All About Estates

Malcolm Burrows

Total 92 Posts Website
Malcolm is a philanthropic advisor with 30 years of experience. He is head, philanthropic advisory services at Scotia Wealth Management and founder of Aqueduct Foundation. Views are his own. malcolm.burrows@scotiawealth.com

Are wills an essential service?

Every COVID-19 day we seem to learn a new phrase.  Not so long ago we discovered “social distancing”, and this week it is “essential services”.  The list of services and businesses that we can’t do without varies by province, but most include financial and professional services, including lawyers.  Wills are…

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Tax Shelters and Charitable Intent

In early February, the Tax Court of Canada put another nail in the coffin of “one of the biggest tax scams in Canadian history.” The case involved the Global Learning Gift Initiative, a charitable tax shelter that attracted 40,000 investors who – through a complex structure with no clear public…

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Charitable Remainder Trusts in Canada

The Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) is a gift planning structure that rarely works in Canada.  An import from the U.S. – where it is an integral part of the gift and estate tax regime – the CRT in Canada has fewer tax and planning benefits.  It’s a foreign plant that…

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Estate Donations to Government

The title of this blog may provoke laughter, or perhaps, just head-shaking disbelief.  But estate donations to various levels of government do happen. The trick is to ensure that the donor’s intentions are carried out. The Crown – i.e. federal and provincial governments – and Canadian municipalities are qualified donees…

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Donations from Spousal and Other Trusts

To paraphrase the common law, a gift must be “freely given without consideration”. “Consideration” means without expectation of benefit, which eliminates contractual or other binding rights. This concept was addressed by my colleague Darren Lund in a recent All About Estates blog on charitable donations from alter ego and spousal…

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Best Laid Plans: The Sculpture Fund

  Frances Loring (1887–1968) and Florence Wyle (1881–1968) were Canadian sculptors and life partners. In 1963 they prepared mirror wills to “assist and encourage Canadian Sculpture” through a testamentary trust, The Sculpture Fund.  Their beloved home, a Victorian church in mid-town Toronto, was to become a meeting place for sculptors…

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Wine and Estate Planning

I recently went looking for information to assist wine and spirit collectors with their estate planning. To my surprise there is little material online.  It’s easy to uncovered truth by drinking wine – “in vivo veritas” – but much harder to find a comprehensive Canadian resource about estate planning for…

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Donor Recognition: Servants, Saints and Super Heroes

In 15th and 16th century Europe donor recognition was negotiable. The biggest donors gave to the church, but the best way to be recognized in a durable way was to underwrite religious art. Albrecht Dürer’s circa 1500 triptych, the Paumgartner Altarpiece, is one of the most arresting examples of the…

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The Senate Speaks Charity

It’s hard to underestimate the importance of the Special Senate Committee on the Charitable Sector report to that was released on June 20th.  After almost 18 months of hearings and consideration, this once-in-a-generation study came up with 42 recommendation on topics ranging from volunteerism, social enterprise, regulatory system, and judicial…

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4x $100 million+

  In 11 weeks between March 25 and June 3, 2019 three $100 million dollar charitable donations were announced in Ontario. On February 13th, McGill University in Montreal announced a $200 million donation. These are enormous sums, and this unprecedented donation cluster is just the beginning of bigger things to…

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