Testamentary Trusts: Changes to Tax Rules

September 17, 2014
Blog Post

Trusts that meet the definition of ‘testamentary trust’ currently benefit from several tax preferences, including being taxed at graduated rates. However, the 2014 Federal Budget introduced the framework for changes contemplated by the government in the 2013 Federal Budget. The graduated tax rates on testamentary trusts will be phased out. Starting in 2016, the graduated tax rates on testamentary trusts will continue to apply, but only for the first 36 months. After this three-year period, testamentary trusts will be taxed at the highest tax rate.

May-December Marriages and their Consequences on Inheritance

August 27, 2014
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Children of older, widowed or otherwise single parents often worry when their parent becomes romantically involved with someone who is much younger. Although some people might dismiss the suspicions of children who fear for their inheritance, these children do have a reason to be concerned if the marriage takes place in Ontario. This is because marriage in Ontario automatically revokes a person’s current will unless that will is made expressly in contemplation of the specific, pending marriage. If a person dies intestate, unless the spouse elects to preserve the old will, the majority of the deceased’s estate will go to the new spouse, with a smaller portion going to any surviving children.

You Can’t Always do What You Want with Your Will

August 13, 2014
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One of the most cherished icons of the law affecting the making of one’s Will is the freedom to leave your estate to whomever you want. Any legislation addressing familial obligations naturally leads to the question of who is a dependant, and what is a reasonable level of support for that dependant in the context of the family circle to which the dependant belongs. A dependant can come from a number of groups, including a surviving or former spouse, child, grandchild or even siblings of the deceased. Not everyone who applies for support as a dependant is successful in obtaining money. The court often struggles in coming to a reasonable and responsible conclusion in the face of so many competing interests.

Powers of Attorney – When are they Activated?

July 30, 2014
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We have two types of powers of attorney in Ontario: powers of attorney for personal care, and for financial matters. This post outlines when each type of power of attorney is activated. One size does not necessarily fit all, and it makes sense for a person who is making a power of attorney – for financial or personal care – to discuss different options with his or her lawyer.

Our Wills and Estates Lawyers Attend an Evening in the Maritimes in Support of Citizen Advocacy

June 27, 2014
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Members of the Nelligan O’Brien Payne Wills and Estates Law Group and some of their clients helped raise money for Citizen Advocacy of Ottawa by attending their annual Evening In the Maritimes fundraising event. Citizen Advocacy sets up matches between volunteer advocates and people with disabilities that can have profound effects on both. It is one of only a few Ottawa community organizations supporting people with a wide range of disabilities, including physical limitations, developmental delays, mental illness, and disabilities related to aging.

New Brunswick Court Holds That You Can’t Leave Your Estate to the National Alliance

June 9, 2014
Blog Post

In its June 5, 2014 decision in McCorkill v. Streed, Executor of the Estate of Harry Robert McCorkill, a New Brunswick court voided the bequest of Harry Robert McCorkill to National Alliance on the basis of that the beneficiary’s raison d’etre was contrary to public policy. Mr. McCorkill was never married and had no children, he was also not close to his two siblings. Two of our firm’s lawyers, Pam MacEachern and Alice Weatherston were involved in the early stages of this litigation in support of efforts to have the bequest voided.

A Shareholders’ Agreement Does Not Always Trump A Testamentary Bequest

May 29, 2014
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Settling estates involving share transfers can be complicated for Trustees. When a person bequeaths shares of a privately held corporation in his/her Will, what happens when that bequest is inconsistent with the share transfer provisions of a shareholders’ agreement and the transfer restrictions in the corporation’s articles? Which document governs the bequest? The 2008 case of Frye v. Frye Estate illustrates the difficulties corporations can face when the provisions of a Will are inconsistent with the shareholders’ agreement governing those shares.

The Spring into Action POA Giveaway Contest is Over and we have a Winner!

April 30, 2014
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Thank you to everyone who participated in The Spring into Action POA Giveaway in support of the Ontario Bar Association’s (OBA) Make a Power of Attorney (POA) Month and the Trillium Gift of Life Network (TGLN). The contest is now officially over, and we are excited to announce our winner!

Upcoming Wills and Estates Speaking Event – April 12, 2014

April 9, 2014
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Our Wills and Estates lawyer Marcia Green will be speaking at an upcoming Health and Wellness Seminar hosted by the National Institute of Jamaican-Canadians (NIJC) and other organizations from the Caribbean Community on the topic of the legalities of care giving.

Announcing: The Spring into Action POA Giveaway Contest

April 4, 2014
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April is the Ontario Bar Association’s Make a Power of Attorney Month! Do you have a Will? Do you have a Power of Attorney (POA)? Who will be making decisions on your behalf when you are no longer mentally capable to make those decisions? Take part in our Spring Into Action POA Giveaway Contest.