More Stories from WILLs’ Lawyers

Les Kotzer


Mae was 97 years old when she came to our office to deal with an estate. She was a frail woman who walked with a cane. She appeared to be downcast, even heartbroken, as we began to discuss the business at hand, which was to deal with the administration of her daughter Violet’s estate. Violet was her only child and had just passed away at the age of 79.

“I thought I knew what loneliness was, when I lost my husband, then my brothers and sisters, then, all of my friends. But Violet was always there to pick me up. and she was always there to look after me. She was my world. i didn’t want to outlive her. It’s not fair. But now that Violet‘s gone, my life is empty.”

Mae’s voice was shaking as she struggled with her composure. She continued. “You may see me as a sick old woman, but this isn’t how I always was. want you to see what I used to look like and how happy I used to be.”

Before I could ask my questions, Mae said, “I carry my memories with me. I want you to see my darling Violet.” With that, she took a picture out of her purse and put it on the boardroom table. it was a black-and-white photograph, which appeared to be very old. It depicted an attractive woman, with long curly hair flowing out of the cowboy hat she was wearing. She had a beautiful smile. She was standing beside a pony, holding its reins in one hand. With the other hand, she was holding the hand of a young girl who was also wearing a cowboy hat. The little girl was sitting on the pony.

She pointed to the beautiful woman. “That’s me.” She said. Then she pointed to the little girl. “And that’s Violet when she was 7.

She put one more photograph on the table. This was a classroom picture. Mae had circled Violet’s picture in pen. “This is Violet in the first grade.”

It appeared for the moment that Mae had dealt with her pain, and I began my work by asking for her documents. The first one she put on the table was Violet’s death certificate. But then she picked it up with her right hand, picked up Violet’s class picture with her left hand, looked from the death certificate to the picture, and back again. Then she paused, looked at me with an incredulous, stunned expression, and said, “She was just about to turn 80, and now she’s gone. I can’t believe I’ve lost my baby. What…am I…going to do… now?”


Eighteen months had passed since Grandma had recovered from the heartbreak she suffered when each of her two children tragically perished while they were on vacation. Her son and his wife, together with her daughter and her husband, had left for a road trip, during which all four of them suddenly lost their lives in a car accident.

Each of the couples had left one child. Ethan was her daughter’s son, and Chelsea was her son’s daughter. The two young cousins were staying with Grandma while their parents were to be away for ten days. Now ten days had become forever, and Grandma was in our office to change her Will so that she could appoint a guardian to raise young Ethan and Chelsea, who were currently in her custody.

Grandma’s feelings about what now remained of her little family led her to make one comment that will stay with me for a very long time: “I’m going to leave a note to the guardian that I have raised my grandchildren, Ethan and Chelsea, not as the cousins that they are, but as brother and sister. I want to make sure the guardian does the same when I’m no longer around.

Les Kotzer has been featured on CTV News, City TV, CNN, Fox and is a regular call in guest on the Barb DiGiulio show on Newstalk 1010.

In 2013, Les Kotzer received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal for his work in wills and protecting families.

Michelle Kotzer received her law degree from the University of Windsor, Faculty of Law, and she also received a Certificate in Elder Law from Osgoode Hall Law School.

If you wish to make a will appointment with Les or Michelle you can call 905-881-1500 ext. 22 or email them at or , or visit our website and fill out our online contact form.

Barry M. Fish has been dealing with probate, estate and real estate issues since the founding of the firm in June, 1973. The law firm is located at 7951 Yonge Street, Thornhill, Yonge Street (south of Highway 7), and our phone number is (905) 881 -1500 Email;

Fish & Associates is located at 7951 Yonge Street (North of Steeles, South of Hwy 7) in a turn of the century home with plenty of free parking. You can also visit to watch Les’ complimentary will and power of attorney information seminar.

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