When a loved one passes away, whether it is expected or not, their death begins not only the process of grieving by those left behind, but also the process of dealing with what the deceased family member has left behind. There is often uncertainty and apprehension felt by those in charge of the estate administration. One of the most frequent questions we are asked is "what deadlines do I need to know about?".
"When people are divided, the only solution is agreement." John Hume
Earlier this week, O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers participated as one of the gold sponsors of the STEP Canada (the Canadian branch of the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) 20th National Conference in Toronto, which annually brings together trust and estate specialists from across Canada and other countries to share knowledge and discuss developments. Among the attendees this year were representatives of law and accounting firms, professional trustees, insurance and investment companies, and even experts for finding missing heirs.
The Rule Against Perpetuities (the "Rule") is an old and complex legal rule that aims to prevent the delay of vesting of many types of transferred property interests beyond the "Perpetuities Period" and is the bane of many lawyers who draft wills and trusts. A property interest vests when it is absolute and cannot be defeated. There are many ways to transfer property interests, including under a will or through a trust.
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.
In both our August 2015 and March 2016 blog posts, we discussed the importance of frequently reviewing your estate planning documents, as personal and financial circumstances can constantly change. Failing to make necessary revisions to your estate planning documents may result in unintended consequences that do not accurately reflect your wishes, intentions and goals.
On July 18, 2017, the Federal Government announced changes to close "loopholes" in the taxation of private corporation income. One of the stated goals is to provide for "fairness" in the taxation of income so that business income earned through a private corporation is not "unfairly" subject to lesser rates of tax than other income. The purpose of this blog is not to discuss whether this should be a goal of our tax system. Change is a constant in all things, including tax policy, and a change in tax policy appears to be here, whether popular or not.
U.S. tax reform measures were signed into law by President Trump on December 22, 2017, culminating a whirlwind legislative process at the end of 2017 which resulted in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (the "Tax Act"), the most significant changes to U.S. tax law in over three decades. These changes, in particular those relating to personal taxation, will impact many individuals and families with U.S. connections.
No doubt many U.S. legislators were chewing on tax reform over the U.S. Thanksgiving weekend, as well as enjoying their turkey, as unprecedented momentum is moving U.S reforms ahead at breakneck speed demonstrating Congress's desire to complete tax reform before year end.
One of the questions we often get asked by people who are planning their estates or for incapacity is who they should appoint to be the executors of their will or their substitute decision makers if they become incapable. (In Ontario, substitute decision makers during incapacity are known as attorneys for property or personal care if appointed by the individual in a power of attorney or guardians for property or personal care if appointed by the Court - see our Client Advisory Powers of Attorney for more information).