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Tag: Wills

Don’t let cross-border properties turn into cross-border pains

Perhaps I should refrain from re-stating the obvious, but it bears repeating–we live in an increasingly global and mobile society, where people move from jurisdiction to jurisdiction with relative ease. And when we’re not picking up and moving residences, we’re travelling to foreign destinations and buying property, opening bank accounts

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Redefining Family

Sometimes the law leads in pushing societal change forward, but often it lags far behind, particularly in the face of scientific innovation and rapid technological change. Over the past forty years or so, even how we define family has been subject to fundamental change, and in the future it will

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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

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The Two Certainties: Death and (Foreign) Taxes

A failure to take into account taxes on death can often defeat an estate plan. It can result in a smaller estate being available for distribution and it can also result in some beneficiaries bearing a disproportionate amount of the estate’s tax burden. While most estate plans take into account

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One Key Ingredient for a Successful Estate Plan: Proper Asset Alignment

In our August 2015 post entitled “Keeping Your Estate Plan Healthy with Periodic Check-Ups” we raised the potentially problematic reality that your estate plan may only be truly up-to-date the day you sign your estate planning documents. We put estate plans in place to ensure that our wishes, intentions and goals

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Using Trusts: The Future is Bright

On January 1st, several new income tax rules for trusts and estates came into effect. An overview of these significant changes are discussed in our Special Advisory. While we understand that there is an ongoing dialogue between the Federal Ministry of Finance and several professional organizations regarding possible changes to

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Family Meetings: An Underutilized Tool

In our August 18, 2015 post we raised the idea of regular check-ups for your estate plan in order to keep it current. Periodic reviews help to keep you refreshed about the details of your estate plan so that it can be maintained and changed when necessary–ensuring it will carry

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Testamentary Freedom: The Right to Disinherit a Beneficiary

Individuals in Ontario are free to pass their property on death as they wish, subject to certain legal limitations. This ability is often referred to as testamentary freedom and is a hallmark of English common law. Over the years, testamentary freedom has lost ground to other public policy objectives, such

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Proactive Charitable Giving: A Balancing Act

Charity begins at home, so they say. This may be where it starts, but your estate plan is where your charity may end. Most of us will donate time or money to one cause or another during our lifetimes (who doesn’t love Girl Guide cookies?). When we die, however, our

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