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Estate Planning Archives

US Citizens and Expatriation

U.S. citizens, including dual Canadian/U.S. citizens, may want to know more about how to expatriate from their U.S. citizenship. Approximately 5600 former Americans have renounced in the last four years, coinciding with an increased general awareness of tax compliance requirements for U.S. citizens worldwide.

Sometimes it is About the Tax - Inter-vivos Trusts and Spousal Loans

In our October 18, 2012 blog "Trusts - It's Not All About the Tax", I discussed a few non-tax reasons to consider in setting up a trust as part of estate and wealth planning. However, sometimes the goal is to minimize tax through income-splitting. Two methods of minimizing tax exposure are using a family trust and a spousal loan.

New harmonizing rules for cross-border succession in Europe and its impact on Canadians

When a person dies leaving assets in more than one country, conflict of laws rules (also known as private international law or PIL rules) step in to help determine which law should govern succession of the estate. These rules are often tricky and confusing to navigate.

What is "FATCA" and What Impact Does it Have for You?

The U.S. Government enacted the U.S. Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act ("FATCA") in 2010 to combat offshore tax evasion, introducing detailed reporting requirements which affect some Canadian individuals with U.S. connections and Canadian financial institutions. But did you know these requirements could also affect some Canadian trusts and that trustees of these trusts may need to take compliance steps before January 1, 2014? In this blog we review some requirements of FATCA, and how they may affect Canadian residents.

Great family cottage memories? Keep them that way.

If you own a family cottage or other vacation property, it may not be just a financial asset but an emotional investment for you as well, and therefore proper planning for this special asset is especially important in order to meet all your future goals for it. The financial aspects of estate or succession planning for your vacation property should, of course, be addressed; for example, it is important to ensure there are sufficient cash or other liquid assets in your estate to pay the potentially significant tax liability on your death if there is a long-term increase in the value of the property. However, keeping your family vacation property from becoming subject to claims on marriage breakdown, including a child's, or other beneficiary's, can, in some cases, prove even more important.

Special Opportunities for Canadian Resident Estate Beneficiaries with a Non-Resident Relative

In this blog, we highlight some special opportunities available where a non-Canadian resident passes assets on death to a Canadian resident. To illustrate, a couple of common examples:

U.S. Estate and Gift Tax Planning - Considerations for 2013 and Beyond

Canadians with connections to the U.S., including those who own U.S. assets or have family south of the border, watched with interest as the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 ("ATRA"), became law in early January 2013. The ATRA answered important questions about the future of U.S. transfer taxes, including estate tax, gift tax, and generation-skipping transfer tax. This blog post provides an update on ATRA in context, and highlights some current planning opportunities.

Beneficiary Designations: When Less is Not More

You may know that having a beneficiary designation for your life insurance policies or registered retirement plans (RSPs) is a good idea, including in order to avoid Ontario estate administration tax (previously probate fees) on the value of assets which would otherwise pass through your estate (see our Client Advisory "Planning to Minimize Estate Taxes Under The Estate Administration Tax Act, 1998 (Ontario)"), and protect against creditor claims. However, using the simple forms provided by the insurer or financial institution will not be sufficient or optimal in many situations. In contrast, a tailored designation which can be included in your will can allow for the same level of intricacy as the provisions in your will, including trust provisions for minor children and other beneficiaries.

Multi-jurisdictional Succession Issues Checklist

An increasing number of individuals have connections to more than one jurisdiction which can significantly affect their estate planning. In this Blog post, we explore a few special issues and considerations that need to be factored in estate planning to ensure a comprehensive and effective estate plan where there is more than one jurisdiction involved.

U.S. Securities and Other "U.S. Situs Property" - U.S. Estate Tax Issues for Canadian Residents Who are Not U.S. Citizens or Residents

Many Canadians own shares of U.S. publicly traded corporations and other U.S. securities which they may not know can expose them to significant U.S. estate tax on their death and require their executors to file a U.S. estate tax return and pay any U.S. estate tax due.