We caught up with estate lawyer and longtime NoticeConnect advisor Kavina Nagrani, JD, TEP, from Loopstra Nixon LLP, this month.
Congratulations on being named Chair of the CBA's Elder Law Section for 2019-2020. What have you set out to accomplish in this role?
Thank you. It is quite an honour. Our national executive has an exciting roadmap ahead. We have 3 professional development webinars on the agenda: 1) Marijuana Use in Long-Term Care 2) Vulnerable Investors and 3) we are joining forces with the CBA Health Law section to provide an update on MAID (Medical Assistance in Dying).
We will be hosting pizza lunches at specific law schools across the country to educate law students about the legal issues faced by our aging population and what some of the practical and ethical challenges we as lawyers face when dealing with elderly clients, irrespective of the area of law.
November is Make-a-Will month. What are some misconceptions that the public has about wills and drafting?
How much time do you have ? 😊 The list of misconceptions about Wills is a long one! Here are four myths:
- You only need a Will if you have assets. – Not true. There are other areas of estate administration where a Will and appointed Executor may be useful.
- Married couples only need one (joint) Will. - Not true. There is no such thing as a “joint will” in Ontario. Although spouses usually have what we call “Mirror Wills”.
- A Will kit or internet Will is a good idea. – Not true. 'Nuff said.
- Step-children who are treated as one’s own child will inherit on an intestacy. – Not true. Just another good reason to actually make a Will.
What advice do you have for new calls who are starting out in wills and estates?
Estates is a complex practice area. A competent estate lawyer should have a good understanding of tax, real estate law, family law and corporate law in order to give effective estate planning advice. So while you don’t have to be an expert in all areas, it is wise to stay on top of any major changes and developments in other areas of the law which could have an impact on your client’s overall estate plan.
How do you think technology will change the practice of estate law in the next 10 years?
Changes are already happening. Look at NoticeConnect for example! The Will Registry and your Notice functionalities are becoming ‘the norm’ in my world. Gone are the days of publishing notices in the local paper.
Younger and tech-savvy clients like the use of online forms to submit information to their advisors. Lawyers are always looking for ways to be more efficient. The launch of the Hull e-State Planner software is one example of a tool lawyers use to take instructions which gives clients a more visual experience in the estate planning process.
For clients and advisors, a new app called Sidedrawer is making waves as it aims to provide clients with a digital drawer to help them organize all of their important estate data with the added functionality of then sharing their drawer with all of their advisors (lawyers, accountants etc). Although face-time with our clients is irreplaceable, technology will serve to make us more efficient.