Choosing guardians for your children

18-despicable-me-2-animation-movie.1024This article emphasizes the need to carefully choose the guardian for your minor children when making your Wills. In British Columbia the age of majority is 19.  It is important to name contingent guardians just in case the first named guardian cannot act. As this article states the more you document your intended wishes, the more likely these wishes are to be applied. Click HERE

Why families may be headed for inheritance disputes in court – BC’s WESA

Ratcliff Wills and Estate LawCBC recently had an interesting radio interview on The Sunday Edition that discussed the much heralded intergeneration transfer of wealth from those born in the 1930s and 1940s to the baby boomers. With this transfer there is a tension between the saving generation and their children, many of whom are approaching retirement whilst still in debt. There is a hightened risk of elder abuse and estate litigation. This article also mentions that in British Columbia the risk of litigation is increased due to the variation provisions of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act which allows children to challenge wills. CLICK HERE FOR A LINK TO THE PROGRAM

Avoiding a family dispute by making a Will

ESTATEAn effective estate plan can often avoid conflict within your family. Unfortunately, estate disputes can often mean that family relationships deteriorate to the point where the recovery of relationships within the family unit is no longer an option. Estate planning can reduce the risk of such family discord. This article explains some of the steps that can be taken to manage potential  family dysfunction in an estate context. CLICK HERE

Wills, Estates and Succession Act

British Columbia’s laws on Wills and Estates are changing this year. The Wills, Estates and Succession Act (the “WESA”) will come into force on March 31, 2014. The legislation and Rules will result in major changes in practice and procedure. The Vancouver Sun recently commented on the new rules: CLICK HERE and the statute and new probate Rules can be found HERE. Finally, a summary of the significant changes can be found HERE   Read more »

RESPs in your estate plan

It is important to consider your RESPs when planning your estate. As this article reminds us, unless the RESPs are addressed in your Will and other estate planning documentation, your wishes may not be carried out upon your passing: CLICK HERE Read more »

Tax Issues and Estate Planning

An important step in estate administration is to calculate and pay the estate’s tax. Whilst some post-death tax planning is possible, the best time for tax planning is during your lifetime. As this article explains, seeking appropriate tax and legal advice can make a significant difference in seeing estate assets distributed as you would like, rather than a greater portion of the estate being paid as tax to the Canadian Revenue Agency (CRA): CLICK HERE. Read more »

Protecting your digital estate

It is becoming increasingly important to consider digital assets when making an estate plan. The laws relating to digital assets have not kept up with recent the huge changes technology. However, as this article explains, there are a number of helpful tools that can be used to transfer digital assets. CLICK HERE Read more »

Appointing all your children as Executors can be a mistake

Whilst parents often wish to treat their children equally, appointing all your children as Executors together can cause problems. This article suggests that naming more than two or three executors can be a recipe for disaster as all executors must act unanimously. The problem can be mitigated if the will provides for a majority rule clause. CLICK HERE Read more »

Copy of Napoleon’s Will auctioned in Paris

A rare copy of Napoleon’s last Will signed in 1821 was sold at auction in Paris this week. The once-feared general, who conquered half of Europe, had nothing more than a few jewels, sculptures, porcelain crockery and the odd painting at the time of his death. The document fetched $483,000, more than double than what was expected. CLICK HERE Read more »

Calling a family meeting

Wills lawyer North Vancouver

Whilst it is not always appropriate, a family meeting is sometime a useful estate planning tool. This article suggests such a meeting could be helpful in situations where there is a blended family, a family business or some other jointly owned family asset: CLICK HERE Read more »