All About Estates

Family Holiday and Family Strife – Kissing Cousins?

The holiday season has arrived in all of its splendor – a whirlwind of the sacred and the secular. Certainly for many of us, Christmas comes lumbering in pregnant with expectation and a good deal of dread; it can be a difficult time for some for a variety of reasons.

Some estate litigators swear that their business goes up after every major family holiday (the dinner table fights and slights are legendary). For my part, I am not so sure. What fuels family conflict and causes litigation to finally erupt remains murky to me.

If I can offer any advice to clients and potential clients at this time of year, it would be enjoy the season and keep their cool. Become practiced at biting your tongue and think long and hard before jumping on the litigation bandwagon. The litigation clichés are largely true: “it is not a tea party”; “don’t bring a knife to a gun fight”; “litigation is emotionally and financially exhausting”… so pay heed. Once you embark on litigation, there is no turning back. Spouses and partners should also remember that it is not their family and to mind their own business; egging on a spouse or partner is not productive.

On a more lighthearted note, I would like to thank all of my fellow bloggers for the contributions they have made in 2015. All About Estates is now a popular and widely read blog. I like to think it has added something to the debate when it comes to estates, trusts and capacity issues. I would also like to thank our readers who have remained loyal, provided insightful comments, and added to the debate in their own way.

Best of the Season and Happy Litigating!


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About Justin de Vries
Justin has been consistently named as one of the Best Lawyers in Canada/Trusts & Estates. He is an accomplished litigator who has appeared before all levels of the Ontario Court & the Federal Court of Canada. Justin's areas of expertise include: estate, trust, and capacity litigation, as well as probate applications and estate administration. He regularly speaks on estate, trust and capacity issues. Email: