Rose v. Rose – Hull on Estates #139
Listen to Rose v. Rose
This week on Hull on Estates, Rodney Hull and Jonathan Morse discuss the case of Rose v. Rose [which can be found at 24ETR(3D)217 or 81OR(3D)349]. The case is valuable and instructive as it raises questions about rectification, rescission and removal of the trustees.
Feel free to send us an email at email@example.com or leave us a comment on the Hull on Estates blog.
Rose v. Rose – Hull on Estates Podcast #139
Posted on December 2nd, 2008 by Hull & Hull LLP
Jonathan Morse: Hello and welcome to Hull on Estates. You’re listening to episode 139 on Tuesday, December 2nd, 2008.
Welcome to Hull on Estates, a series of podcasts for the Canadian legal community dealing with issues and insights surrounding estate planning in Canada. Hosted by the lawyers of Hull & Hull, the podcast will touch on some key considerations when planning estates and wills. Now, here are today’s hosts.
Rodney Hull: Hi and welcome to another episode of Hull on Estates. I’d Rodney Hull.
Jonathan Morse: And I’m Jonathan Morse.
Rodney Hull: If you want to be heard on Hull Estates, you can participate by leaving us a comment. E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can visit our blog at estatelaw.hullandhull.com.
Jonathan Morse: Thank you for that, Rodney. Today I thought, with your agreement, that we would discuss a case which is called Rose and Rose. And it’s a decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. It’s 24 E.T.R. (3d) 217. Also found at 81 O.R. (3d) 349. And I might just spend a moment introducing the facts of this case. The decision was by Justice Lissaman. The decision was made August 2, 2005. Sorry, the judge was June 19, 2006. It was heard August 2, 2005 as well as March 6 and 7, 2006.
And in this case, it deals with a trust that was established. A cottage property was put in a trust in 1992 and at the time, there were two children who were the beneficiaries of the trust. The children were age 7 and 9. And at the time the trust was created, the relationship between the husband and wife was friendly. And unfortunately, as matters progressed, the relationship, the marriage broke down and, of course, the trust issue arose. And we both had a chance to speak about this, and I thought I might ask your thoughts, Rodney, on the value of this case.
Rodney Hull: Well I think this is a very valuable case, from a standpoint of lawyers practising in the trusts and estates field because it deals with the subjects of rectification, rescission, removal of trustees and just some general principles of interpretation. Its descriptive, it’s incisive and it’s well written, this judgment, and very educational, in my view. Written in plain terms and readily understandable.
Jonathan Morse: If you would, Rodney, would you just maybe speak about the rectification aspect of the case to start us off.
Rodney Hull: Well the questions raised by, in rectification, rescission and removal of the trustee are dealt with by the trial judge. And he finds that none of these particular forms of relief are available in the circumstances because the law simply does not go far enough to permit it in this particular case. And where he does linger for the most part is on the question as to whether or not he can use, occupy and enjoy the property during his lifetime or during the period of the trust. And some general principles of interpretation are dealt with. The unfortunate part was that the trust deed did not deal with use, occupation and enjoyment, nor does there appear to be any consideration given to a right to occupy and enjoy. The question, of course, raised is if it had been raised by the estate planner, it seems to me that it would just call on bidden to the lips the response well, don’t worry, the children will let me on the property any time I want, so we don’t have to provide it. And it might as well have had some adverse tax consequences upon a reading of Section 105 of the Income Tax Act of Canada, had it been specifically included as a provision in the agreement, perhaps as a benefit or some other right to enjoy, which had a value.
Jonathan Morse: And just on that point, Rodney, if I may. I understand on the facts that there was a disagreement between the husband and wife as to the purpose of the trust and the husband’s view was that it was motivated for tax reasons.
Rodney Hull: Yes.
Jonathan Morse: But the wife, her view was that the trust was established essentially to give the property to the two children. So I guess the intention of the parties, they had a disagreement as to their intention and that affected, played into whether there could be any rectification, is that right?
Rodney Hull: Well, I think so. And I can say this that the tenor of the relationship between the father and his daughters and the father and the mother were such that the judge held that they simply couldn’t co-exist on the same property and accordingly, he had to meet the question of use and occupation and enjoyment on general principles of interpretation. And he simply wasn’t able to come to the conclusion that there was a use, occupation and enjoyment right in the father who had given the property to the children. I have to say that it’s an extremely difficult decision for the trial judge by reason of the fact that the feelings were so bad that he had to consider that probably as the most important consideration to be dealt with in making the determinations.
Jonathan Morse: And one further question, if I may. Clearly the trust document, the deed of trust, it could have addressed this issue of use, is that correct?
Rodney Hull: Yes it could have.
Jonathan Morse: And because it didn’t, there was no room to interpret that the husband, the settlor had any right to use the property.
Rodney Hull: That is so. I think the judge based his decision on the fact that he could not act on surmise or guesswork. And in this case, he simply had to deal head-on with the general principle of interpretation that I set out earlier in this discussion.
Jonathan Morse: And just one other, a few other issues come up but we are running out of time. On the conflict issue, I think the judge held simply that the husband could not continue to act as a trustee when he had a personal interest in the use of the property but also had a role as a trustee. And therefore had to step down as trustee.
Rodney Hull: Well I think the trial judge was faced with the plain and simple fact that the children and the father were not able to get along together and how can a trust be properly administered by a trustee when such bad feelings arise between them? And there’s lots of authority for that proposition and I think the judge came to the correct conclusion in removing the father as a trustee in the circumstances. However, I note that I had the general feeling that the trial judge really wanted to help the husband in some way but was unable to do so. But I noted that the costs on the highest level were awarded out of the assets of the trust. And I think that would fortify my feeling that the judge felt very uncomfortable in disposing of the matter to the detriment of the husband.
Jonathan Morse: Well I think we’ve discussed a few different aspects of this case and as I understand, it’s quite an important case in this area. I think that brings us to the end of this week’s discussion. Thanks for listening and thanks for joining me and Rodney today. It was a pleasure to be able to work with you, Rodney, on this podcast. And I look forward to podcasting with you again soon.
Rodney Hull: The pleasure is mine. Thank you.
Jonathan Morse: We look forward to hearing from our listeners. You can send us an e-mail at email@example.com. Be sure to visit our blog at estatelaw.hullandhull.com where you’ll find even more information and discussion on today’s practise of estate law. We hope that you enjoyed the show. I’m Jonathan Morse.
Rodney Hull: And I’m Rodney Hull. Until next week, so long.
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