All About Estates

Row Row Row Your Boat!

Today’s blog deals with the transfer of the ownership and license of pleasure crafts to a named beneficiary in a Will. Before I get into the process of transferring the ownership and license of a pleasure craft registered in the Canadian Register of Vessels (Please note: not all pleasure crafts are required to be registered.), it is important to understand what the term “pleasure craft” means and the process to obtain a pleasure craft license.

A pleasure craft is a vessel which is used for pleasure, recreation, or daily living. All pleasure crafts must have a pleasure craft license with the exception of: (a) a pleasure craft using a motor with less than 10 horsepower; (b) a pleasure craft that has a vessel registration (a vessel that requires a marine mortgage to be registered or has a registered unique name or is being used to travel internationally); and (c) a pleasure craft that was purchased less than 90 days ago (during this period, the new owner must carry documentation with his or her name, address and the purchase date). A pleasure craft license can be obtained by submitting an application online or by regular lettermail.

Why is a pleasure craft license required? A pleasure craft license is required as it assists law enforcement and search and rescue workers in identifying pleasure crafts in emergency situations. Essentially, it is for your own protection. By law, any pleasure craft that is powered by one or more motors adding up to 10 horsepower or more must have a valid pleasure craft license. The pleasure craft license must be displayed on both sides of the bow of the pleasure craft in block characters that are at least 3 inches in height and in a colour that contrasts with the colour of the bow. According to the Canada Shipping Act, 2001, a pleasure craft license is valid for up to 10 years. There is no cost to obtain a pleasure craft license, but if you are found operating a pleasure craft without a license, there is a fine of $250.

With respect to the transfer of the ownership itself and not the transfer of the pleasure craft license, each registered pleasure craft is divided into 64 shares which are either owned individually or by joint owners. A registered pleasure craft cannot be registered by foreign citizens, partnerships or trusts. When the individual owner dies, the 64 shares owned by the individual form part of the individual’s estate. The shares will need to be transmitted to his or her executor if there is a Will. Probate will be required to transmit the shares on the death of the individual owner unless the applicable provincial law waives the requirement for probate. In addition, a letter from a lawyer should be prepared stating that: (a) all applicable requirements of the legislation have been met; (b) the person named as the executor is the proper person to administer the estate; and (c) the Will does not need to be probated. Additional documents required are a Form 8 being a Declaration of Transmission to be completed by the executor and, if more than one executor, a Form 14 Appointment of Authorized Representative. The documentation can be submitted online and the fee for the transmission is $150.00.

With respect to transferring a pleasure craft license, my research revealed only how to do so by an owner. The pleasure craft license of an owner can be transferred by submitting the following documentation: (a) proof of ownership (including license number); (b) ID of the owner; and (c) a full side view colour photo of the pleasure craft. It could be assumed that the process would be fairly similar for transfers by an executor of a deceased owner with perhaps the requirement of a few additional documents. In addition to the documents required to be submitted by an owner, it would be reasonable to expect that an executor would also need to provide a copy of his or her ID, a copy of the Will proving his or her authority to administer the deceased owner’s estate, as well as a copy of the death certificate of the deceased owner. Further clarification would have to be sought in this regard.

Occasionally, I have come across Wills whereby the testator has provided for a pleasure craft to be delivered to a beneficiary. Most often a pleasure craft will be delivered to a beneficiary who is a beneficiary of a cottage property where a pleasure craft can have the most use. Like many of us (unless a cottage owner or an avid pleasure craft owner), this is not something we deal with on a daily basis. For those who have had to complete this exercise, I would welcome the benefit of your expertise in completing my research. Until then, happy boating!

About Krista Brown
Krista Brown has worked in the legal profession for over 21 years. Krista has extensive experience in complex, high value estate planning, estate and trust administration as well as drafting Marriage Contracts for high net worth clients. Krista's experience also includes drafting wills, trusts, codicils, powers of attorney and cohabitation and marriage agreements.


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