Family Tensions with Wills and Estates
This past Sunday’s episode of CBC’s Sunday Edition, which aired on November 23, featured a discussion on family feuds over wills and estates. The discussion focused around the reality and consequences of the inter-generational transfer of wealth between Canadians.
The program’s guests, Jan Goddard and Laura Tamblyn Watts, highlighted some areas of note that can result in tension, sometimes leading to destroyed family relationships. The following are examples of types of tension that arise in situations involving wills and estates:
- Various laws across the country that govern this area may ignite a tension between the free will of a testator and their legal obligations to others, such as their spouse or a dependant
- Tension can arise between children and a step-parent with regards to competition for financial resources
- An aging population means that there may be a growing tension between parents that are living to an older age and their baby boomer children who have acquired significant debt
- The diminishing capacity of an older parent could cause their child concern over their future security, instead of focusing on the care of their parent
- People are living longer, making individual costs of care grow, which, in turn reduces inheritance. Children acting as attorneys have a duty to do what is best for the parent, with no regard for their future inheritance
On the surface, family disputes regarding wills and estates appear to be all about the money. It is pointed out, however, that often feelings, sentimental value and a struggle for control are also involved.
Thank-you for reading,