O’Sullivan Estate Lawyers
in the Media

O’Sullivan Estate Lawyers in the Media

The Toronto-based trust and estate lawyers at O’Sullivan Estate Lawyers are regularly sought by reporters, editors, as well as TV and radio producers for their thought leadership, opinions and analysis of important and topical trust and estate issues which impact families in wealth succession and planning.

They are also regular columnists for The Lawyer’s Daily, published by LexisNexis, one of Canada’s most important publications for the legal profession, as well as Advisor’s Edge, published by Newcom. The firm is also a member of Mondaq, and has a robust listing of articles which are distributed through the Mondaq Global Network, with more than 1 million members worldwide, including lawyers, accountants, as well as C-suite executives and business owners.

Will Canada Have a Wealth Tax?

Whether new forms of tax might be introduced on the Canadian scene, including an inheritance tax or wealth tax, has had currency in the last few years in the face of increasing government debt and income inequality. The tsunami that has hit government debt levels as a result of COVID-19 has made these issues only more relevant and top of mind.

Estate planning around U.S. citizenship: Step one, confirm status

It’s important to consider the tax implications that go with U.S. citizenship or residency. The U.S. is unique because it levies tax based on citizenship even if a person is not resident in the U.S. Also, U.S. citizenship also confers various obligations, including income tax compliance and certain reporting requirements.

Ontario estate law gets an overdue update

To begin with, the current rule that a will is revoked on marriage would be repealed. Marriage would no longer have any legal effect on a will. Spouses will need to consider updating their wills upon or in contemplation of marriage to avoid dying with an out-of-date will.

This change is aimed at “predatory marriages.” It will prevent a person who preys on a vulnerable person who is still able to marry from automatically being included in the estate distribution on an intestacy, which would be the current outcome due to the revocation of a prior will on marriage. However, it will also likely lead to more claims for equalization of net family property and dependant’s relief where spouses fail to update their wills after marriage.

Resulting Trusts can cause more problems than they solve

It’s unsurprising that clients are often on the lookout for “simple” solutions, including adding a child directly to title of their assets while they are alive. However, on this quest for simplicity and efficiency, the legal consequences of some of these shortcuts are often overlooked. Efforts to transfer large assets, like a house, into the hands of adult children to avoid paying tax or allow for immediate payouts, may be deemed to be a ‘resulting trust’ with certain strings attached.

Canadians with European Connections: A Case Study

It is critical for Canadians who have assets or are resident in certain European countries to be aware of what happens to their assets on death. It would be wrong to assume that other countries’ succession laws are the same as those in Canada.

Canada’s top Wills, Trusts, & Estates boutiques for 2021 revealed

Margaret O’Sullivan, managing partner at winner O’Sullivan Estate Lawyers, says these changes will “allow more efficiency and ability to accommodate clients wherever they may be, including snowbirds going south and others to their summer homes, which will smooth out the process.” Likewise, estate planning on video platforms will live on beyond the pandemic.

Executor denied indemnity by beneficiaries for tax liability

Here is a cautionary tale for executors administering an estate. Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) makes executors personally liable for the estate’s final tax return. Further, executors should not be in a hurry to make distributions from the estate until a tax clearance certificate has been received from CRA. Finally, it is difficult to try to get money back after it has been distributed to beneficiaries.

European ‘forced heirship’ in estate planning: A case study

While testamentary freedom — the autonomy to pass property on death as a person pleases — is a long-standing principle in Canada, most civil law jurisdictions in the European Union (EU) operate under a forced heirship regime. Open PDF