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Right Beside You

Estate litigation.  Some people call it “family law for dead people”. 

And one thing it has in common with family law: the emotions can run deep. 

We are pretty sure that you don’t want your children to be squabbling over your money after you’re gone.

However, it’s not the case (at least not in Ontario) that a court would assume each of your children is entitled to an equal share of your estate.  

When you are giving will instructions to your lawyer, how can you lessen the likelihood of estate litigation? 

You can be sure that you think carefully about how you want to divide your estate.  If you have decided that you don’t want to leave equal shares to each of your children, you can communicate your reasons for that decision clearly to your lawyer.

Maybe one of your children has already received substantial gifts of money from you during your lifetime, and now you want to even things up.

Maybe one of your children has done more than the others to take care of you during your lifetime, and you want to recognize that with a larger bequest.

Maybe one of your children has not been in touch with you for many years, and you don’t want to leave anything to that child.

Can you do what you want?  Yes you can, providing that you take into consideration those people who have a legitimate claim against your estate. 

Minor children are entitled to support after your death. An adult child whom you have been supporting before your death may be entitled to ongoing support after your death.   Your spouse is entitled to support after your death, unless there is a domestic contract that says otherwise. 

Your lawyer will take detailed notes when you give your will instructions.  Your will can include reasons for your bequests, or not, just as you choose.  But if your will is challenged after your death, your lawyer’s notes can be put in evidence as to your intentions at the time you made your will.

You’ve worked hard all your life.  You don’t want your estate wasted on the costs of estate litigation.  Careful consideration of how you wish to leave your assets can save litigation costs.  The same careful consideration can also help prevent family rupture after you are gone,  when it’s clear why you allocated your estate as you did.

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Anderson Adams blogs are offered only for the purposes of general information. The law changes over time within our own legal jurisdiction of Ontario, Canada and the content of our blogs may have no applicability to different legal jurisdictions. Anderson Adams cannot and does not warrant or guarantee content of any of our blogs for any particular purpose. Our Anderson Adams blogs do not constitute legal advice or a legal opinion on any subject matter whatsoever and they do not create a solicitor and client relationship.

Anderson Adams is always pleased to note the high readership of the blogs on our website and we hope that you have found this blog interesting. If you have a particular legal problem, then you deserve legal advice and a legal opinion specifically related to your particular circumstances. Please make an appointment with a legal professional in your jurisdiction. If Anderson Adams can help you, we invite you to contact our firm by telephone, 705 436-1701, and book an appointment. One of our clerks will take down a detailed note over the phone so that we can be ready to address your concerns when we meet with you.

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