Listen to The Business of Being an Estate Trustee.
This week on Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana discuss the business side of being an Estate Trustee and talk about what to do with assets.
Listen to Madore-Ogilvie vs. Ogilvie Estate.
This week on Hull on Estates, Rick and Sean discuss the case of Madore-Ogilvie vs. Ogilvie Estate which was recently featured in the CCH periodical Will Power.
Recently departed actor Heath Ledger (A Knight’s Tale, Brokeback Mountain, The Dark Knight) left behind a young daughter. But based on news reports, Ledger appears to have neglected to include his daughter in his Will, perhaps unintentionally. It appears Ledger last filed a Will in 2003, before the birth of his daughter Matilda in 2005 and before his hit film Brokeback Mountain. This Will reportedly leaves Heath Ledger’s estate entirely to his father, mother and sisters, obviously with nothing to little Matilda.
Heath Ledger’s father Kim has stated that little Matilda "will be taken care of". However, Kim himself has been in litigation with his brothers, who accused him in 1994 of mishandling their grandfather’s estate to the extent of $2 million.
This intriguing story also illustrates the importance and difficulty of valuing an estate. News reports contain estimates from $2.5 million to $20 million, quite a range for an estate that spans at least two countries.
No word yet on whether litigation will be launched on little Matilda’s behalf against her exclusion from her father’s estate. Of course, other Wills may emerge…
It’s About the House’s Current Market Value, Stupid.
One of the first steps in any estates litigation matter is valuing the estate assets. Most assets are easy to value: RIFs, bank account, etc. But for many estates, the major asset is house. This is particularly true in the GTA (Greater Toronto Region, for our U.S. readers), where baby boomers who bought modest homes decades ago have seen the value of their house skyrocket.
The twist for both estates lawyers and litigants is that house valuations are inherently less precise and more subjective than most assets. Accurate information on the market value of a house can be crucial.
The subprime fiasco in the U.S., a potential serious recession and Toronto’s new land transfer tax may possibly create the unthinkable horror: a decline in the housing market. I am far, far away from being an authority on real estate, but it may be prudent to consider attaining current appraisals where there is doubt about a home’s value. That is especially the case for matters that have dragged on for years. Obtaining an appraisal from a reputable appraiser, for instance one certified by the Appraisal Institute of Canada (see: http://www.aicanada.ca/e/index.cfm), is one option to consider.
The information gleaned may be invaluable in driving a better settlement.
Thanks for reading and have a great week.
Listen to Assets and Liabilities
This week on Hull on Estate and Succession planning, Ian and Suzana expand on last week’s discussion about determining value. They also discuss taking an inventory of an estate’s assets and liabilities.
Comments? Send us an email at email@example.com, call us on the comment line at 206-457-1985 or leave us a comment on our blog.
Listen to Determining Value
This week on Hull and Estate and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana talk about values and appraisals. They specifically look at some of the issues related to assigning value to assets such as jewellery, automobiles, antiques and artwork.
Listen to Valuations and Appraisals
Ian celebrates the 100th episode of Hull on Estate and Succession Planning.
He discusses the question of valuations and appraisals and how these affect estate mediation.
Comments? Drop us a line at 206-457-1985 or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Listen to Asset Particulars
This week on Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana talk about the importance of keeping track of asset details.
Not all Wills provide for an outright distribution to the beneficiaries. In some cases, the assets of an estate are held in trust over a period of time for the benefit of one or more beneficiaries, sometimes in succession. When a trustee administers a trust, he or she is entrusted to act for the benefit of others. As such, our common law and statutes impose standards that trustees must comply with when dealing with trust property.
With the recent plummet in the stock market, I believe many trustees are considering how the stock market losses have affected the trust investments and what action they should take in the circumstances.
Section 27 of the Trustee Act addresses the standard of care for trustees when investing assets held in a trust. Section 27(1) states, “in investing trust property, a trustee must exercise the care, skill, diligence and judgment that a prudent investor would exercise in making investments”. Section 27(2) states that “a trustee may invest trust property in any form of property in which a prudent investor might invest”.
Section 27(1) and (2) outlines the prudent investor rule. When investing trust assets, a trustee must comply with the prudent investor rule to protect himself or herself from liability. Section 28 of the Trustee Act, emphasizes this point as it states that a Trustee will not be liable for losses arising from investments if the standard of the prudent investor is met. Nevertheless, the issue remains how does a trustee meet the “prudent investor” standard? In keeping with this theme, tomorrow I will address how a trustee’s investment performance may be assessed.
Thanks for reading, and have a great day!