sprinter Florence Griffith-Joyner—better known as FloJo— set world records in 1988 in both the 100-metre and 200-metre events. Sadly, she died ten years later at the age of only 38. Her family believed she had made a will, but they couldn’t track it down. Years of legal battles followed as Joyner’s husband and her mother couldn’t agree on whether FloJo had […]

My employer promised to leave me a house but forgot to put it in his will!

Marlon Brando’s Story  Marlon Brando was one of the most admired—and unconventional—actors of all time. In 1973 he rejected his Academy Award for Best Actor for The Godfather to protest the treatment of Native Americans by the film industry. When he died in 2004 at the age of 80, his long-time housekeeper Angela Borlaza came forward […]

Who should I name as my Executor?

Doris Duke’s Story  Doris Duke was a tobacco heiress, socialite and philanthropist who had a colourful personal life. In 1987, when she was 75 years old, she hired Bernard Lafferty as her personal butler, and Lafferty soon became her companion and closest confidant, although there does not seem to have been a romantic relationship. She made […]

I’m still in my 20s—why do I need to update my Will?

Heath Ledger’s Story In 2009 Australian actor Heath Ledger became the first person ever to win an Oscar posthumously, for his role as the Joker in the Dark Knight. Heath had died of an accidental overdose of prescription medications a few months earlier at the age of only 28. He had made a will in 2003, which […]