April 30, 2016

Estate Planning and Separation

SEPARATION AND THE IMPACT ON ESTATE PLANNING

It is important to review your estate planning upon separation from your spouse. Separation by itself will not have an effect on your Will or the distribution of your estate. Some of the things to consider and discuss with your lawyer are:

  1. You should consider revoking your Will and Powers of Attorney and making new ones right away, and possibly another Will when matters with your spouse are resolved;
  2. If you do not have a Will, you should consider preparing one;
  3. If you own property with your spouse as joint tenants, including your matrimonial home, you should consider the advisability of severing the joint tenancy;
  4. You should consider changing your beneficiary designations for life insurance policies, RRSPs, etc. [Read more…]

No Will? How do you transfer ownership of a deceased’s vehicles?

G+G Vehicle

INTESTACY AND VEHICLE OWNERSHIP

If your spouse or loved one died without a Will and left behind vehicles registered in their name only, selling them after their death can be a tricky endeavor. In order to sell a vehicle, the ownership must be signed by the registered owner. If the owner is deceased, the vehicles need to be transferred into the name of their spouse or the person handling their estate in order for the vehicles to be transferred or sold. [Read more…]

Estate Accounts need to be kept in a specific format

FORMATTING ESTATE ACCOUNTS

Executors of estates are required to keep detailed accounting records. These records include:

• Original assets of the estate;
• All capital and revenue received by the estate;
• All capital and revenue paid out by the estate;
• All investments made on behalf of the estate;
• The current assets of the estate at any point where the executor is having the accounts approved by beneficiaries. [Read more…]

Automatic Revocation of Wills

AUTOMATIC REVOCATION OF WILLS IS MANDATED BY LAW IN ONTARIO

There are situations where a validly drawn will can be automatically revoked with no express intention on the part of the owner of the Will. The two most common situations where this occurs are marriage and divorce.

[Read more…]

The Importance of Date of Separation

Separation Date

HOW DOES THE DATE OF SEPARATION IMPACT THE DIVORCE PROCESS?

An important early legal step in a divorce is determining the date of separation. The date of separation is referred to as the valuation date in family law. It is very significant in two ways:

1) it determines when you are able to get a divorce as typically you must be separated from your spouse for one year prior to obtaining a divorce;

2) the value of your assets on that particular day will determine how your property is divided between you and your spouse.

[Read more…]

Update on Estate Administration Tax (Probate Tax)

G+G Probate Tax

STILL NO REGULATIONS UNDER THE ESTATE ADMINISTRATION TAX ACT

Probate Tax (technically called Estate Administration Tax) has been in place in Ontario for a number of years. For details on this tax check out this Blog Ontario Probate Tax 2013.

Until December 31, 2012 the Courts were responsible for the collection of Probate Tax. Effective January 1, 2013, the collection responsibility passed to the Ministry of Finance (the same people who previously collected Retail Sales Tax in Ontario before HST). [Read more…]

No Will, Spouse or Children: Where Do Your Assets Go on Death?

Contrary to popular belief, the government does not automatically take the assets of a person who dies without a will leaving no spouse or children to inherit. The Succession Law Reform Act provides for parents, siblings, nieces and nephews to inherit if no spouse or children survived the deceased. Even if a person dies leaving no parents, siblings, nieces, or nephews, the government would not be next in line for a deceased’s assets. [Read more…]

Treatment of CPP Death Benefit by the Estate

CPP DEATH BENEFIT AND HOW THE ESTATE NEEDS TO HANDLE IT

If you have contributed to the Canada Pension Plan (“CPP”), you will be entitled to a CPP death on your death. The amount of the death benefit will depend on the number of CPP credits you have accumulated. The current maximum death benefit is $2,500.00.

The CPP death benefit is income to the estate and taxable as such (believe it or not). It is also an estate asset on which executor’s compensation is payable. It will also be included in the value of the estate for the purposes of distribution among the beneficiaries. [Read more…]

Security Bond for Statutory Guardian

STATUTORY GUARDIAN – SECURITY BOND

The Public Guardian & Trustee (“PGT”) of Ontario becomes the statutory guardian of any person in Ontario who becomes incapable without having a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property. It is possible for someone (usually a relative) to apply to replace the PGT and become a substitute guardian. [Read more…]

Holograph Will – Write your own Will

WRITING YOUR OWN WILL IS REFERRED TO AS A HOLOGRAPH WILL

Contrary to popular belief, an Ontario Will may be valid even if there are no witnesses to the Will.

If a Will is made entirely in the handwriting of the testator (person making the Will) and signed by that person, no witnesses are required to sign the Will. Such a Will is called a Holograph Will. [Read more…]