Archive for the ‘Wills, Estates and Trusts’ Category

Probate Fee Planning

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British Columbia is a unique jurisdiction for estate planning because of:probate fees of 1.4% of the gross value of the assets that pass through Estate ($14,000 per million); andthe Wills Variation Act (“WVA”) which allows a spouse or child to apply to vary the Will if they don’t believe “adequate provision” has been made for them in the Will.Because of both of these provincial laws, planners use tools here that [...]

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Ask A Lawyer – Protecting A Vulnerable Parent From Financial Abuse

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My elderly father seems to be losing his ability to manage his financial affairs. I’m also worried that my step-sister is “borrowing” money from him. Dad doesn’t seem to be keeping records, and he’s always been really careful about keeping things equal between the kids. What can I do to protect Dad, and make sure that he’s not taken advantage of?

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Some Questions To Get You Thinking About Your Estate Plan…

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If you don’t already have a Will in place, or if you haven’t looked at your Will for a while, take five minutes to answer a few of these simple questions.  You may be surprised how many of them apply to you……Do you have a Will?If you die without a Will, your assets may be administered by the Public Trustee and distributed in a manner contrary to your wishes.Do you have children?

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The Supreme Court Of Canada Gives The Final Word On The Residency Of A Trust

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Last month, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Garron Family Trust v. The Queen (also known as St. Michael Trust Corp. or the Fundy Settlement). The Supreme Court of Canada upheld the decisions of both the Tax Court of Canada and the Federal Court of Appeal that held the residency of the trust is to be determined on the basis of where “its real business is carried on.” Or, in other words, the residency of a [...]

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Incapacity Planning And Your Health Care

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A Representation Agreement is a legal planning document which can be used in British Columbia to provide your named representative the authority to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so because of mental or physical disability. Living Will language can also be incorporated into a Representation Agreement which provides the named representative the legal right to refuse specific medical treatment or any treatment at all.

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Thinking Of Buying Property In The US? Consider Ownership Through A Canadian Trust

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With the strong Canadian dollar and attractively low real estate prices in the US, more and more Canadians are purchasing real estate in the US. Some of the considerations prior to doing so should be the tax implications and whether or not ownership should be through a Canadian trust.

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Philanthropy And Your Will

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phi•lan•thro•py is defined in the English Dictionary as “altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.” Donations to charity via a Will are a main source of income for many Canadian charities.

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Elder Abuse

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Unfortunately, elder abuse occurs every day in BC. As many as one in two seniors in BC is abused. It is difficult to know when adults are being abused or neglected and often even harder to know exactly if or when to step in. Elder abuse can take many forms, both financial and non-financial. We often assume that adults can take care of themselves, but this may not always be true.

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Ask A Lawyer – Question: I Haven’t Seen Or Spoken To My Son In Almost Two Years. Can I Exclude Him From My Will?

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It’s not uncommon for a parent making a Will to want to treat his or her children unequally. Sometimes there are very good reason why one child should receive more (or less) from a parent when that parent dies. Such reasons might include special financial needs (such as if a child has a disability that affects his or her earning ability) or gifts that were made during the parent’s lifetime that are being equalized through the Will.

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Wills Checklist – Do you have a will? Have you reviewed it recently?

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A will is one of the most important legal documents that you will ever sign. If you die without a will, your assets may be administered by the public Trustee and distributed in a manner contrary to your wishes. Attached is our wills checklist that addresses the following: Do you have a will? Do you […]

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Estate Planning Considerations: Providing For Your Disabled Loved Ones

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Everyone should have an estate plan, including a Will. Your estate plan disposes of all of your worldly possessions and is your last means of providing for your loved ones. Having a good, well thought-out estate plan becomes even more important when one of your beneficiaries is living with a disability.

