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Trusts Archives

Special Needs, Special Trusts

When it comes to ensuring a loved one with a disability is taken care of, few things are more important than a well-considered plan. And yet, for many, it can often seem as if few things are more difficult than planning for a disabled family member. Often the difficulty arises from a confusion regarding the options that are available and a general lack of available information regarding these options. Our Advisory Estate Planning to Benefit Family Members with Special Needs provides an overview of many available options to address a variety of concerns faced by individuals planning for a disabled loved one.

The Common Reporting Standard - What's in Store

July 1, 2017 is not only Canada's 150th birthday and a cause for great celebration, which we are eagerly looking forward to. It is also the date that Canadian financial institutions must have in place appropriate procedures to provide information to Canada Revenue Agency on financial accounts held by non-residents of Canada, which will begin in 2018.

Keeping Things Up-To-Date

Putting estate planning documents in place can be a daunting task, but it does not end there. Estate planning is an organic process that requires ongoing attention and revision. Circumstances in your life will continue to change and your main objective is to ensure that your wishes and intentions are properly reflected in your plan and documents, both upon incapacity or death. What meets your financial and personal needs now may not do so in the future, so it is important to continue to review your documents, in particular when your circumstances change.

The Emerging Role of Protectors in Canada

A "protector" is a person who is given special rights and powers under a will or a trust instrument to participate in the administration of an estate or a trust. Protectors generally provide an oversight function--they ensure the trustees are administering the trust in accordance with the testator's or settlor's intentions and they also safeguard the interests of the beneficiaries.

A Pragmatic Approach to Dealing with Information Requests by Trust Beneficiaries

There is often a legal answer and a practical answer to whether a trustee should disclose information and documentation requested by a beneficiary. The practical answer favours disclosure - it is easier and less costly to disclose than to fight a request. Disclosure also increases transparency. Beneficiaries who are kept in the dark often assume the worst and that assumption can cause a lengthy dispute, costly litigation, a depletion of trust assets, and family disharmony.

What's Tax Got to Do With It? Trust Planning in Wills After Graduated Income Tax Rates are Eliminated

With the advent on January 1, 2016 of the new income tax rules eliminating graduated income tax rates and imposing tax at the top marginal tax rate for testamentary trusts (trusts set up in Wills), some people may be of the view that using trust-planned Wills is far less attractive or even no longer useful. However, this view is based on the narrow assumption that trust planning in Wills is only income tax-driven. Our view is that there are some excellent reasons to consider trust planning in your Will which have absolutely nothing to do with income tax, and that this change of legislation will in fact be the genesis for a renewed appreciation for using trusts in Wills.

Trusts and "Total Return" Investing in Challenging Times: Adopting a Winning Approach

One of the perceived disadvantages to using a trust in estate planning is that restrictions on trustees' investment decision-making under trust law will result in lower investment returns. In particular, this is a concern where a trust has an income beneficiary to whom income is paid, usually for his or her lifetime (frequently used where there is a surviving spouse), and on the income beneficiary's death, capital is paid to one or more capital beneficiaries.

Using a Trust to Hold U.S. Real Estate

Many Canadians have purchased homes south of the border encouraged by a strong Canadian dollar and a buyer's market for U.S. real estate. In 2012, Canadians were the leading international buyers of U.S. real estate, accounting for 24% of sales to international buyers.[1]