I am Ed Olkovich, a Toronto estate lawyer and Certified Specialist in Estates and Trusts Law. My blog has breakthrough ideas for estate planning and executors. I aim to provoke, propose and to persuade you to take action.
Ed Olkovich's Recent Articles
Suddenly You Realize What You Need
Einstein entered my law office and told me about his 89-year-old Uncle Andy. “Andy fell again and was rushed by ambulance to the hospital,” Einstein said. Einstein rushed to see his uncle at the hospital. While Einstein was there, Julie, a hospital case worker, spoke to him. “Who would make treatment decisions for your uncle?” […]
Posted: May 9th, 2016 under Estate Planning.
Choose the Right Executors to Protect Your Money
Here’s why people never make wills and how you fix it. Many people do not know who to name as their executor. They cannot envision who would handle their affairs. I ask clients in my law office why they didn’t make a will sooner. Many say, “I could not find the right executor.” Without any […]
Practical Reasons People Do Not Make Their Own Wills
Danny had questions about wills when he called my law office. My practical answer may help you decide how to make your own will. Danny: I have to make a will and don’t know how. All my friends of my age say it’s easy. I have gone online and found so many websites. They offer […]
How to Stop Gambling with Your Estate
Okay, so you don’t go to casinos. But you can still lose a ton of money. It’s easy if you don’t have an estate plan. You can squander your money on taxes, lawyers and court cases. You don’t have to gamble with your financial future. I’ll explain how you can avoid estate gambling risks to […]
Posted: December 8th, 2015 under Estate Planning.
Good Reasons Not to Be an Executor
Do you know the pros and cons of handling an estate for someone? You have to ask questions before they agree to be an executor. Otherwise you can fall into a well of trouble. This is how I explained it to Jay. Jay had a problem and was in my law office asking for help. […]
Posted: August 14th, 2015 under Estate Planning.
Executors, If Only You Knew…
You will likely act as an estate executor someday. You’ll do that for a partner, parent or family member. But will you know what to do while administering an estate? You need to follow certain rules for success. Let me tell you an easy rule I found that works. Record-keeping is Vital Do you have trouble […]
Take Jerry Seinfeld’s Estate Planning Advice
I did not interview Jerry Seinfeld for this article. But I can share with you what he taught me. I was watching Jerry, the all-star comedian, on television. The program host on an entertainment show asked celebrities about their New Year resolutions. Jerry’s answer was short. It was most appropriate. I am paraphrasing his answer. […]
Executors Need Answers to These Questions
Executors are eager to get off to a good start. They dive into estates. However, they need to test the water before jumping in head first. They can avoid grief with proper legal advice. I am an estate lawyer and start by asking executors these ten questions. My advice always depends on the answers I […]
Use Checklists to Review Wills
The biggest benefit of having a will is peace of mind. You make your will to enjoy the benefits during your lifetime. Your loved ones also benefit from an up-to-date will. As I’ll explain, making a will is not a do-it-yourself project. I’ll also give you a checklist to keep your will current. Everyone needs […]
Every Estate Plan Needs One
Making your will is the foundation for all estate planning. You may think making a will is not important. But your loved ones certainly suffer if you don’t have a will. Let’s look at some tricks and truths about making your will. Perhaps you haven’t made your will because you are: confused by all your […]
Joint Bank Accounts Cause Costly Complications
Lots of people have joint bank accounts. You may not understand the dangers these accounts may bring. You may believe joint bank accounts are trouble-free. They can, after all, avoid probate and headaches for loved ones. But the reverse can also happen. Joint accounts can bring heartbreaking nightmares. Married people can benefit from joint accounts. […]
Do You Need a Digital Estate Plan?
Will your estate executor have access to your digital estate? Do you know what is involved in a digital estate plan? It’s more than signing your paper will. Is it enough to leave your email password on a notepad beside your computer? Sorry, no. You need to learn more digital dos and don’ts. Digital assets […]
Are You and Your Business Prepared?
“Did Matthew have a plan to deal with his business?” Sheila’s life partner, Matthew, died a week ago. He ran a successful bookkeeping business. Sheila was in my law office to get advice. Here is what she wished she had known before Matthew had died suddenly. Matthew did not have a will. He and his […]
Canadian Estate Income Tax Returns
If you are an estate executor, it’s tax season. Coping with a deceased’s income tax returns is a burden. Here is some general information about estate income taxes. I have added a final note about executor compensation. First thing’s first, make sure you retain a licensed tax advisor. You need to exercise due diligence hiring […]
Do Zombies Need Estate Planning?
You might be a zombie…if you mindlessly expect: the government to provide for your family when you die your family will respect and understand your final wishes you don’t know why you need a will and powers of attorney Don’t walk around like the walking dead. Instead, use this checklist to assess your risk of […]
Do You Want These Advantages from Estate Planning?
What motivates you to get going? Sometimes the weather gets us down and sometimes it’s our attitude. Sometimes you need a little help to get started. My approach looks at advantages. I motivate people to focus on the advantages they want. You may find this works for you as well. Charles B. needed help. He […]
Do You Want a Cheap Will?
