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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

Art & Taxes

Posted in Estate Planning, In the News
Almost everyone is required to pay some sort of tax.  As such, it seems logical to set up a method to allow as many people as possible to pay their taxes.  Where does it make more sense than in Italy, the land of Michelangelo and Raphael, to allow people to use art to pay tax. … Continue Reading

Simplified procedures for small estates?

Posted in Estate Planning, Executors and Trustees, General Interest
When a person dies in Ontario and leaves a Will, his or her named Estate Trustees often need to obtain a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (previously known as “probate”) in order to deal with the Estate’s assets. The Certificate serves as: proof of the deceased’s death; authentication of the propounded Will as the … Continue Reading

Aging population could have its benefits

Posted in Elder Law, In the News
Suzana Popovic-Montag has previously blogged about the impact of Canada’s aging population on the healthcare system, the prison system, and various industries, such as farming.  The aging workforce has the potential to leave jobs unfilled, while many believe that our health care system, in its current state, does not have the capacity to deal with … Continue Reading

Communicating Wishes for your Digital Property

Posted in Estate Planning
The Toronto Estate Law Blog has covered the topic of digital assets here and here, as well as electronic registries here. This subject is getting increased attention with the clear shift to reliance on digital documents, assets and accounts. An interesting aspect relating to the management and ownership of digital property is the designation of … Continue Reading

New Smartphone App to Assist with Digital Estate Planning

Posted in Estate Planning
Previous blog entries by Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag have featured information about the increasing relevance of digital assets with respect to estate planning. Online programs such as Google Inactive Account Manager, Legacy Locker, and Estate Map, offer services including the storage of electronic passwords, post-death management of accounts, and delivery to a “digital estate … Continue Reading

Estate Planning for Art Collectors

Posted in Estate Planning
Art collectors spend years investing significant time, energy and resources in building their collections. It seems logical that every collector would have an estate plan outlining what will happen with his or her collection upon his or her death. However, far too often collectors fail consider and/or properly plan for their collections. The costs associated … Continue Reading

Obituaries, Funerals, and Grave Markers

Posted in Funerals, In the News
The death of Larry Frazer has been in the news this past week.  His memorial had been booked for September 29th at the St. Patrick Parish Centre hall, when the family received a phone call indicating that the Church had cancelled the booking on the basis of the late Mr. Frazer’s obituary photograph, which depicted … Continue Reading

Playing by the Rules

Posted in Ethical Issues
The Law Society of Upper Canada’s amendments to the Rules of Professional Conduct for lawyers and paralegals came into effect on October 1, 2014.  The new Rules are based on the Model Code of Professional Conduct proposed by the Federation of Law Societies of Canada.  The Law Society’s Professional Regulation Committee approved the amended Rules … Continue Reading

Estate Planning for Artists

Posted in Estate Planning
                               “[A]rtists leave two bodies, their own, and a body of work.”                                                                                              —Harriet Shorr, Artist It is not unusual for an artist to produce hundreds of works of art over his or her lifetime. In addition to the average estate planning concerns, artists must also consider and plan for what will happen with … Continue Reading

Reducing Estate Administration Tax

Posted in Beneficiary Designations, Estate & Trust, Executors and Trustees, News & Events
Well known American thriller author Tom Clancy, known for novels such as The Hunt for Red October, passed away on October 1, 2013 at the age of 66.  Clancy was married to his first wife, with whom he had four children – Michelle, Christine, Kathleen and Thomas, until 1999.  After divorcing his first wife, Clancy … Continue Reading

Giving to People Receiving ODSP

Posted in Estate & Trust
The Ontario Disability Support Program, or ODSP, provides income support to Ontarians with disabilities and assistance with finding work or starting a business.  Financial eligibility for ODSP depends both on the applicant’s level of income, and a consideration of his or her assets.  The purpose of these restrictions on income and on assets is to … Continue Reading

“Death Row Dinners” – Bad Taste?

Posted in In the News
A London “pop-up” restaurant planned to recreate and sell dinners requested by death row prisoners as their last meal.  However, criticism lead to the event’s possible cancellation before it was even held. According to the organizers, the event was to serve “a five course feast of their culinary twists on some of death rows [sic] … Continue Reading

UPDATE: Cowderoy v. Sorkos Estate Revisited Revisited

Posted in Estate & Trust, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning
On September 7, 2012, we blogged on the trial decision of Cowderoy v. Sorkos Estate.  At trial, the court found that the deceased had repeatedly promised his step-grandchildren his farm and two cottage properties.  Applying the doctrine of proprietary estoppel, the trial judge ordered that the promised properties be conveyed to the grandchildren. This had … Continue Reading

Should you discuss the contents of your Will?

Posted in Estate Planning, Wills
A study published by Fidelity Investments, Fidelity’s Intra-Family Generational Finance Study, reveals that many adult children and their parents avoid having family discussions about estate planning. The study surveyed parents who were 55 years or older, with an adult child of 30 years or older. Parents had to have a minimum of $100,000 in investable … Continue Reading