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Category Archives: TOPICS

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“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

What Happens If The Assets Are Not Enough?

Posted in Estate Planning, Executors and Trustees, Wills
When there is a shortfall between what payments an estate is required to pay and the value of the estate, some problems can arise. Two such situations include: (i) when the estate assets are insufficient to satisfy the debts and (ii) when the estate assets are insufficient to distribute specific bequests. Firstly, sometimes a deceased’s … Continue Reading

Could time limited marriages be in our future?

Posted in In the News
Marriage is outdated. At least that’s what one article published this week in the Globe and Mail would have you believe. Citing the ever rising divorce rate, together with a younger generation that has “abandoned committed relationships”, the author asks whether it is time that we re-think the legal framework of marriage. One possible solution … Continue Reading

Rectification – When can a will be changed?

Posted in Litigation
Alexander Pope famously stated that “to err is human; to forgive, divine.” While this sentiment is generally a good rule to live by, when the error in question is in the drafting of a will, those involved can often be less forgiving. While in the past courts were often reluctant to make any changes to … Continue Reading

Life Events and Your Estate Plan

Posted in Estate Planning
As Estates Lawyers we frequently advise our clients as to the various life events that should trigger a review of their estate plans. Such life events include: a marriage; the birth or adoption of a child; the birth of a grandchild; a separation or divorce; relocation to another province or country; the death of a … Continue Reading

Spendthrift Trusts for the Advantage of Beneficiaries

Posted in Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Trustees
A recent article focused on the writings of Sheena Iyengar when it comes to choice. Ms. Iyengar is a Canadian-born Columbia Business School Professor who has written and presented on the topic of “choice” and how powerful and valued it is in our lives. Choice is important in the areas of both trust settlement … Continue Reading

Where There is a Will There is a Way

Posted in Estate & Trust, Wills
We have all heard the story of the shoemaker’s children, where the shoemaker, so preoccupied with making shoes for the town’s feet, forgets to address his own family’s needs. The shoemaker keeps putting ‘make my family shoes’ at the end of his to-do list and never seems to quite reach the end of his list. … Continue Reading

Bringing Awareness to Death

Posted in Estate Planning, In the News
I recently came across two vastly different approaches with respect  to increasing awareness around death.  As this is an obvious foray into estates, these activities clearly shed light on estate planning and end of life decisions. Death Dinners As the title indicates, a website called Let’s Have Dinner and Talk About Death invites individuals to … Continue Reading

The Giving Pledge

Posted in Charities, Estate Planning, In the News
Warren Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and Elon Musk are undisputedly household names known throughout the world for their cunning business knowledge, entrepreneurship, and of course their vast fortune.  However, an additional trait shared amongst them all is their charitable spirit.  This is best exemplified through The Giving Pledge, which is a commitment … Continue Reading

Comparative Commonwealth Inheritance Taxes

Posted in Estate Planning
With Nick Esterbauer’s recent blog post on the UK inheritance tax debate, I thought it might be helpful to compare the various inheritance taxes found in commonwealth countries (and one ex-commonwealth country) around the world. As Nick explains, estates valued at less than £325,000 (around $600,000 CAD) in the United Kingdom are exempt from the … Continue Reading

Facilitating Access to Palliative Care

Posted in Elder Law, In the News
Certain elder law issues, such as estate planning and assisted death, are often the focus of discussions with respect to individuals who are terminally ill.  However, despite its impact on end-of-life quality, the issue of accessibility of palliative care continues to be a secondary consideration that receives relatively little attention. Gaining access to high-quality palliative … Continue Reading

The Importance of Prudent Funeral Planning

Posted in Funerals, In the News
Teenager Rueshad Grant was tragically killed at last year’s Toronto Caribbean Festival (Caribana) when he fell underneath the wheels of a float. Funeral costs are typically paid out of the Estate but when the deceased is a teenager, their assets are usually insufficient to cover the costs of a funeral.  Under these circumstances, the family … Continue Reading

The UK Inheritance Tax Debate

Posted in Estate & Trust, In the News
When a resident of the United Kingdom dies, his or her estate may be depleted by the payment of significant levels of inheritance tax.  Though not unique to the UK, inheritance tax is a subject of concern for a great proportion of the British population who expect to receive assets left to them by aging … Continue Reading

The Secrets of Lucian Freud’s Estate Planning

Posted in Estate & Trust, Mediators, Trustees
Lucian Freud, the famous German-born British Painter, died on July 20, 2011, leaving an Estate worth roughly £96 million (before taxes and payment of debts).  Freud apparently had “at least 14” children. Freud’s estate was the subject of contentious litigation.  I previously blogged about the proceedings here.  The High Court of England and Wales released … Continue Reading