All residents of Ontario should make provisions for the distribution of their estates after they pass away. For some, this may mean little more than creating a simple will and granting power of attorney in case of incapacitation. For those with more complicated estates, careful estate planning is essential, especially in the digital era of the 21st century.
Last year, a CIBC report indicated that an estimated $750 billion in assets is expected to pass into the hands of baby boomers over the next decade. That's a lot of wealth transferred - in fact, the largest expected in Canadian history. Yet, before the windfall, many families are likely to weather storms as disputes arise between heirs over the distributions. If you're an adult child, then a recent BMO report may serve as a good wakeup call, signalling the wisdom of advance planning and communication with both your siblings and parents.
A will is a legally documented instruction of a person's specific orders for the distribution of his or her assets upon death. If a person believes the will of a family member or a friend does not reflect the deceased person's true final wishes, he or she may be entitled to bring a will challenge. However, this is a complicated field of estate law, and pursuing this particular type of legal proceeding often requires legal guidance.
Some individuals heading to court may decide to represent their case independently, without involving a lawyer. Choosing such a course for litigation presents its own challenges, requiring skill and planning.
Individuals who are planning to sue and are asking for damages amounting to $25,000 or less may bring the suit before the Ontario Small Claims Court. Such claims must fall under the category of money owed under a contract or claims for damages.