Estate Planning: An individual’s property and assets — including real estate, bank accounts, life insurance policies, stocks, and personal property such as automobiles and jewellery. This article is about a “child” in their 50’s who feels “gutted” by the way in which their parent has set out their estate plan. 

A distraught sibling contacts an advice columnist seemingly out of desperation: the sibling and his/her brother are set to inherit money from their parents (money that they both assumed would be evenly split among them). Surprise, surprise, both the sibling and their brother were shocked to learn their parents would be dividing up their inheritance in one-fifths: one-fifth each among the following; the sibling, the brother, and the rest to be spread out among each of the brother’s children (i.e. the grandchildren). Their parents estate planning appears grossly unfair to the child in question: the person feels neglected, as they are the child the parents often reach out to in times of help. Therefore, the person in question feels slighted. What advice would you offer? Every child wants to feel loved on the same level as their siblings. It’s not always about the money but the feeling of being included. On the surface, the estate plan appears equitable as everyone is getting an equal share, but the child in question feels as though he/she went above and beyond for their parents. Depending on the situation at hand, there may be several reasons as to why the parents in question divided up their estate the way they did: perhaps one  needs more financial help than another; perhaps one child has more health issues than the others. If  the parents in question were to leave behind more of their assets in favour of the particular child feeling neglected, the other siblings would be resentful of their parents. Feeling undervalued and ignored, the person turns to an advice columnist for help: 

 Can I tell my parents their estate plan hurts my feelings?

We get that question a lot: I’ve finished my Last Will. What do I with it now that I’ve completed it? Do I need to have it notarized? Do I need to have it signed by a lawyer?

There are several steps you should take after completing your last will and testament:

  1. Sign the document: In order for a will to be legally valid, it must be signed by the person making the will (the “testator”) in the presence of at least two witnesses. The witnesses should also sign the will to confirm that they witnessed the testator signing it.
  2. Shred any previous Wills, Power of Attorney documents, Living Wills, etc. These documents should be shredded because the new ones that you create will take precedence over the old ones. It will help to avoid any confusion.
  3. Keep the Will in a safe place: It is important to keep your will in a safe and secure place where it can be easily accessed by your loved ones after your death. Some options for storing a will include a safe deposit box, a fireproof safe, or with an attorney or other trusted individual.
  4. Let your loved ones know where the Will is located: It is a good idea to let your loved ones know where your will is located so that they can easily access it after your death. You may also want to consider naming a trusted individual as the executor of your Will, who will be responsible for carrying out your wishes as outlined in the document.
  5. Review and update the Will regularly: It is important to review your will periodically and make any necessary updates to reflect any changes in your circumstances or wishes. You should update your will if you get married, have children, acquire significant assets, or experience any other major life events.

Everyone wants to win the lottery. You’ve probably fantasized about what you would do if you have won the lottery: travel, pay off your debts, provide for your loved ones, etc. That last part is a particular sore point for the  Lloyd family. When you think of squabbles over money, you think of rich families and their greedy relatives, all trying to grab their piece of pie. You probably don’t think of family members fighting over lottery winnings. After all, winning the lottery is a joyous occasion (for most people). Frances Lloyd, mother of three, was elated when she won $3 million in the lottery. She promised to purchase a new home and give the money to her loved ones. 

Unfortunately, Lloyd passed away in January of 2022 without a Last Will and Testament. Right before her passing, she deposited her winnings in a joint account with her daughter, Lisa, to assist with with paying bills and purchases. $500,000 of that money was allegedly given to Lisa to help her and her husband with the purchase of a new home. Lloyd’s other two children, Stephen and Frances, are now suing their sibling for what they feel is their rightful share of the $3 million dollars. The suit is pending. You can read more here.

Need a quick pick-me-up? A taxi driver from Nova Scotia left behind a massive fortune to his community; an inheritance that will be cherished for decades! We hear stories like this from time to time; someone working an ordinary job (e.g. a janitor or a teacher) who ends up surprising everyone after their passing. There’s a similar story about a janitor who died with millions to his name. There was also the teacher who left behind a sizeable donation to the school she taught at. An astronomical sum of money is bequeathed for the benefit of the community. The biggest question is: how did these people manage to save up millions from these types of jobs? Frugality and saving up every penny is usually the way they did it, but at the same time, they passed on without properly enjoying the money. Many people want that type money in their prime: they want to be able to enjoy vacations, paying off debts, etc. Is it worth it to save a fortune, but not to be able to save it?  

On the flip side, the taxi driver (and the janitor referenced in the article above) left behind millions to their loved ones. At least the money wasn’t squandered. 

This story is no exception: a retired taxi driver by the name of John MacLellan, who worked as a taxi driver for 63 years until his retirement at the age of 83, left an entire community astonished when he entrusted his fortune to the St. Martha’s Regional Hospital in Nova Scotia. Located in Antigonish, St. Martha’s Regional Hospital is the only catholic hospital in the province. He passed away at 96 with a fortune in the bank. The inheritance will be put to good use. 

How did John leave behind a whopping $1.68 million to a hospital? Maybe some answers could be found here