My Story

I would like to talk about my personal story so you know why this website was created. I have always believed that having a will was essential to ensure ones’ wishes with respect to any inheritance including money, property and possessions are clearly stated. Without a will, the government takes control and follows its own distribution guidelines.I wrote a will many years ago when my daughter was quite young so that she was legally protected. My parents also had a will and in fact changed it a few years ago with a new lawyer. I never gave a second thought to the contents of this new will and made a number of assumptions based on what I thought was a positive relationship with my parents. My world changed when I discovered the truth of how their wills were written!

My parents died a few years ago and left a rather large estate which was equally divided between my brother and me. The will named both of us as executors, as well as my cousin who was adored by my parents, but unfortunately our relationship had been considerably less than ideal for many years. Six months before my mother died, I was told about their decision to include my cousin as an executor and I became extremely upset. Their response was to tell me it was none of my business and they could do exactly as they wanted. I told them that it was most definitely my business and I would have to live with the consequences of their decisions. When the wills were read, I learned that not only was my cousin an executor, but decision making was to be by majority vote. My brother and cousin were buddies and formed a hostile alliance against me with horrifying results such as:

  1. I was not allowed to sign any cheque and my brother left a voice mail saying “ I would never have a veto” and wrote in a letter that “Your signature is not required on any cheque and we will keep it that way.”
  2. Arrangements were made with financial institutions to work around my refusal to sign bank documents
  3. My brother and cousin had an initial meeting with the estate lawyer and accountant without my knowledge or agreement
  4. My cousin was paid $ 15,000.00 from the estate for executor fees. My brother said that he personally paid him an additional $ 5,000.00. It could be interpreted that any pretense of impartiality was completely eradicated by both the giving and acceptance of this money

I did receive my equal share of the estate, but it came at a great emotional cost and the destruction of family relationships. I wish there would have been an impartial person to explain to my parents the long term implications of the decision to include my cousin as a third executor. If they had selected a professional trustee, there would have been no danger of bias. The sad irony is my parent’s last words destroyed any hope of my brother and I developing a relationship and their final act will always have a major affect on how I feel about them.

I was inspired to create this web site after a good friend of my parents had listened to the problems I was experiencing, realized her will could produce major difficulties for her two daughters. She had named 5 executors in her will!! The solution was to ask her daughters to jointly select a third executor to act as tie breaker if there was a deadlock. They selected a person both of them highly respected and now all parties feel very comfortable with the decision and even thanked me!

Her story inspired me as I wondered if I could help others to avoid hurting their children through their will. I realized that I could transform my pain into positive channels by creating Legacy Coaching Services and turn my horrid experience into my legacy of prevention for other families. I encourage you to think about your legacy and how you wish to be remembered.

Contact Information

I can be reached at linda.somers@will-help.com  or 416 – 638-3838 and look forward to talking with you.