Wills and Trusts

The Three Documents Everyone Needs, Part I: Wills

Paul Taylor | Posted 08.20.2013 | Canada
Paul Taylor

As a lawyer who practises primarily in estate planning and administration, I get to know all kinds of people. I learn about their families, their priorities, their jobs, and their lives. Most of these conversations start with clients telling me that their situation is simple, though they all reveal that our lives are anything but. Creating a legal document that respects these complexities is no easy task, but here are some tips to help you plan ahead.

The Power of a Do-It-Yourself Will

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 08.26.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Every year, many consumers create their own estate planning documents, such as wills and powers of attorney, using do it yourself kits. These kits can be found online or in shops across the country, ranging from free downloadable documents to significantly expensive ones.

Not Just Parliament with Ethics Issues, Watch Your Lawyer

Tim Paziuk | Posted 08.20.2013 | Canada Business
Tim Paziuk

Canadian news is mired in ethical debates these days, from questions over government officials' rising salaries, to charity speaking fees, travel expe...

What Snowbirds Should Know Before They Buy Down South

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 08.17.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Those in the market for snowbird condominiums or other properties south of the border need to buy what it is they can afford and can make them happy, without their estate plans at the forefront of their mind. However, it's important not to be naïve in these cross-border property purchases, in order to ensure assets pass on in a meaningful way.

Canada's Trillion-Dollar Generation

Tim Paziuk | Posted 07.24.2013 | Canada Business
Tim Paziuk

Most people believe that having lots of money and not having to work for a living is a beautiful thing, but we know from studying lottery winners that this is often not the case. In many cases, a large inheritance is no different.

What Baby Boomers Should Know About Estate Planning

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 07.23.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

The baby boomer generation should be paying particular attention to their estate plans. It is a generation that is participating in a large generational transfer of wealth and it is a generation that has increasingly more time on its hands.

The Trouble With Joint Bank Accounts

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 07.07.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

The use of joint accounts is an exercise in the balance of convenience and control. We are frequently advising our clients that, despite the added convenience and tax-saving advantages associated with joint accounts, adding another person to an account substantially reduces your control over that account.

Taking Over the Taxes of the Deceased

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 06.29.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

On an individual's death, a new taxpayer is created. The estate trustee is responsible for tax on income earned by the individual up to the date of death. All too often, an estate trustee will begin administering the deceased's assets, only to realize that the deceased had failed to properly file and pay taxes during the later years of his or her life.

How to Deal With Death and (Estate) Taxes

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 06.23.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Many have heard the saying that the only two certainties in life are death and taxes. How the two relate, however, is something that is not often fully understood. An estate tax is conventionally understood to be the tax that is paid on your death.

Executor to Someone's Estate? You Might Qualify for Compensation

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 06.16.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

When a person is an executor of another's estate, it is a lot of hard work. The task often puts the individual in an unpleasant position of conflict. In order to remunerate these individuals for the risks and efforts that they have undertaken, attorneys, executors and trustees may claim compensation for their work out of the assets which they administer.

Are Powers of Attorney necessary for your Estate Plan?

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 05.25.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Because of the importance of powers of attorney to the rights and quality of life of an individual who has become incapable, it is absolutely essential that they be kept up-to-date. A careful review of your powers of attorney should be undertaken every three to five years or after any material life events, such as a marriage or a change in health conditions.

Don't Delay, Make a Legal Will Today

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 05.21.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Approximately one half of Canadians do not have a will. For those who do, many are in need of an update. While preparing a will is not a priority for many of us, the reality is that nobody lives forever. The need for valid, well-prepared wills has never been more pressing.

The Importance of Leaving a Will

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 05.05.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Even carefully drawn wills can become the subject of disputes and litigation. Having a poorly drafted will, or no will at all, increases those odds exponentially. Despite this, over 50 per cent of Canadians do not have their testamentary wishes written down in the form of a will.

Don't Let the Cottage Tear the Family Apart

Suzana Popovic-Montag | Posted 04.27.2013 | Canada Business
Suzana Popovic-Montag

Any approach to dealing with an emotionally charged asset such as the family cottage may lead to disagreements. By taking appropriate steps, communicating with one another, finding creative solutions, and by working together as a family, the cottage can continue to be the source of cherished memories for future generations.