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Fax: 416-491-0273

Garry Cass, ext.207
Assistant: Josie Dobosz, ext. 277

Do These Estate Planning Horror Stories Really Happen?

There are consequences to our decisions. And yes, bad decisions around estate planning can turn into legal nightmares. A good lawyer’s job is to help you think through the decisions and highlight the foreseeable results.

3 Horror Stories

Example 1.
Imagine you just won $100,000 in the lottery. Since you don’t need the money, I suggest you give the money to some 18 year old you know.

You would probably think I was nuts! But would it surprise you to learn that countless people who would never write such a cheque during their lifetime, inadvertently write it in their Wills?! If a Will says that the gift going to a minor beneficiary is to be paid to him/her when he/she reaches the age of majority and the gift is worth $100,000, guess what?!

Example 2.
John Doe is married for the second time.

  • He has kids from his first marriage.
  • John’s second wife also has kids from her first marriage.
  • John owned the house they live in before he married free and clear but when he learned that joint ownership was a good way to avoid probate fees, he put the title of the house into his and his new wife’s name as joint tenants.

John died before his second wife which left the estate to his wife and her heirs. John’s kids had no legal title to any part of the estate.

Example 3.
John and Jane Doe come from very different backgrounds. They have two infant children and are concerned about who will raise their children should they both die while the kids are young. There are not many people they trust to do the job right and they strongly disagree with the approach of several family members.

While John and Jane have old Wills,  they never get around to adding a clause to nominate a guardian of their choosing. When they die together in a car crash, there is no plan in place to decide who gets the children or how they will be raised. Where will they live? What assurances are there that they will see the other side of their family?

Bottom Line: Think Through Your Will

The bottom line is this: you must think things through. These are only 3 of countless general examples. What could happen in your case is a matter of

  • analyzing your personal circumstances,
  • recognizing the potential problems and
  • choosing a solution.

Competent professionals will challenge you with questions you would not think to ask yourself. People often tell me at the end of initial meetings that I have given them more to think about then they thought was involved. My guiding  phrase is “What if?” Yours should be too.

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