All About Estates

“I Don’t Care If Johnny Is In Jail, He’s My Little Boy!”

Thus begins Mistake #24. 

With input from a number of estate and trust professionals (including my associate Paul Fensom and me), Jean Blacklock and Sarah Kruger have written an engaging, entertaining and informative book entitled: “The 50 biggest estate planning mistakes…and how to avoid them” (2011, published by John Wiley & Sons Canada, Ltd) .

The “mistakes” run the gamut from “Selecting The Wrong Executor” (Mistake #23) to “Making Errors That May Result In Additional Taxation Of Your Estate” (Mistake #36). The authors agree that while it may be impossible to identify the biggest mistake, they have found that most of the mistakes involve one of three themes:

1. procrastinating;
2. not taking the estate-planning process seriously enough; and
3. underestimating a possible problem and overestimating the people we love.

Jean and Sarah provide interesting, and sometimes humorous, examples of each of the mistakes, and, most importantly, provide some tips (their “points to take away”) on avoiding them.

It has been my experience that the disciplines of estate planning and estate administration (including, estate litigation) are equal parts technical (think law, tax, accounting) and personal (think family dynamics, sibling rivalry). This view is reflected in “the mistakes”. So whether you want to avoid having your estate pay too much tax or you want to avoid the pitfalls inherent in naming all of your children as your executors (mistake # 24), I commend this book to you.

And in honour of St. Patrick’s Day, I leave you with this Irish Blessing:

May you live as long as you want and never want as long as you live.

Thanks for reading.

Elaine Blades

About Elaine Blades