Privacy and the protection of personal data are a major concern in modern society. Complicated privacy legislation exists in many jurisdictions with the objective of protecting personal information by imposing multiple safeguards, some of which can be frustrating to deal with. With the increasing stores of digital information, we also frequently see reports of security breaches of government and major corporations' databases, not to mention instances of identity fraud, theft and other cyber-attacks.
Your estate plan may only be truly up-to-date the day you sign your estate planning documents. This statement no doubt may dismay you and perhaps be unwelcome, in particular given the effort, time and expense that goes into preparing wills, trusts and powers of attorney. The reality is that our lives are in a constant state of flux.
There is no doubt that Carter has caused an enormous cultural shift for Canadians as Canada joins the few but growing number of jurisdictions that have decriminalized physician-assisted dying, including Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and in the United States, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington.
You may or may not have heard of the term "ethical will". An ethical will doesn't deal with money or assets, but instead with values, beliefs, words of wisdom, inner thoughts, and family history and tradition. We predict it will become a more common part of the estate planning process in future.
Transparency has become a powerful discussion point in recent years. A lack of corporate financial transparency has arguably been the cause of many modern major financial crises and corporate bankruptcies. Whether you agree with this view or not, transparency is a hot-button issue, both socially and politically. Lack of transparency can create an emotional, almost visceral reaction in those who view it as a deliberate attempt to hide the facts from those who are entitled to them. This reaction can, in turn, be upsetting and frustrating to those who are not attempting to hide anything, but for a variety of reasons legitimately believe that greater transparency is not necessary or appropriate in the circumstances.
The world is only getting smaller, not bigger.
Every year, the Trusts and Estates Section of the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) presents the Award of Excellence to recognize exceptional contributions and/or achievements by members of the OBA to the area of wills, trusts and estates. The criteria for the Award of Excellence are as follows: the recipient shall demonstrate leadership in the trusts and estates bar through knowledge, experience, skill, commitment, passion and strength of character, plus all or some of the following: academic excellence through teaching at the Bar Admission Course, lecturing at a law school, participation in continuing legal education and/or academic writing; participation in OBA Trusts and Estates Section Executive or the Law Society of Upper Canada on wills, trust and estates matters; and, contribution as counsel or as a judge to the development of wills, trusts and estates law, and wills, trusts and estates legislative framework.
Everyone knows about the shift in demographics in our society. People are living longer; it is estimated that one in ten Canadians born today will live to be 100! An aging population puts financial strains on individual, corporate and government resources, trying to keep up with unexpected demands and unplanned-for expenses. The strain of trying to find the best way to pay for necessary expenses as we age can be matched or surpassed by the strain of dealing with issues of personal care. We would like to challenge you to take an "empowering journey" to help alleviate and perhaps even eliminate this strain.
We increasingly see use of the term "trusted advisor", particularly in the arena of financial and estate planning services.