O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers LLP
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Estate Planning Archives

The New Non-Resident Speculation Tax and Estate Planning and Administration: What You Need to Know

The Ministry of Finance recently introduced a 15% tax on the purchase or acquisition of a residential property in the Greater Golden Horseshoe by individuals who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada or by foreign corporations or taxable trustees. The new Non-Resident Speculation Tax ("NRST") is in addition to the Ontario and Toronto land transfer taxes. Although the NRST is subject to the approval of the legislature, it is currently in effect and applies to any agreements of purchase and sale entered into after April 20, 2017.

The Principal Residence and Capital Gains Tax - New Rules, New Pitfalls

Most taxpayers know that when you sell an asset which has increased in value, the federal Income Tax Act provides that you will generally be liable for capital gains tax on the net increase in value, unless there is an applicable exemption. One exemption from capital gains tax is for a principal residence. In October of 2016, the federal government introduced draft legislation to amend the rules to restrict the application of the principal residence exemption. The amendments are aimed at stopping non-residents of Canada and real estate developers from unreasonably claiming the exemption. However, the amendments can also affect anyone who currently has or may wish to have a trust which holds a residence for a beneficiary, whether or not they are tax resident in Canada.

Safekeeping of Original Estate Planning Documents: Hard Copies are Hard to Replace

It is becoming more and more the "norm" in many areas of day-to-day life that in lieu of an original paper copy of a document being given to us during some form of transaction or interaction, the document is instead created and sent to us digitally. Consider for example car rental agreements, sales receipts, monthly phone bills, tickets to a concert or art exhibit, personal income tax returns, charitable donation receipts, etc. It's easy to get in the habit of receiving important documents in this manner, as well as relying on having them at our fingertips and readily available by quickly searching phones, tablets, PCs, external hard drives, cloud storage and email inbox folders, or even accessing these documents online and downloading them if and when needed.

Multiple Taxation on Death: The Taxpayer's Nightmare

With increasing globalization of people and their assets, a growing and often hidden threat is multiple taxation on death. Different countries tax in different ways on death, and when those laws collide, the same assets can be exposed to double and even triple tax or more.

Special Needs Planning: Knowledge is Power

As parents, we worry about our children: a truism that becomes even more true, and often extends to siblings, grandparents, aunts and uncles, when a child has special needs. We worry about what will happen to the special-needs individual, how they will care for themself and be cared for, and how we should plan for their future and leave them funds for their support and care, or just for a rainy day, without jeopardizing their independence or sources of government support. And when we look for information, online or from professionals, sometimes we end up not only worried, but also confused. And this can lead to paralysis and lack of planning.

Start the New Year off on the Right Foot

As of today, according to the Gregorian calendar, we are just over one month away from ringing in the New Year. If you are already contemplating your New Year's resolution, we thought we would help out in this blog post by providing you with a shortlist of "thinking points" for your estate planning to help you start 2017 with your best foot forward. What follows are five recommendations gathered from our past year's blog posts to assist in getting your estate plan into even better shape. 

Owning a Home Jointly with a Child - More Trouble than it's Worth?

In Ontario, on an application for a Certificate of Appointment, the applicant must pay Ontario Estate Administration Tax (also known as "probate tax"). Probate tax is levied at an approximate rate of 1.5% on the gross value of the estate. Assets passing outside of an estate, such as jointly-owned assets, are not included in the gross value of the estate and are therefore not subject to probate tax. In an attempt to avoid probate tax, a parent sometimes might think that a transfer of his or her home into joint ownership with a child is an appropriate option. This approach, though, can lead to several undesirable consequences and should only be done after thoughtful consideration of the ramifications.

For Better or For Worse... Especially If You Move

There are many things that we think about and plan for when we move--furniture, movers, schools, utilities... I could go on and on. There are even more things that we plan for when we move to another jurisdiction-language, taxes, visas, driving laws... and so it goes. But one thing you might never think about if you move to another jurisdiction is the impact of the matrimonial regime of your new home on your estate plan. Matrimonial laws can have a major impact on your estate plan, and not knowing what those effects might be can make the difference between your estate plan working the way it was meant to and not.

The Many and Varied Uses of Letters of Wishes in Your Estate Plan

Estate planning documents (such as a will, power of attorney for property, power of attorney for personal care, Henson-type trust and/or inter vivos trust) are the legal framework of an estate plan--the "apparatus"--which can seem to be a tricky network of legal rules, directions, and often unavoidably, a lot of legalese to navigate. Estate plans are sometimes short on information or guidance regarding the "soft issues": the relationships, context, goals, aspirations, vision, preferences, history, etc. that inform the overall structure.

We are a top-ranked and peer recognized firm, including Margaret O’Sullivan by Chambers Canada Guide 2017 and Chambers Canada High Net Worth 2016 as one of the top six private client lawyers in Canada:

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  • The Law Reviews | Expert Panel 2015
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  • Top Ranked HNW Chambers 2016 Margaret O'Sullivan
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