All About Estates

We Are Not Fortune Tellers But….

Today’s blog is being brought to you by guest blogger, Krista Brown, a law clerk in the Private Client Services group of Fasken LLP.

The year 2020 has proven to be quite challenging thus far. It is a test and a reminder of the importance of our job as estate practitioners. We spend our days assisting clients in preparing for unforeseen circumstances, such as the birth of children and grandchildren, the death of people we hold near and dear, changes in employment, separation and divorce, and unexpected illness.   Encouraging clients to turn their minds to having their Will drafted can sometimes be a difficult and painstaking process for them. None of us, including our clients, enjoy contemplating our demise, but I’m sure very few have contemplated issues that might arise as a result of a global pandemic!

As many are in self-isolation, now is the perfect time to assess how we can reiterate the importance of Will planning to our clients, including finally setting up that spousal trust they have been discussing or the trusts for issue, in order to ensure that their loved ones are adequately provided for. Many of us, when meeting with clients, take the opportunity to remind the clients of the importance of reviewing their Will every 3 to 5 years, or when there has been a significant change in their lives, i.e. a death.

At this moment, we are all experiencing change and it has likely prompted our clients to begin the process of assessing their current estate plan to determine whether it is up-to-date and currently reflects their wishes and their life circumstances. To alleviate the panic contributing to these unforeseen circumstances, it is important that we, as estate practitioners, assist and gently nudge our clients to advance the process of completing their estate planning so that they feel secure in the knowledge that their estate plan is up-to-date. We are not fortune tellers, so we have no ability to determine what the future holds, but we can put our best foot forward in taking steps to ensure our clients are prepared for it.

About Maureen Berry
Maureen Berry is a partner in the Trusts, Wills, Estates and Charities group at Fasken. Maureen’s practice is focused on wills, estate planning, domestic and international trusts, private corporation taxation, and executive compensation. Maureen also advises charities and non-profit organizations. Working with Canadian and international families, firms, corporations and charitable organizations, she provides advice on all aspects of private client matters. She is a leading expert in the fields of tax law and estate planning. As an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, she teaches Advanced Estate Planning. Maureen has previously taught corporate tax and international tax at the University of Toronto and Western University, along with the Bar Admission course for up-and-coming lawyers.

1 Comment

  1. Rowena Griffiths

    March 20, 2020 - 3:31 pm

    Thank you for this timely insight…

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