Category Archives: Estate Planning

If I die without a Will, can my common law partner claim my estate?

Stieg Larsson’s Story Stieg Larsson was the author of the Millennium trilogy, a series of bestselling crime novels that began with “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.” His novels have sold about 55 million copies worldwide and were made into a hit movie. From the age of 18, Stieg lived with Eva Gabrielsson, but they never […]

Can I leave money to a pet?

Oprah Winfrey’s Story Media mogul Oprah is well known as a dog lover. She calls her dogs her “fur children,” and they often appear with her in photoshoots. One of the wealthiest women in the world, Oprah reportedly has set aside $30 million in a trust to look after her pooches after she dies. Lawyer’s comment:  Many […]

Dealing with Personal Property: I don’t care who gets the family teacups!

Robin Williams’s Story Actor and comedian Robin Williams was caught up in several lawsuits during his life, so he wanted to make sure his estate plan was secure. This was tricky, because he was married to Susan, his third wife, and also had adult children from his first and second marriages. He tried to come up with a plan […]

Should I specify my wishes for a Memorial Service or Celebration of Life?

Janis Joplin’s Story Beloved rock and blues singer Janis Joplin of a drug overdose at the age of 27 in 1970. In her will, which she had revised just two days before her death, she left $2,500 to pay for an all-night celebration of her life at her favourite pub in San Anselmo, California, “so my friends can get blasted after I’m gone.” Lawyer’s Comment: Including in your will […]

I’ve changed my mind about cremation, but it’s okay because I told my kids

Ted Williams’s Story Baseball Hall of Famer Ted Williams left instructions in his will that he wished to be cremated. However, when he died in 2002, his two children from a second marriage produced a note saying he wished to have his body cryogenically frozen, in the hope of being revived at a later date. This […]

Should I say what is to be done with my body?

Fred Baur’s Story Some people get quite inventive about what is to be done with their bodies. Fred Baur, the founder of Pringles potato chips, wanted his body cremated and the ashes buried in a Pringles can. His family complied with the request, deciding on a red regular-flavour can. The ashes didn’t quite fit, so the […]

I don’t need a will because I really care don’t what happens to my property when I die

Bob Marley’s Story People have many reasons for not leaving a will. Bob Marley, the Jamaican reggae star, was a very spiritual man. His Rastafarian faith taught that writing a will would show inappropriate concern with earthly matters. When he died of cancer in 1981 at the age of 31, he left an estate worth about […]

I don’t need a will because I don’t have enough to worry about

Mickey Rooney’s Story Actor Mickey Rooney had a long career, starting as a toddler in vaudeville, becoming a star in the silent movie era and continuing to appear in films right up to his death in 2014 at the age of 93. Sadly, he was almost penniless when he died. Although his estate only amounted to $18,000, Mickey was determined that nothing go to […]

Can I just make a video of my wishes?

Bryer Schmegelsky’s Story In the summer of 2019, people across Canada were following the story of two young fugitives from British Columbia who were on the run in the wake of three apparently random murders. Ultimately, the two young suspects were found dead by suicide. One of them, Bryer Schmegelsky, had made a video recording shortly before […]

What about writing out my Will in my own handwriting?

Aretha Franklin’s Story Aretha Franklin, the singer known as the Queen of Soul, died of a pancreatic tumour in August 2018 at the age of 76, leaving an estate estimated at $80 million. It was believed that she had not made a will.  However, in May of 2019, three separate handwritten “wills” were found in […]