All About Estates

Farewell Your Majesty

Whether you are a Royal watcher or not, today we are in mourning.  Today, with the rest of Canada, the United Kingdom and the world, we mourn the loss of the longest-reigning British Monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. On Thursday September 8, 2022, the Queen passed away at the age of 96 at Balmoral Castle with her family by her side.

Born April 21, 1926, Elizabeth Alexandra Mary, became the Queen of the United Kingdom on February 6, 1952 at the age 25 years, when her father, King George VI unexpectedly passed away.  This past June, the Queen celebrated her Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years since she acceded to the throne.

On her 21st birthday, the then Princess Elizabeth delivered her most iconic speech, in which she said “I declare before you all that my whole life whether it be long or short shall be devoted to your service and the service of our great imperial family to which we all belong.”  The Queen did just that.  While, there had been concerns about her health over the last several months with official duties and engagements being assigned to the other members of the Royal family, just days before her passing, the Queen appointed Britain’s new Prime Minister, Liz Truss.

In 2020, the Queen’s personal wealth was estimated to be worth £350 million, making her the 372nd richest person in the UK (can you imagine that there are 371 people who are more wealthy than the Queen!).  In the UK, testamentary documents, much like here in Ontario, are usually public record after someone’s death.  However, it has been a practice for over a century for the testamentary documents of royal family members to be sealed and kept private.  In 2021, it was determined that Prince Philip’s Will is to remain sealed for at least 90 years in order to protect the monarch’s privacy.  Sir Andrew McFarlane, the President of the England and Wales High Court Family Division, determined that “it is necessary to enhance the protection afforded to the private lives of this unique group of individuals, in order to protect the dignity and standing of the public role of sovereign and other close members of Her family.[1]  With the Queen’s passing, I would imagine that a similar court ruling will be sought to seal the Queen’s Will.  If this is the case, we will likely never know what her Majesty’s final testamentary wishes were.

Reports suggest that preparations with respect to the Queen’s funeral were made as early as the 1960s, which as you can imagine, have evolved over the last several years, with scenarios considered if the Queen died in England, Scotland or elsewhere.   As the world awaits the official announcement of the details surrounding the funeral for the Queen, concurrent plans are underway for Charles, the Prince of Wales’ accession to the throne.  The Accession Council will meet to proclaim Charles as the new monarch.  On the third day after the Queen’s death, Charles, being the new monarch will receive the motion of confidence at Westminster Hall and then depart on tour of the United Kingdom.

Under the Interpretation Act[2], the governor general to Canada has to issue a formal proclamation offering condolences on the Queen’s passing.  Canada, as a member of the Commonwealth will be in a mourning period for the coming days, with the period ending with a national day of mourning when a commemorative service will be held to mark the Queen’s passing.

The Queen is survived by her children, Charles, Anne, Andrew and Edward, 8 grandchildren and 12 great-grandchildren.


“It is not one to which I have ever aspired.  Inevitably, a long life can pass by many milestones my own is no exception.” – Queen Elizabeth II on marking her 50 years as a monarch.


[1]      STEP Article dated Monday, 20 September 2021

[2]      R.S.C. 1985, c. I-21

About Jennifer Campbell
Jennifer Campbell is a Law Clerk in the firm’s Toronto Private Client Services Group and Trusts, Wills, Estates and Charities Group. Jennifer has extensive experience assisting executors and trustees in managing complex, high-value estates and trusts. Jennifer specializes in the administration of estates and trusts. Assisting in all aspects of estates work, Jennifer’s primary responsibilities include providing support to the lawyers in the practice group, the day-to-day administration and management of estates and trusts, including gathering in assets, winding up of estates and trusts and distributing assets to beneficiaries. Jennifer is responsible for the preparation of all probate related documentation, preparation of estate and trust accounts, the preparation of court documentation in connection with passing of accounts and has experience in assisting individuals establish bare trust arrangements in connection with their estate planning solutions. Jennifer has received a Certificate in Estates and Trust Administration from STEP Canada.

1 Comment

  1. Doris Bonora

    September 9, 2022 - 1:23 pm

    Very nice tribute!!

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