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Mutual wills are a common estate planning tool.  Typically, a couple agrees to leave all or most of their estate to the surviving spouse, who then agrees to provide irrevocable gifts over to children.  Mutual wills are premised on an agreement between the spouses that following the death of one of them, the other won’t change their will to defeat their current joint intention.  ...

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It is increasingly common for clients to ask what legal steps are available to help them care for aging parents or relatives.  Generally, they have a relative who is slowly slipping into dementia or some other incapacitating state.  In recent years, the law has done much to remodel the legal landscape to better address these types of situations.  There are new or revised statutes ...

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One of the most common forms of estate planning, particularly among couples, is not to have any plan at all.  That is often a very bad idea for a wide variety of reasons.  However, there are circumstances where it is a good idea and can avoid many estate problems.  This can be done by owning all assets in joint tenancy with your spouse.  Generally, when one of the joint tenants dies, the ...

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In the undocumented world of family relations and finances, money is often provided by one person to another without the exact nature of the transaction being discussed, understood or documented.  Mum provides $20,000 to child to be used towards the purchaser of a house or to fund a year at school.  Granddad pays $15,000 towards a grandchild’s purchase of a business.  Is this ...

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Earlier this year, I wrote a short blog on the right of step-children to claim an inheritance from a step-parent or step-grandparents. The upshot was that, absent a specific bequest in the will, step-children do not have a right of inheritance from a step-parent.  This conclusion was recently made even more forcefully by the B.C. Court of Appeal in the decision Peri v ...

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If Cinderella had not married a prince, she might have cared a bit more about her legal status as a stepchild to her evil stepmother.  It is common ground that the relationships between stepparents and stepchildren can be difficult.  Vince Dixon of the Chicago Tribune recently provided sage guidance on how to mitigate some of those potential problems.  Communication is ...

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This blog is authored by members of the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Department. We follow new and interesting issues emerging in the legal and business communities. The wide range of experience among the members of our litigation group will provide a diverse and insightful examination of current legal trends and topics. Our goal is to provide a source of valuable information and insight on a wide variety of matters for our readers.

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