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Category Archives: TOPICS

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Family Tensions with Wills and Estates

Posted in Elder Law, In the News
This past Sunday’s episode of CBC’s Sunday Edition, which aired on November 23, featured a discussion on family feuds over wills and estates. The discussion focused around the reality and consequences of the inter-generational transfer of wealth between Canadians. The program’s guests, Jan Goddard and Laura Tamblyn Watts, highlighted some areas of note that can … Continue Reading

Hot-Tubbing Experts

Posted in General Interest, Litigation
‘Hot tubbing’– or ‘concurrent evidence’ as it is more formally known, is a means of eliciting expert evidence at trial, whereby the expert witnesses give their evidence in chief together and by engaging in discussion directly with the trial judge and each other. This approach is significantly different from the traditional model of cross-examination, in … Continue Reading

Trial Strategies

Posted in Litigation
I attended a very helpful CLE yesterday on trial strategies.  While a large amount of material was covered addressing preparation for trial, I particularly identified with the following points made by various speakers about events during trial:  Ensure the tone and style of your presentation suits the case; A great advocate is a master story-teller … Continue Reading

Is the Date to Determine Adequate Provision for a Claimant a Moving Target?

Posted in Common Law Spouses, Litigation, Support After Death
In wills variation proceedings in British Columbia, the date for determining whether a testator made adequate provision for a claimant is the date of death. However, in Eckford v. Vanderwood the British Columbia Court of Appeal considered the situation where the claimant’s circumstances changed after death, and whether that should impact upon the date to … Continue Reading

Mirror v. Mutual Wills

Posted in Estate Planning, Wills
Mirror wills are made by two people to benefit one another. If one should predecease, an alternate beneficiary, agreed upon by both testators is to benefit. Mirror wills are often made by spouses and designate their children as the alternate beneficiaries. Mutual wills are a similar, yet clearly distinguishable, estate planning vehicle. The doctrine, described … Continue Reading

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Posted in Capacity, Litigation
At the recent Estates and Trust Summit, Ian M. Hull spoke about the difficult legal consideration of testamentary capacity, and the impact of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NDP) on one’s soundness of mind.  In Mr. Hull’s paper, the medical information cited refers to persons with NPD as viewing themselves in grandiose terms, believing themselves to be … Continue Reading

The Role of Insurance in Estate Planning

Posted in Estate Planning
The value of insurance should not be overlooked in estate planning. Here are just a few reasons why having insurance can be an important part of your overall estate plan: (1) Insurance can preserve your existing estate Pursuant to the deemed disposition rules contained within the Income Tax Act (Canada), all capital property owned at … Continue Reading

Joint Tenancy Trap

Posted in Estate Planning
My mother recently told me that she wanted to transfer her home into joint tenancy with me and my brother to avoid taxes upon her death. Someone at her work had told her that if she didn’t do this, we would have to pay significant tax on the value of the house if we received the … Continue Reading

Nova Scotia on the brink of making a bold move to increase rates of organ donation

Posted in Estate & Trust, Ethical Issues, Health / Medical, In the News, Uncategorized
Organ donation rates across Canada are dismal, really. Canada consistently ranks in the bottom half of industrialized countries where transplants are performed. Many factors affect donation and procurement rates. Spain, Portugal, France and Austria have high organ donation rates because these countries have adopted a ‘presumed consent’ framework whereby organs and tissues are essentially considered … Continue Reading

Winding up a Trust

Posted in Estate & Trust
Many people are aware of the rule in Saunders v. Vautier (1841), 41 E.R. 482, which essentially provides that when all potential beneficiaries who may receive an interest in a trust are sui juris (i.e. legally capable), and consent to the variation and/or winding up of a trust, that it is within the rights of … Continue Reading

Control of private corporations in the event of incapacity

Posted in Power of Attorney
The use of private corporations, both as a tax planning strategy and as a way to potentially limit personal liability, has become an increasingly popular way for individuals to control and manage their property during their lifetime. While the actual management structures of these corporations are limitless, under many circumstances the structure is fairly straightforward, … Continue Reading

Canadians and Charity

Posted in Charities, News & Events
On Monday, the Right Honourable David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada, announced a new initiative entitled Dare2Give, which is part of the My Giving Moment campaign. Dare2Give encourages Canadians to dare their friends, family and colleagues to donate or volunteer with them. The idea behind Dare2Give is that daring is an effective way to … Continue Reading

Can spousal rollovers be effected to two spouses on the death of one taxpayer?

Posted in Estate & Trust, Estate Planning
When an individual who is resident in Canada dies, subsection 70(5) of the Income Tax Act (“ITA”) provides for a deemed disposition of that individual’s capital property at fair market value. This often results in capital gains tax being immediately payable by the deceased’s estate. However, subsection 70(6) of the ITA provides for a tax-free … Continue Reading

Dead Give Away: Reforms to the Tax Treatment of Charitable Bequests

Posted in Charities, Estate & Trust, Estate Planning
Individuals often include charitable bequests in their estate planning.  Such bequests are typically structured as: Gifts by one’s Will, where the testator directs his or her estate trustees to make a specific charitable gift on his or her behalf (the “Will Gift”); Gift by the testator’s estate where a gift is made at the discretion … Continue Reading

Are Two Wills Better than One?

Posted in Wills
It is said that two heads are better than one, except when those two heads contradict one another, leading to problems.  The same could be said about multiple wills. The use of multiple wills has become a popular technique in Ontario as a means of reducing estate administration taxes which are payable when an estate … Continue Reading

The OBA’s Brown Bag Lunch

Posted in News & Events
When blogging, I am always searching for new ideas and new subjects to write about.  There is one place that is consistently a gold mine for new and interesting topics in the estates world.  The OBA’s Brown Bag Lunch is a great place to fill your notebook and fill your stomach at the same time, … Continue Reading

Facebook and Apple to Pay for Female Employees to Freeze Eggs – Some Estate Planning Considerations

Posted in Estate Planning, Wills
Within the recent past, the success rates and popularity of conceiving a child through Assisted Reproductive Technologies (“ART”) have increased significantly. Technological advances now make it possible for genetic materials to be frozen and preserved for decades, before being thawed for use in the conception of children. Both Apple and Facebook have recently announced that … Continue Reading

Be Careful What You Wish For

Posted in Health / Medical
What happens when someone changes his or her mind about medical care after preparing a power of attorney?  A recent article in the Law Times by Judy van Rhijn highlights some concerns surrounding this issue. In Ontario, in most circumstances, doctors must obtain consent from a patient before administering treatment.  When the patient is not … Continue Reading

End-of-life Wishes Should Be Communicated Early

Posted in Capacity, Elder Law, Power of Attorney
The controversial topic of life support and when to “pull the plug” is likely to ignite debate wherever it is raised. The issue involves aspects of morality, religion, science, and, of course, law. This complicated philosophical enquiry can make decisions very difficult to make, especially at a time when emotions are high. Whether or not … Continue Reading

Proposed Law Would Assist Estate Trustees

Posted in Executors and Trustees
Guelph’s MP, and former Estate lawyer, Frank Valeriote, recently tabled Bill C-247, the Service Canada Mandate Expansion Act (the “Bill”).  If enacted the Bill would require the Minister of Employment and Social Development to establish Service Canada as the single point of contact for the Government of Canada in respect of all matters relating to the … Continue Reading