Estate Planning

How Trust Companies Can Regain Canadians' Trust

Andrea Love | Posted 10.08.2015 | Canada Business
Andrea Love

The challenge we face is, in the context of this unprecedented shift of multi-generational wealth, the trust industry -- those charged with stewarding this process -- has largely lost the public's confidence. Now more than ever, our aging population needs dedicated independent trust companies that are focused on helping families through difficult points in their lives, but we need to put the trust back in the industry.

The Risks and Rewards of Using Multiple Wills

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 10.02.2015 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

People have always sought out new and innovative ways to reduce or avoid taxes. In estate planning, some of the more traditional methods have included designating a beneficiary directly in an insurance policy or naming a joint account holder with a right of survivorship. Multiple wills are another effective technique and as a result, have become increasingly popular over the last decade.

Understanding the Gift of Joint Ownership

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 09.17.2015 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

One of the more commonly used estate planning tools to avoid or reduce Estate Administration Tax is joint ownership or a joint bank account. When two people own an asset jointly, and one owner dies, the remaining joint owner takes ownership of the entire asset by right of survivorship, thus causing the asset to pass entirely outside of the estate of the deceased person.

How to Get Serious About Estate Planning

Wade Stayzer | Posted 09.03.2015 | Canada Business
Wade Stayzer

As morbid as it may seem, death is inevitable and preparing for our last day of life is a key component in a solid financial plan. Without proper planning, death can trigger a significant income tax bill which can cause significant financial stress for already devastated loved ones left behind.

If You're in a Second Marriage, You May Need to Revisit Estate Planning

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 08.20.2015 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

When it comes to second marriages and estate planning, there are many issues to which a will-maker must be alert. Keep in mind that personal family dynamics play an important role in determining what estate plan will work best for you.

What Happens When a Will Is Challenged? Part 2

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 07.07.2015 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Bringing and defending will challenges is at the core of an estate litigation practice. As discussed in Part I of this series, will challenges are oft...

What Happens When a Will Is Challenged?

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 06.02.2015 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

With an aging Canadian population, will challenges are becoming increasingly common. Historically, we typically saw larger estates becoming the subject of such challenges. More and more, however, we are now seeing even modest estates becoming the subject of such challenges.

What to Do if You're Named an Executor of Someone's Estate

Coreen T. Sol, CFA | Posted 05.01.2015 | Canada Business
Coreen T. Sol, CFA

If you have been named as an executor, there are important considerations to be aware of and you may wish to take a look at what the responsibilities are prior to accepting the role.

Picking the Right Estate Trustee Today Saves You Trouble Later

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 06.08.2015 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Removing an estate trustee from office can be an onerous task. It requires the involvement of a court, even if it is not contested. This can be costly, time-consuming, and disruptive to the administration of an estate and to the beneficiaries. It is best to avoid this process altogether by picking the right person for the job at the planning stage.

Why You Should Add Organ Donation to Your Estate Plan

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 05.22.2015 | Canada Living
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Today, in Ontario, over 1,500 people are on the waiting list for a life-saving organ transplant. Yet, despite the apparent and overwhelming need for organs and tissues, Canada has one of the lowest rates of organ donation in the world.

How This Radical Court Ruling Invalidated a Father's Racial Bias

Peter Spiro | Posted 04.15.2015 | Canada Politics
Peter Spiro

The deceased Mr. Spence left his entire estate of $400,000 to his daughter Donna. He cut his daughter Verolin out of his will, reputedly because of racial bias. Madam Justice Gilmore ruled that this offended public policy, and was therefore rendered void. Once there is no will, the law decrees that each child of the deceased receives an equal share of the estate.

How Lawyers Should Approach Issues of Mental Capacity

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 03.26.2015 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

An advisable way to approach extracting issues of capacity with an elderly individual is through delicate conversation. It is important to avoid offending clients who may be uncomfortable, but it can be crucial to proper estate planning. Sometimes, apparent symptoms of incapacity can in fact result from cultural differences between client and lawyer.

