Legal columnist returns after four-year break

Hergott's column returns

Castanet welcomes back columnist, Kelowna lawyer Paul Hergott, who wrote a legal column here from 2014 to 2020. His new column will appear here every Sunday and will focus on legal issues.

Some of you will remember my previous column, Achieving Justice, which was originally published in the Westside section of the Capital News newspaper starting in January 2007.

My legal practice at the time was fighting for innocent injury victims against monolithic insurance companies like ICBC. There was no shortage of injustice for me to write about, though I often went on tangents into completely different topics that caught my attention.

I relish in exposing injustice. My heart warms at the thought I might help a David facing a daunting Goliath.

Road safety topics regularly crept in because most of my clients had been injured in entirely preventable motor vehicle collisions. I naively thought I might help break through the dangerous autopilot of inattention plaguing our roads.

The Capital News phased my column out of print in 2017 but continued to carry it online. Castanet picked it up the beginning of 2014.

After 13 1/2 years, I hung up the column-writing towel. My last column was published July 13, 2020. My legal practice, at the time, was incredibly busy and the column writing process added to very long work weeks away from my family. A weekly passion had become more of a chore and about coming up with a topic than words flowing from passion-filled fingers.

I concluded my last column on a hopeful note.

“So I’m hanging up my keyboard, at least for now. Perhaps when my work week is shaved down and I regain a writing passion, I’ll want to return. And, perhaps there will still be a media platform willing to publish what I’ve got to say.”

My legal practice has dramatically calmed down. In 2023, I got out of the personal injury business altogether in favour of a much more relaxed estate practice. Instead of helping injured victims achieve justice against insurance companies, I now help take beneficiaries and executors through the process of achieving court approval of how an estate will be administered after death. I’ve gone from the injured to the dead!

As boring as the legal field of estate administration and management might seem, it turns out that there are a whole lot of interesting and important topics to write about. Going through the estate side of things exposes all sorts of ways an estate could have been set up better before death to minimize expense and best achieve the testator’s wishes.

Apart from the legalities of the estate itself, it becomes clear that all sorts of steps taken before death can make things so much easier on those left behind.

With the luxury of time, a new field of law and various miscellaneous topics continuing to catch my eye, my writing itch has returned. And I am delighted to learn there are still media platforms willing to carry my column.

When I first started writing, my father warned me to keep my expectations very low for anything in the way of reader feedback. He knew what he was talking about, having been a columnist in his day. Wouldn’t you know, my low expectations were fulfilled.

So, feel free to buck the trend. Any questions you have about estates are probably shared by others. And, if a miscellaneous issue gets your goat, it might inspire me to write about that as well.

I invite you to e-mail me at [email protected] as you identify questions or topics you would like me to tackle.

This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.

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About the Author

Lawyer Paul Hergott began writing as a columnist in January 2007. 

Achieving Justice, based on Paul’s personal injury practice at the time, focused on injury claims and road safety.  It was published weekly for 13½ years until July 2020, when his busy legal practice no longer left time for writing.

Paul was able to pick up writing again in January 2024. After transitioning his practice to estate administration and management.

Paul’s intention is to write primarily about end of life and estate related matters, but he is very easily distracted by other topics.

You are encouraged to contact Paul directly at [email protected] with legal questions and issues you would like him to write about.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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