Toronto Estate Law Blog

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Category Archives: Estate & Trust

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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

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

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

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

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

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

The Trouble with Taxidermy

Posted in Estate & Trust
One of the duties of an Estate Trustee is to take an inventory of all the personal property items of the Deceased and to either distribute them to the beneficiaries of the Estate or sell them, depending on the terms of the Will. Many Estate Trustees have had the experience of coming across some more … Continue Reading

Rights to Embryo Inheritance Decided in China

Posted in Estate & Trust, Ethical Issues, Litigation
The first Chinese dispute involving the inheritance rights to a preserved embryo was decided late last week. With recent developments in assisted reproductive technologies and cryopreservation of genetic materials, it is possible for viable sperm, eggs, and even embryos to survive the individuals from whom they were obtained. Last March, Liu Xi and Shen Jie … Continue Reading

The 3Cs at the Estates List in Toronto

Posted in Estate & Trust
New Practice Directions were implemented for the Estates List in Toronto consolidating the Estates List and the Commercial List as of November 18, 2013.  Justice Brown has just released an endorsement respecting Scheduling Directions on March 4, 2014 for the enforcement of the “3Cs” on the Toronto Region Estates List. What are the 3Cs you … Continue Reading

Estate Planning After Your Second Marriage

Posted in Estate & Trust, Uncategorized
In the past three decades, the proportion of divorced Canadian adults has more than doubled.  One consequence of the increasing divorce rate is that more individuals are entering into a subsequent marriage, after beginning a family with a previous spouse. For estate planning, second marriages represent a challenge.  The estate plan for a testator who has … Continue Reading

European Trusts to Become Part of the Public Record?

Posted in Estate & Trust
Proposed legislation that is being debated in Brussels may have a major impact on estate planning and administration throughout Europe. The objective of the European bill is to prevent money laundering by corporations.  However, its effect would be the mandatory disclosure of assets held within, and transferred through, trusts and similar legal instruments.  The proposal … Continue Reading