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The Battle Over a Handwritten Will: A Reminder of the Importance of Estate Planning

Estate planning is a crucial aspect of preparing for the future, but it is often overlooked or put off until it is too late. The recent court battle over a handwritten will signed by a Hamilton man sixteen days before his death is a poignant reminder of why estate planning is so important.

Alphons Malack Guirgues signed a handwritten will in the hospital giving his condo to Saint Mina's Coptic Orthodox Church. However, his common-law partner, Lianne Liu, claims the will was obtained under "suspicious circumstances" and is now in a court battle against the church. Liu claims that she only learned of the emergency will two months after it was executed and argues that the will is invalid due to the church's "undue influence" on her dying partner.

The church's lawyer, Alia Khan (Potestio Law firm), argues that Liu has no legal standing to challenge the will and should instead be proceeding with a dependency claim for financial relief for caring for Guirgues. Estate mediators and litigators Charles Ticker and Arkin Furrow Estate Law LLP also stated that Liu won't directly benefit from challenging the will because she wouldn't inherit the condo even if the will is declared invalid.

According to Ontario government rules, if Guirgues didn't have a will and the emergency will is declared invalid, his brother, sister, and niece would inherit the condo, and Liu wouldn't inherit anything since they were common-law.

This court battle over a handwritten will is a reminder of why it is so important to carefully consider your estate planning. Estate planning helps to avoid family, friends, and others ending up in a fight over your estate. It allows you to make decisions about what will happen to your assets and who will take care of your affairs in the event of your death or incapacity.

In conclusion, estate planning is not only a smart financial move, but it also helps to ensure that your wishes are honored and your loved ones are protected. Don't wait until it is too late. Take control of your future and carefully consider your estate planning options today.

Practice area(s): Estate Planning, General Practice, Personal Injury

Alia Khan

Alia obtained her Juris Doctorate from the University of Toronto. As a teenager of divorced parents she spent years learning how to work hard to take care of her family while also pursuing her career. She funded herself through the top law school in Canada and was trained a top boutique firm on Bay Street.

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