Estate Planning Will Give Your Loved Ones Peace of Mind

Andrew Sheppard | Posted 10.06.2014 | Canada Business
Andrew Sheppard

Being the executor of a loved one's estate can be a very difficult task. With an estate plan in place and by taking a few basic steps to prepare, you can reduce the stress and loss of estate value considerably. Estate planning involves tough questions that ultimately give you and your loved ones peace of mind.

When a Spouse Dies Mid-Divorce

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 09.23.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

One scenario commonly encountered is the situation in which an individual dies while negotiating a separation agreement with their spouse, or in the midst of divorce proceedings. While a divorce order will void specific bequests to a spouse, merely initiating negotiations or proceedings may not.

How To Properly Appoint an Attorney For Property or Personal Care

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 08.24.2014 | Canada
Suzana Popovic-Montag

When appointing an attorney for property or personal care, it may be wise to request that they obtain legal advice with respect to its use to the grantor's benefit, when effective. Legal advice may come at a cost, but that expense is miniscule in comparison to litigation that may be caused by the misuse or abuse of a power of attorney, including a contested application to pass accounts.

Do You Know How To Prove the Validity of a Will?

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 07.06.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

One major difficulty in establishing the validity or invalidity of a will is that it is impossible to consult the testator to verify what his or her intentions were at the time that a will was executed. This often means that evidence such as solicitor's records or medical documentation must instead be relied upon to determine the issues of testamentary capacity and undue influence.

How to Smooth the Wealth Transfer From Parents to Children

Leanne Kotchonoski | Posted 07.01.2014 | Canada Business
Leanne Kotchonoski

A successful estate distribution is one in which the family receives as much (and the taxman as little) as possible and the family is still able get together for the holidays without too much drama. Take steps to make this outcome likely by initiating a family discussion today.

Where Are Your Children Going to Go?

Tim Paziuk | Posted 06.28.2014 | Canada Business
Tim Paziuk

Where are your children going to go? I hope that everyone who has children has taken the time to get a will. If you do have a will I hope you've mad...

What Happens When You Disinherit Someone From Your Will

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 06.09.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Disinheritance is a profound element of an estate plan. It can be triggered by a single, specific event, or result from the lifelong flaws of a relationship. For example, a parent may decide to remove one child as a residuary beneficiary under his or her will because of a heated dispute and subsequent estrangement.

Estate Planning: Advice for Those in Second Marriages

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 05.04.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

In our most recent blog entry, we discussed the issue of second (or later) marriages from the perspective of clients who are seeking assistance in formulating an estate plan. We now move on to consider this issue from the perspective of lawyers who may be called upon by such individuals to draft wills and provide advice with respect to other aspects of estate planning.

Estate Planning After Your Second Marriage

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 04.22.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

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.

Estate Planning: Hold on to the Original Will

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 04.06.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

When setting up an estate plan, it is essential that a drafting solicitor takes the time to work through family dynamics and related challenges to prepare a comprehensive and sound estate plan for the family. The next step of executing the will leads to the question of what should then be done with the original signed document.

"Someday" Isn't Soon Enough When It Comes to Estate Planning

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 03.26.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

After the death of a family member, it becomes much more difficult to manage relationships, especially when it is the family matriarch or patriarch, the "glue" that has held the family together, who passes away. Sometimes an individual will plan on creating an estate plan "someday." Neglecting the need for an estate plan can result in unmanaged family dysfunction, which is likely to lead to disputes that end up in court.

How Making a Will Can Save Your Family From Fighting

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 03.10.2014 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Family dysfunction is a universal phenomenon. Estate litigation is unlike other civil lawsuits in that there is much more than money at stake. Family relationships can deteriorate to the point where the recovery of the family unit is no longer an option. Estate planning can go a long way to help manage family relationships.

Make 2014 the Year You Commit to Getting Financially Fit and Healthy

Jane Blaufus | Posted 02.28.2014 | Canada Living
Jane Blaufus

This New Year as you make your resolutions, commit to making one that will get you healthy and fit -- financially. While setting personal resolutions have become second nature, the New Year should also be the time each of us sits down with family. Talk about what your financial goals are in 2014 and what you need to have in place to ensure that your family is protected and aware.