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Preparing Your Will and Estate to Avoid Disputes

Everyone knows the importance of keeping careful records of your income, assets and expenses for your accountant. But what about doing the same for your family?

The death of a loved one can leave a family dealing with a variety of complex estate, trust and financial matters, in addition to the difficult emotions attached to that loss.

The intricacies of settling wills and estates can become deeply personal when there are complex family dynamics involved.  Sometimes, the help of an Ontario will and estate lawyer may be required to bring resolution to the situation.

Today, family trees in Ontario contain more branches than ever; step parents, half siblings and children of second marriages are all parties that may consider themselves to have an interest in the same estate or trust. Disputes may take place if family members are unclear of the deceased’s intentions.

As more people find themselves dealing with the matter of establishing Power of Attorney for aging parents, or settling the wills and estates of parents who have died, it becomes clear that careful preparation is necessary to avoid possible disputes.

Seeking legal advice can help you to understand what is fair and reasonable under the circumstances, while remaining sensitive to your situation. Your lawyer should be able to analyze the estate issues, manage family dynamics, negotiate a fair and agreeable solution, and resolve any lasting conflicts or disputes that may arise during the process of settling a loved one’s estate or last testament.

Our lawyers can help protect your rights under Ontario’s wills, estates and succession laws, and ensure the proceedings follow current provincial legislation while helping your family negotiate a fair solution.

Tips for preparing your will:

Plan Early – You are never too young to make a will because as we know, accidents can happen. Having a will in place will make the process easier for your loved ones.

Seek Advice – Consulting legal and financial advice will ensure that your finances and possessions are properly distributed and will maximize tax benefits.

Choose Wisely – You should pick your executor wisely because they will act on your behalf and carry out your wishes after you pass. Picking the right person will eliminate confusion or potential disputes.

Outline Funeral – Talking about your own funeral doesn’t happen very often (if ever) and outlining what you would like to happen at your funeral can eliminate confusion between your loved ones.

Update your Will Often – Once you have created a will, it is highly recommended that you update it every 3 to 5 years. Many things in your life can change every few years such as finances, possessions and relationships. Having an updated will can eliminate confusion.

Inform Loved Ones – This may seem like common sense, but one of the often overlooked aspects of having a will is letting people know the location of your will. Usually this is the named executor, however it is wise to let other people know as well.


Contact us if you have questions about settling a will or estate.

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