Tag: Hull on Estates

20 Mar

Hull on Estates #542- Harvey v Talon International Inc.: The Importance of Pleading Earnest

76admin Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Show Notes Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

In today’s podcast, Jonathon Kappy and Garrett Horrocks discuss the Ontario Court of Appeal’s decision in Harvey v Talon International Inc., a case that clarified the importance of proper pleadings in real property claims.

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06 Feb

Hull on Estates #539 – The basics of the rule in Saunders v. Vautier

76admin Estate & Trust, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Show Notes, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

This week on Hull on Estates, Stuart Clark and Nick Esterbauer discuss the basics of the rule in Saunders v. Vautier and its expansive role in estate and trust proceedings.

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Click here for more information on Stuart Clark.

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11 Jan

Trust Law in the Atomic Era: Lessons from Fukushima

Garrett Horrocks Estate & Trust, Executors and Trustees, General Interest, In the News, Trustees, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , 0 Comments

Likely to be of a surprise to most readers, Canada has a law on the books governing, among other things, policy and financing with respect to the disposal of nuclear waste.  The purpose of the federal Nuclear Fuel Waste Act (the “NFWA”) is to “provide a framework to enable the Governor in Council to make […] a decision on the management of nuclear fuel waste that is based on a comprehensive, integrated, and economically sound approach for Canada.”

The intersection of trust law with the NFWA occurs with respect to how the purpose and the goals of the act are to be financed. Section 9 of the NFWA provides that every “nuclear energy corporation” must maintain a trust fund with a duly incorporated financial institution, the purposes of which are described in greater detail below.  The following entities are defined as a “nuclear energy corporation” under the NFWA:

  1. Ontario Power Generation;
  2. Hydro-Quebec;
  3. New-Brunswick Power Corporation; and
  4. Atomic Energy of Canada Limited.

When the NFWA came into effect, each nuclear energy corporation was required to make a substantial initial deposit into its respective trust fund, and each must make a minimum annual deposit of a prescribed amount to the capital of the trust.  To provide some context, the largest trust fund is that maintained by Ontario Power Generation.  At its inception, OPG was required to make an initial contribution of $500,000,000.00 to its fund, and its minimum annual levy is $100,000,000.00.

The NFWA provides that the corporations may only make withdrawals from their respective funds for the purposes of implementing a plan selected by the Governor in Council to “[avoid or minimize] significant socio-economic effects on a community’s way of life or on its social, cultural or economic aspirations.”  In layman’s terms, the nuclear energy corporations must use the capital of their respective trusts exclusively for the purposes of ensuring the nuclear waste is managed and disposed of in an efficient and comprehensive manner while minimizing the social impact.

Control and management of all aspects of nuclear power generation is top of mind in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in 2011.  We may all hope the capital of the trusts established under the NFWA continue to be used for their intended purpose rather than to fund clean-up efforts in the event of a similar tragedy.  However, consider that the most recent financial statements for all of the aforementioned trust funds list a total combined balance of approximately $4 billion.  Now consider that some have estimated the total cost of cleaning up and containing the waste and fallout from the Fukushima disaster as exceeding $626 billion.  A drop in the proverbial bucket, to be sure.  Indeed, the magnitude of the Fukushima incident likely far surpassed any reasonable expectations, though it gives us pause to consider whether we are giving nuclear power the deference it deserves.

Thanks for reading.

Garrett Horrocks

09 Jan

Hull on Estates #537 – Calderon Estate: Standing and Limitation Periods

76admin Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Show Notes, Trustees Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

In today’s podcast, Jonathon Kappy and Umair Abdul Qadir discuss the Honourable Justice McEwen’s recent decision in Calderon Estate v Prince, 2017 ONSC 6584, on the issues of standing of a non-party and the application of the two-year limitation period under the Trustee Act.

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Click here for more information on Jonathon Kappy.

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27 Dec

Hull on Estates #536 – Lost Wills and Rebutting the Presumption of Revocation

76admin Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Show Notes, Uncategorized, Wills Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

In today’s podcast, Paul Trudelle and Sayuri Kagami discuss the court’s reasons for finding that the presumption of revocation had been rebutted in Levitz v Hillel Lodge Long Term Care Foundation, 2017 ONSC 6253 where an original will was lost.

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Click here for more information on Paul Trudelle.

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12 Dec

Hull on Estates #535 – Limitations on the Obligation to Account

76admin Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

In today’s podcast, Natalia Angelini and Garrett Horrocks discuss the court’s reasons for declining to order a formal passing of accounts in the McLoughlin Estate decision.

