Tag: estate law
Section 72(1) of Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act allows a court to deem various assets that may normally fall outside of a deceased’s estate, to be part of the estate for the purposes of satisfying a dependant support claim. This usually includes “any amount payable under a policy of insurance effected on the life of the deceased and owned by him or her”. However, as demonstrated in Madore-Ogilvie (Litigation Guardian of) v. Ogilvie Estate  E.G. No. 4654 (Div. Ct.), this provision will not normally capture insurance policies owned jointly by the deceased and a third party.
In Ogilvie Estate, the deceased was the father of six children (three of them minors) by five different women. Dependant support claims were made on behalf of two of the minor children. It was agreed that the deceased had failed to provide adequately for his minor children.
The issue before the court was whether a joint life insurance policy, issued to both the deceased and his spouse, could be included as part of the deceased’s estate under section 72(1) of the SLRA. The deceased and his spouse were both the owners and beneficiaries of the policy, which provided that the survivor of the two would receive the face amount of the policy on the death of the other. It was undisputed that the spouse had made the majority of the payments under the policy.
The applications judge held that the policy could be included as part of the estate. On appeal, a majority of the Divisional Court reversed this decision. The majority held that a jointly owned policy cannot be included as part of an estate merely because the deceased is one of the owners of the policy. The Court recognized that s. 72 of the SLRA was designed to counter the intentional depletion of an estate at the expense of dependants. However, there are transactions that “would be considered the normal personal commerce of an individual” and not necessarily undertaken to disenfranchise a dependant. In the case at hand, the majority ultimately decided that the contractual rights of the spouse to the joint policy trumped the needs of the deceased’s dependants.
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Read the transcribed version of "The Trustee’s Power to Encroach on Capital"
During Hull on Estates Episode #51, Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag discuss the circumstances surrounding a trustee’s power to encroach on capital.
Ian and Suzana cover various principles which affect the power to encroach including the Armchair rule of construction, the Evenhand approach and the concept of malafides.
They also touch on various cases including the U.K. case of Gisbourne v. Gisbourne, and Fox v. Fox Estate (1994), 5 E.T.R. (2d) 174 (Ont. Ct. (Gen. Div.))
For more information on the power to encroach, see Ian’s article in Estates, Trusts & Pensions Journal, "Discretion to Encroach: Do the Beneficiary’s Personal Resources Matter?"
Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Podcast# 52 – The Necessity of a Will in Successful Succession Planning
Listen to "The Necessity of a Will in Successful Succession Planning"
Read the transcribed version of "The Necessity of a Will in Succession Planning"
During Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Episode #52, Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag discuss the importance of having a Will in succession planning.
They cover a range of necessary Will provisions including:
- The appointment of a guardian for your children;
- How to deal with authority over your children’s property and the Office of the Children’s Lawyer ;
- Avoiding the Corvette effect;
- Common disaster clauses; and
- US Estate taxes.
Anyone can discount a commercial interest they own, trading money for convenience. There is always someone looking for a bargain.
In the United States, dozens of companies are offering to buy structured settlements and trusts. In fact, it is a huge business. Most U.S. states have passed laws requiring court approval of the sale of a structured settlement. However, in many instances, courts will approve sales of structured settlements and trusts for anyone claiming financial hardship.
I am not aware of any prohibition in Canadian law stopping such a discount trade in Canada. The owner of a trust can sell it, unless the trust contains a prohibition against its sale. As another example, one can sell his/her remainder interest in a trust, at a huge discount. It will be interesting to see if this type of discount trade catches on in Canada. If it does, regulation may become necessary to protect vulnerable beneficiaries of structured settlements or trusts. For example, court approval and/or full disclosure of potential consequences may be required. However, it seems unlikely that the government will seek to stop beneficiaries who are sui juris from selling their interest in structured settlements or trusts.
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Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Podcast #50 – More Tips for Protecting Your Children’s Inheritances
Listen to "More Tips for Protecting Your Children’s Inheritances"
Read the transcribed version of "More Tips for Protecting Your Children’s Inheritances"
During Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Podcast #50, Suzana Popovic-Montag and her guest, Jordan Atin continue their discussion on how to protect your children’s inheritances, focusing on strategies to ensure that your chosen beneficiaries do in fact receive the assets left to them.