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Category Archives: Estate & Trust

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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

Proposed Reform to Trust Law

Posted in Estate & Trust, Trustees
The Uniform Trustee Act is a proposal by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada to reform trust law in Canada.  The Act is based on the 2004 Report of the British Columbia Law Institute:  A Modern Trustee Act for British Columbia (the “BCLI Report”).   The law of trusts is primary non-statutory.  The BCLI Report states that … Continue Reading

End of Year Estate Planning

Posted in Estate & Trust
 Only a few more hours to go until the New Year. For those who have already planned your New Year celebration, and have a few minutes to spare, consider some last-minute tax and estate planning. Items you may wish to consider include: making a donation before year end, so that it can be claimed on … Continue Reading

Please Release Me, Let Me Go

Posted in Estate & Trust
Engelbert Humperkinck reached #1 with his version of “Release Me” in 1967.  Estate Trustees have been singing the tune ever since. In their Hull on Estates podcast of December 17, 2013, Moira Visoiu and Noah Weisberg discussed whether an Estate Trustee is entitled to insist upon a release prior to making a distribution. In the … Continue Reading

Asthma Inhalers in the Principal’s Office: Rampant Rulitis

Posted in Estate & Trust, General Interest, Health / Medical, In the News
At present, there is no legal framework in Ontario governing the storage of asthma inhalers within schools. The absence of such a framework shifts the decision-making into the hands of the individual school administrators and/or school boards. What has evolved as a result of this legal vacuum is a patchwork of asthma management plans.  Many … Continue Reading

Estate Planning in the Global Village

Posted in Estate & Trust
We live in a global village.  Today, more than ever, through the internet and jet travel, we are connected to people living all over the globe.  It is not at all uncommon for Canadians to have parents living overseas, siblings spread across the continent, or children travelling for work or school.  Unfortunately, this presents challenges … Continue Reading

Is a Declaration of Incapacity Permanent?

Posted in Estate & Trust
 A "Guardian of Property" is someone who is appointed to manage the financial affairs of a person who is mentally incapable of doing so for themselves.   A Guardian may be appointed by the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee or by the court.   A person is mentally incapable of managing property if they cannot understand the … Continue Reading

Predatory Marriages

Posted in Estate & Trust
In  recently updated article by Albert Oosterhoff, a predatory marriage is defined as one in which one spouse, by “devious means”, persuades their spouse, who is typically elderly, lonely, confused, and depressed, and who has failing mental and physical faculties, to enter into marriage, with the object of gaining power over and ultimately receiving their … Continue Reading

Unconventional Gifts

Posted in Estate & Trust
Pets are at the forefront of unconventional bequests, and Leona Helmsley’s dog Trouble is one of the world’s most famous four-legged beneficiaries. In addition to pets, people have left their substantial estates to very unusual and unconventional beneficiaries. Most recently, there is news on the internet about a Tennessee man, Leon Sheppard, who left his … Continue Reading

Limitations on Powers

Posted in Estate & Trust
 The powers granted under a Continuing Power of Attorney are (POA) pursuant to the Substitute Decisions Act[1]are limited by any restrictions set out in the POA document. There are two further restrictions which often take grantors and attorneys by surprise. These include the inability to use a POA to govern a corporation or deal with … Continue Reading

West Coast Amenders

Posted in Estate & Trust
Our friends on the west coast are getting ready for major changes to the law of inheritance.  The British Columbia legislature passed the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act (the "WESA") on September 24, 2009.  The Act comes into force on March 31, 2014.  The WESA replaces BC’s current legislation, the Wills Act. The text of … Continue Reading

Caregiving in the Context of Support Claims

Posted in Estate & Trust
In determining the quantum of support to be awarded under Part V of the Succession Law Reform Act, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice will take into consideration unpaid caregiving.  Specifically, s. 62(1)(r)(vi) of the Act directs the Court to consider "housekeeping and domestic services" rendered by the Applicant. Caregiving may give rise to both legal … Continue Reading

‘Aging Tsunami’ to Hit Canadian Healthcare?

Posted in Estate & Trust
In a recent survey, 60% of Canadians reported that they were not confident in the capacity of our healthcare system to accommodate a tsunami of aging boomers.  The Canadian Medical Association (the “CMA”) has stated that the belief that the Canadian healthcare system is ill-equipped to deal with a greater number of seniors, who are … Continue Reading

Summary Judgment in Estates Litigation

Posted in Estate & Trust
Will Challenges may often be driven by emotion rather than logic. The historic approach of the courts (until relatively recently) to give a challenger to the validity of a Will his or her costs further entrenched the perception that estate litigation was firmly in the category of cases that were notoriously difficult to have dealt with by way of a … Continue Reading

The End of Perpetuity in Hong Kong

Posted in Estate & Trust
  The mere mention of the dreaded rule against perpetuities is enough to send shivers down the spines of lawyers, law students, and estate and trust planning professionals. The rule is an arcane, complex and poorly understood doctrine which limits the duration of most trusts and requires that they not last forever.  The rule against perpetuities … Continue Reading

There’s an App for That?!

Posted in Estate & Trust
  In a world where there seems to be an App for anything, there are now Apps available to craft a Will, assist with the administration of an estate and even learn about Estates Law. Do-it-yourself Wills are not new, and neither are the problems that can be created when they are not properly done. … Continue Reading

Does a Holograph Will Need to be Signed?

Posted in Estate & Trust
Section 6 of the SLRA states that “A testator may make a valid will wholly by his or her own handwriting and signature, without formality, and without the presence, attestation or signature of a witness.” The position of a signature somewhere other than the end of a testamentary document does not, in itself, render the … Continue Reading

Celebrity Conservatorships

Posted in Estate & Trust
With the stars currently rolling into the city for the Toronto International Film Festival, I thought a blog on celebrities would be appropriate.  There are of course the eccentric requests left in various celebrities’ Wills, which are frequently publicized.  But I thought I’d focus on the American concept of a “conservatorship”.  The Canadian parallel is … Continue Reading