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Amendments To The Power Of Attorney Act, In Force September 1, 2011

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NEW RULES for Attorneys A number of significant changes to the Power of Attorney Act come into effect on September 1, 2011. These amendments will entrench the Enduring Power of Attorney as the document of choice for most people who wish to plan for the management of their financial affairs in the event of incapacity. […]

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Using A Trust To Pay For Your Children’s Education Expenses

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A family trust is an excellent tool to minimize taxes through income splitting.  It is particularly useful for parents who want to provide financial support for their children’s post-secondary education expenses.A family trust can be used by business owners, professionals and self-employed persons to save taxes through income splitting with family members.  To use a family trust in this fashion, you need to operate your [...]

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Don’t Forget To Plan For Living!

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Your Will is an essential part of any Estate plan, but it only comes into effect on death. As such,  your Will is not able to address issues that may occur while you are alive, such as appointing representatives to act on your behalf in the event of mental or physical incapacity. Powers of Attorney (POAs), Representation Agreements and Living Wills are all important “Life Planning” tools that are effective while you are [...]

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Estate Planning For First Nations, Specifically In Relation To Reserve Land

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This is an interesting but complex area of the law. The Indian Act sets out a land holding scheme that is meant to preserve the Indian band’s ancestral land base in a communal sense. In line with the purpose of the Indian Act to protect the ancestral land base of Indian bands, only band members can acquire Certificates of Possession in reserve land. Certificates of Possession denote a transfer in rights to land on a reserve from the [...]

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Types of Trusts

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Trusts can be an important part of your estate plan.  There are many types of trusts, and your estate planning lawyer can help you determine if a trust will be beneficial for you.  To help you understand a bit about the various trust used in estate planning, the following is a basic primer on types of trusts.

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Estate Planning with Foreign Real Estate: Tax Treaty Relief

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As discussed in a previous article, the combination of the Canadian income tax consequences that arise on death in respect of foreign real property and the foreign taxes that may apply in respect of that same property may result in double-taxation. One way that such double-taxation may be mitigated or eliminated is by the application of a tax treaty.

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Representation Agreements

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A Representation Agreement is a legal planning document which can be used in British Columbia to provide your named representative with the authority to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so because of mental or physical disability. Living Will language can also be incorporated into a Representation Agreement which […]

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Trusts: Planning for the 21 Year Rule

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In the March 31, 2010 issue of Legal Alert I wrote an article entitled “Will Your Trust be Subject to a Canada Revenue Agency Audit? Are You Prepared?”.  That article included the suggestion that trusts should be reviewed to ensure that the effect of the 21-year deemed disposition rule has been considered.

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Pitfalls Of Joint Ownership

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Probate fees of 1.4% of the gross value of assets located within British Columbia and passing through an estate in British Columbia are payable to the BC government at the time an estate is probated. In an effort to avoid these fees, people often transfer assets into joint tenancy with one or more of their children or others. This can create a whole other set of problems for people as we'll describe below.Capital Gains Issues

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Joint Spousal And Common Law Partner Trusts (“joint Partner Trusts”) And Alter Ego Trusts

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Joint Partner Trusts and Alter Ego Trusts are new forms of inter vivos trusts which make inter vivos trusts far more attractive as a planning tool for older clients.  Previously, inter vivos trusts were burdened with the unfortunate income tax result of a deemed disposition of the assets transferred into the trust.  This often had the effect of accelerating capital gains tax payable on the increase in value of the assets, which tax [...]

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Life Insurance Testamentary Trusts

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INTRODUCTION The combination of life insurance and testamentary trusts provides an excellent estate planning strategy. Satisfies many of the estate planning objectives of our clients. Very flexible: trusts can be personalized to suit virtually all client needs. Very reasonable cost: if death benefit is more than $100,000, the tax savings should easily justify the cost. […]

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Charitable Bequests

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Bequests in Wills are the largest source of charitable giving. Bequests have continued in growing popularity because:1. People have more money than they need to adequately provide for their spouse and children;2. People are recognizing the urgent need in organizations providing health care, education and social services, as government funding cuts continue;3. People want to help and want to leave a legacy to their community;4. Some people [...]

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Estate Freeze

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An estate freeze is a process by which a client takes steps to stop or limit the future growth of his or her estate and provides for the future growth to accrue to the benefit of his or her children or other family members.

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