What does it cost to protect your family with a professionally-prepared will? Can you get an inexpensive will? I’ll share a secret about lawyer’s fees for preparing wills. The other day, I was explaining estate planning to an audience: “Estate planning is what you do for the people you leave behind. If you love your […]
Posted: February 21st, 2014 under Estate Planning.
Have You Had Enough?
When it comes to money, you know there are Haves and Have-nots. Here’s something that may surprise you: when it comes to estate planning, it does not matter how much stuff you have. I have learned you can fall into a different category. When it comes to helping your loved ones, which category do you […]
Do You Want These Estate Planning Benefits?
Estate planning may not save lives, but it provides important benefits. Your estate plan makes a difference to the people you care about. You can also benefit your favourite charitable causes. Today, I’ll cover the three key benefits of estate planning. 1. Estate plans provide protection Your spouse and children will need you to protect them […]
You Need to Answer These Estate Planning Questions
Why do you invest your money? My guess is so you don’t have to stay up at night worrying about it. Money makes a difference in your life. You need it to protect yourself and your loved ones. But who will protect your family and your money when you are gone? Everyone can remember when […]
Stop these Top 10 Powers of Attorney Abuses
You must know the risks involved in signing powers of attorney. Here is a list of the top 10 abuses by people acting as attorneys. Still, the benefits of a power of attorney outweigh the risks of not having one. I’ll show you how to protect yourself from power of attorney abuse. Here’s my top […]
More Real Reasons Not to Do Any Estate Planning – Part 2
Think you have good reasons for not making an estate plan? You may have reasons that raise legitimate questions. But sometimes a reason is an excuse to avoid making decisions. Let me help you overcome your excuses. I’ll give you answers to help you protect your family and act. Excuse 4: Making a will is […]
The Real Reasons not to do any Estate Planning
Honestly, I know you have good reasons for not making an estate plan. Some reasons raise legitimate questions of strategy and importance. Let me give you the answers you need to take action. I’ve heard plenty of excuses over 30 years as an estate lawyer. Procrastinating tops the list. I’ve prepared a list of excuses […]
Powers of Attorney: 6 Costly Mistakes to Avoid
You have heard of the advantages of having a power of attorney. Today I’ll explain easy steps you can take to avoid costly mistakes. These mistakes can make your Power of Attorney (POA) useless and put your money at risk. A POA is a legal document that must be in writing and witnessed. You, the […]
The 7 Biggest Estate Planning Blunders to Avoid
1. Never Finding Any Time This is the first and biggest mistake people make — they never do any estate planning. Why does this happen? Are we really too busy or is it that we just don’t know how to get started? For most people, it’s trying to find all the answers by themselves. That’s […]
Are You Sure You’ll Be Around in September?
Yesterday, Dolores, an elderly client, said, “I was getting nervous. I’ve been to 4 funerals in 4 months. I’ve met people at the funerals who told me they still have not made their will. That’s why I am here today to get my will updated.” “You have probably been referring to fifty percent of the […]
Honey, Is It Truly only Your Money?
I cringed reading a recent batch of newspaper advice columns. Someone wrote this: “I want to divide my estate unequally between my successful and unsuccessful children. Can I do it?” The “advice expert’s” answer was short and sweet. She said, “It’s your money. You can do whatever you want with it!” I think this is […]
Why Do You Forsake Family?
By coincidence, this happened a week before Mother’s Day. “I never thought my life would come down to this,” Sharon said. She was an 85 year old mother explaining her fears. She was sitting in a dark leather chair in my law office. Sharon had told my law clerk she needed my help to protect […]
What Executors Can Do To Be Happy
Executor worries don’t have to keep you up at night. Read this so you can avoid the potential for trouble. Don’t worry. Be happy. You don’t want to find yourself trapped in a nasty family battle or courtroom saga. Estate problems can drive you crazy for years. Be prepared to decline to act as executor […]
Making Wills – You Don’t Want to Make These Costly Mistakes
Once upon a time, making a will was easy. It was also easy to make expensive mistakes. This can happen if you don’t get the expert help you need. When it comes to blended families, the danger of making multiple mistakes increases. I’ll tell you the shocking story of a stepson who arranged a will […]
Do You Want to Choose Who Acts as Your Estate Executor?
I encourage everyone to see estate planning not as a chore but a privilege. You get to choose who you want as your estate executor, and you have to make a will. Otherwise, you have no say on who will handle your affairs when you’re gone. Let me give you some tips on choosing the […]
The Scariest RRSP Story
Will you put money into your RSP before the deadline? Are you going to rush over to the bank or your advisor to do that? Then I’ll ask you to remember Jack the pilot’s story as you contribute to your RSP. It will throw you a new curveball and your financial future may not be […]
Lawyers Do Not Have to Drive You Crazy
Yes, you can find lawyers almost everywhere. But it’s a bit scary when you have to hire one. You’ll have all kinds of fears. Will you be able to afford the right lawyer and what will it cost? Changing lawyers can be expensive. Here are some pointers to make sure you get the right lawyer. […]
Executors: Can They Refuse to Handle Your Estate?
