Stratford Wills and Estate Lawyers

Are you making plans for your family’s future? Have you been designated as an estate trustee? Do you have grounds to contest a will? 

No matter what situation you are in, legal matters related to wills and estates can be emotional, personal, and uncomfortable to discuss. No one enjoys thinking about challenging subjects, like their own death or their wishes for their end-of-life care. Carrying out the duties of an estate trustee can be complicated, especially while grieving the loss of someone close to you. And disputing inheritances can unearth deep-rooted interpersonal conflicts, especially between family members of the deceased. 

That is why it is so important to work with a lawyer you can trust. At Cohen Highley LLP, our wills and estate lawyers serving Stratford provide clients with personalized legal services and clear communication. Our Stratford wills and estate lawyers appreciate the fact that many people who require our services are experiencing grief and loss. We make a point of respecting our clients’ emotions while advising and assisting our clients through their challenging legal matters.

Our wills and estate lawyers serving Stratford have combined decades’ worth of experience helping members of the local community with a wide dearth of matters related to wills and estates. These include, but are not limited to:

  • Probate applications
  • Designating powers of attorney
  • Directives
  • Removing an executor from a will
  • Challenging a will
  • Estate fiduciary duties
  • Passing of accounts
  • Settling the estate
  • Estate trustees
  • Identification and valuation of assets
  • Guardianship matters
  • Beneficiary matters
  • Certificate of Estate Trustees
  • Guiding executors
  • Charitable trusts
  • Investment properties and other investments
  • And more

Cohen Highley LLP understands that the arrangements our clients make with our Stratford wills and estate lawyers will be some of the most consequential decisions of their lives. To discuss your situation and learn more about the services we provide, schedule an initial consultation with our wills and estate lawyers serving Stratford by calling Cohen Highley LLP today.

Estate Planning

The term “intestate” refers to people who lose their lives before creating a will. In this province, when an intestate person passes away, having left no specific instructions as to how they would like their assets to be distributed to beneficiaries, their estate will instead be divided in accordance with the system legislated by Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act.

The only way to ensure your opinion about exactly how you would like your estate to be divided is by creating a valid will. While the system outlined in the Succession Law Reform Act does favour the intestate person’s close family members, any specific wishes the deceased might have intended to fulfill will not be taken into consideration. Furthermore, if an intestate Ontarian does not have a next of kin, their assets will become the property of the provincial government. 

This is why estate planning is so important. You deserve to have a say about how your assets will be divided after you are gone. Taking decisive action now can help ensure your family’s financial stability in the future.

In addition to helping clients finalize their last wishes, our Stratford wills and estate lawyers can help you formulate contingency plans for worst case scenarios you might encounter later in your life. By designating powers of attorney for both your property and personal care, our wills and estate lawyers serving Stratford can help ensure that you will be protected in the event of your incapacitation. 

A designated power of attorney for property is someone who has the authority to manage your finances should you become unable to do so later in life. A designated power of attorney for personal care handles decisions about your medical treatment, living arrangements, and end of life care should you be unable to express your opinions or become mentally incapacitated in the future. 

Due to the personal and sensitive nature of these subjects, many people put off planning for the future. Unfortunately, in some cases, people continue delaying these important conversations until it is too late. Having peace of mind in the future means taking responsible action now. To get started today, call our Stratford wills and estate lawyers.

Estate Administration

Unless you have previous experience with wills and estate administration, tackling the responsibilities of an estate trustee (formerly referred to as an “executor”) can be a confusing and complicated process. Estate trustees are typically expected to complete their duties within one year. Without proper legal assistance, meeting various deadlines and executing different tasks can be a challenge. 

Oftentimes, people who have been designated as an estate trustee once had close connections to the deceased. In those cases, the tasks associated with estate administration can be further complicated by the complex emotions experienced while they mourn their personal loss.

To relieve the stress that often comes with estate administration, consider consulting with our wills and estate lawyers serving Stratford. With a working knowledge of probate procedures and other protocols, our Stratford wills and estate lawyers offer guidance and support to newly designated estate trustees in the local community. 

Learn more about how our wills and estate lawyers serving Stratford may be able to provide you with assistance throughout the process of wrapping up an estate by scheduling a consultation with Cohen Highley LLP.

Estate Litigation

Disputes over inheritances and bequeathments can be challenging to navigate. Oftentimes, these conflicts involve close family members of a recently deceased individual, and understandably, the emotions of everyone involved in the dispute can be heightened. As such, the process of estate litigation can be upsetting, and conflicts can be difficult to resolve expediently. That is why it is so important to make sure you are working with the right wills and estate lawyer.

Many testators (people who created valid wills) carefully consider exactly how their estate should be divided among their beneficiaries. However, certain relatives, romantic partners, business associates, or friends may feel as though they have been intentionally left out, especially if promises made to them during the testator’s lifetime have gone unfulfilled. 

That said, neglected beneficiaries cannot contest a will because they feel they have been treated unfairly. There are, however, certain legal grounds on which a person may be entitled to do so. These specific circumstances are outlined in the province’s Estates Act. They include:

  • The will is considered invalid because it was unsigned, or no witnesses were present at the time it was executed.
  • There is proof that the will was created under duress, undue influence, or while mentally incapable of making sound decisions.
  • Evidence exists to suggest that the will is fraudulent or has been falsified. 
  • A previously created, valid will is now void because of a subsequent marriage later in life.
  • Sudden changes to the will were made later in the testator’s life after a remarriage. 
  • And more

At Cohen Highley LLP, our wills and estate lawyers serving Stratford appreciate the value of ensuring that all parties involved in a dispute feel heard. Owing to the personal nature of these conflicts, our Stratford wills and estate lawyers offer personalized solutions. We attempt to resolve all matters as efficiently and amicably as possible. 

To discuss your situation with our wills and estate lawyers serving Stratford and learn how we may be able to support you through this difficult experience, contact Cohen Highley LLP today.

Consult with Our Stratford Wills and Estate Lawyers Today

At Cohen Highley LLP, our wills and estate lawyers serving Stratford prioritize the needs of the clients we represent. We realize the personal importance of the decisions our clients make and do not take our responsibility lightly. Our Stratford wills and estate lawyers know that your voice deserves to be heard. 

It is never too late to start preparing for the future. To schedule an initial consultation with Cohen Highley LLP by contacting our wills and estate lawyers serving Stratford today.

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