All About Estates

Individual Pension Plans Revisited (Again) – What about Pension Transfers?

When a member of an employer sponsored pension plan ceases employment, the member may receive a lump sum payment for the commuted value of their pension rights, exposing that member to a significant tax bill, as only a limited amount of the payment can be transferred to an RRSP. There…

Continue Reading

Thinking About Comfort Care

The sun is finally shining,  we are having double digit temperatures and it is the start of the week.  While today’s blog topic on end of life treatment  may sound like a downer, thinking, talking and preparing for it,  I feel is positive. The New York Times article, ‘How to…

Continue Reading

Advantages and Disadvantages of Charitable Remainder Trusts[1]

A charitable remainder trust is an underutilized philanthropic tool where a charity is given a future monetary benefit, while the donor receives immediate tax relief in respect of the charitable contribution. Typically, a donor irrevocably contributes property to a trust for the lifetime of a beneficiary, with a charity being…

Continue Reading

Undue Influence in Estate Planning

This Blog was written by: Alicia Godin, Estate and Trust Consultant, Scotiatrust Historically the area of estates was not particularly litigious, but as families and financial circumstances become more complex, litigation involving estates has become more frequent. Frequently touted, but notoriously difficult to prove, is the allegation of someone being…

Continue Reading

It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over*

A “passing of accounts” refers to the process of formally preparing and presenting accounts to the beneficiaries and the court. The accounts are either approved (i.e., “passed”) in the form presented, amended by court order and passed in revised form, or not passed because the court is not satisfied with…

Continue Reading

Butterfly, Eden Alternative and Green House Project coming to Toronto funded Long Term Care homes- sometime down the road.

 As you know we have had a crisis in our Long Term Care homes. Not enough beds and not enough staff. I have blogged extensively on the subject.  However there is some light starting to shine through.  As you may know the City of Toronto operates 10 long term care…

Continue Reading

Electronic Beneficiary Designations for Insurance Products

In 2018, the Ontario government introduced amendments to the Pension Benefits Act to permit pension plan administrators to accept electronic beneficiary designations. Specifically, the Pension Benefits Act was amended to include the following provision (among others): Electronic designation of beneficiaries 30.1.1  (1)  Despite anything to the contrary in the Succession…

Continue Reading

Some Thoughts on Explaining Differences in Expert Opinions

Experts giving evidence in an Ontario court are obliged to sign an acknowledgement that they are independent, with their obligation being to the court and not to the party who retained them. Nonetheless, scepticism regarding objectiveness and discrepancies between expert opinions remains, as demonstrated in the reasons of Justice Mesbur…

Continue Reading

Isle of Trusts

Spring is (kind of) here and summer is (hopefully) around the corner.  Like every year, Torontonians will no doubt soon make their way to the Toronto Islands during the summer weekends.  A group of 15 islands interconnected by pathways and bridges in Lake Ontario, the Islands are approximately 15 minutes…

Continue Reading

Significant Tax Re-Assessment Due to An Estate Valuation Gone Wrong

I have been writing about valuations for estate plan agreements, highlighting that they should be based on fair and reasonable methods, prepared in good faith, properly supported and documented at the time of valuation. In Lewin v. the Queen 2019 TCC 21, The Lewin Estate was appealing a significant tax…

Continue Reading