Ken Gallagher, the Toronto Star ethics columnist, answers this question in an article. The short answer is yes. No one can force you to act as executor. You may, however, want to handle an estate, especially if you are a beneficiary. You then have a vested interest in being efficient and economical. What should readers […]
Probate: Can You Avoid Costly Money Mistakes?
“My father shouldn’t have made a will,” said Alice. The statement puzzled me a bit since I had made her father’s will. Alice, her father’s executor, sat in a brown leather chair in my law office. Alice said that she already knew everything about probate. But why was she so sure of being right? I […]
Estate Planning Resolutions – 3 Easy Estate Tips to Use Before Super Bowl Sunday
Super Bowl Sunday is coming, and I am making plans already. My lists include who is coming over to watch the game, what to eat and drink. I’m digging up recipes for dips, wings and chili. I have time to stock up on exotic beers. And, oh, some low carb beers to help keep some […]
Why Resolve to Get a Power of Attorney This January?
Power of attorney v. court appointed guardians Making a power of attorney (POA) is simple. If you fail to sign power of attorney it is, sadly, a darker story. Without a POA, no one can manage your affairs if you are suddenly unable. You face going through the costly guardianship process which powers of attorney […]
To Do Or Not To Do With Lawyers
Did you make a promise to yourself this year? I can help if you are still struggling with this question: Do I really need a lawyer to make my will? I’ll answer that question today with a free holiday gift for you. If you want a lawyer, then hire one who regularly handles wills. But […]
New Year’s Resolutions to Protect Your Money and Family
Here are three resolutions that you can make for the New Year. Use them and my tips to protect your money and your family. Then you can pop that cork. Celebrate your good start to the New Year. 1. Resolve to Have a Plan to Save Taxes How do you make sure you don’t pay […]
Estate Planning Teams Do Protect Families
It was American Thanksgiving last week for our friends in the United States. As we get together to give thanks with our friends and families, we realize how we all help one another. When it comes to estate planning, we all need help. I’ll explain how a team approach can help protect your family. If […]
When Wills are Contested – Who Wins and Loses? Part III
You must make a will to protect your family and your money. That’s what estate planning is all about. You do it for the people you leave behind so they do not have problems. This is a series on how your money gets wasted if your will is contested. Yes, a court can declare your […]
When Wills Are Contested – Who Wins and Loses Part II
My last post described the scary things that happen when families contest wills. Stephen was thinking of contesting his uncle’s last will. Here is a letter that I might write to sort out Stephen’s immediate concerns. Dear Stephen, “You asked me to explain if you can contest your uncle’s last will. Since you have a […]
When Wills Go Sour – Who Wins and Loses?
Halloween is almost here. Let’s look at the scary side of estate planning. I see enough nightmares in my law office every day. My scary stories will motivate you to take action. I’ll then show you how to avoid costly money mistakes. You must know people can contest your will. Let me tell you what […]
Estate Planning: Take Action Now Key # 7
John and Jillian, both in their 30s, were going on vacation. They were leaving behind Heather – their five-year old daughter – for the first time. Suddenly they realized that they had no will, guardian, or trust set up for their daughter. They needed to do something immediately. Key #7 to estate planning success requires […]
Powers of Attorney: How to Protect Yourself Today Key # 6
Brian was 82 and trusted his neighbor’s son, Tim. Tim ran errands for Brian, including buying his groceries and medications. Brian would also get Tim to cash his cheques for him at the bank. One day the bank suggested that Brian add Tim’s name to his account. This joint account was supposed to make things […]
Your Estate Planning Obligations: Key #5
Jack worked hard to earn his money as the owner of a small printing business. He had a common estate planning misconception. Jack said, “I can do whatever I want with my money!” Do you think Jack is right? You may not realize that people can challenge what you do in your will. In some […]
How to Choose the Right Executors for Your Estate: Key #4
Imagine you have a daughter, Ann, an accountant, who lives far away on the West Coast. You have another child, Bob, still living at home with you. Who should be the executor to guard your estate? Should it be Ann, the accountant, or Bob, who may end up helping you in your old age? I […]
How to Prepare a Proper Will Quickly: Key #3
Are you, like Simon, travelling without the protection of a will? Simon had no clue how to divide up his estate. He was going on a trip to Dallas. He wanted to make a will before he left. Here are some will tips to help you and Simon. Simon said, “I want to leave $25,000 […]
Estate Planning Key #2 Avoid Major Tax Traps
Do you know the biggest tax mistake you can make? Neither did Karl, a 72-year-old mechanic who was set to undergo open-heart surgery. Karl told his lawyer to register his children as joint owners on the title to his condo. “Was this the best thing to do?” he asked his lawyer after the operation. What […]
Successful Estate Planning Key # 1
The key to winning is to find the starting line. You don’t want to start your estate plan on the wrong foot like Diane did. Diane is a busy mother of twins. She wants her children to be protected should something happen to her. Her idea is that, “Planning an estate is just like cutting […]