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Click here for more information on Natalia Angelini.

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29 Nov

Congrats – you’ve finally done your will. Now, finish the job

Ian Hull Beneficiary Designations, Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Trustees, Uncategorized, Wills Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

Let’s acknowledge one thing from the start – no one looks forward to preparing a will. We may have the best of intentions, but death is something that few want to consider.

For this reason, there is often delay and procrastination in creating an up-to-date will – and tremendous relief when you finally get it done. You walk out of the lawyer’s office, breathe a sigh, and thank the heavens you don’t have to go through that again, at least for a very long time.

But, if like most people, you have the dual intention of ensuring your assets go to your intended beneficiaries, and ensuring the estate settlement process is straightforward and as easy as possible on your family, then you’ve still got some work to do to finish the job.

It’s not a lot of effort, but there are some essential steps to ensuring your wishes are carried out easily and as you intended. Here are three to consider:

  1. Store your will safely – and where people can find it: We get it – you may not want your house cleaner to review the contents of your new will. But hiding it in a place that no one can find isn’t the answer. Courts need the original copy of your will for a smooth probate process, so don’t make it hard to locate. Whether it’s stored at your lawyer’s office, or registered with the court, or stored in a filing cabinet at home, make sure that you and your loved ones remember where it is and know how to access it. We explored this issue in more detail here:
  2. Make a list of your assets: Don’t assume that your family knows what you own. Most of us have assets scattered through numerous accounts and institutions, and property (such as cars, art, and jewelry) could be in more than one location. You may also have assets that you inherited from others. So make it easy for your executor – keep an up-to-date list of your assets (including account numbers, user names and passwords for virtual assets, and insurance policy numbers) with your will.
  3. Talk to your family: Ideally, before you drafted your will, you talked to all family members with any expectation of inheritance and told them your estate intentions. This gives you the opportunity to listen to any concerns and to explain why you’re planning to distribute your assets in a certain way. But even if you didn’t talk to family members before drafting your will, it’s not too late. To minimize the chances of an estate dispute, let family members know what’s in your will. In many cases, just letting people know the reasons behind your estate decisions is enough to cut off potential disputes before they happen.

Thank you for reading,
Ian Hull

28 Nov

Hull on Estates #534 – Gifts and Cheques

76admin Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Show Notes, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Today on Hull on Estates, Jonathon Kappy and Doreen So discuss the issue of gifts that are made by way of a cheque in the context of the Court of Appeal’s decision in Teixeira v. Markgraf Estate

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Click here for more information on Jonathon Kappy.

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22 Nov

How green is your estate plan?

Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Uncategorized Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

Climate change remains a leading topic of concern – and most of us have at least some awareness of our environmental footprint. Many of us have undertaken actions to reduce it, from energy-efficient light bulbs, to low flush toilets, to hybrid cars.

It’s not a stretch to take green concerns beyond our own lifetimes to our estate plans, because there are actions we can take today in planning that can make an environmental difference after we’re gone.

Here are three actions to consider if “going green” is a meaningful direction for you.

Keep your funeral small
Balancing interests is important, and your funeral or memorial service should reflect your wishes and also the needs of the friends and family you leave behind. But from a green perspective, smaller is better. It means fewer resources used, and less travel taken. It’s a small difference in the scheme of things, but by focusing less on the “show” and more on meeting the grieving needs of those closest to you, a small funeral can be an important symbolic gesture of “less is more.”

Donate to make a difference
One obvious way of supporting green initiatives through your estate plan is by donating to a charity whose mission relates to environmental concerns or sustainability.

A charitable gift at death is more than just a show of generosity and a nice tax break. It provides a powerful example to others of what you value – and can encourage your friends and loved ones to support the same cause, or another one like it.

For that reason, a gift to a charity made through your will should take some thought. There are thousands of organizations to choose from, with varying levels of administrative efficiency and expertise in putting donated money to good use. So, do your homework to ensure that your money – and the money of others who may donate in your name – will be effectively used to further the cause you’re close to.

Use your body for good
If you’re looking for the “leading edge” of alternative, here’s a concept worth considering: turn your body (after death) into a tree by using a biodegradable burial pod. You can read all about the concept here.

If that idea is a little too out there, the Green Burial Council certifies funeral homes, cemeteries, and product providers in North America on green standards relating to burials. By using products and service providers that are certified green, you can help ensure that your passing is a greener one.

Thank you for reading and enjoy the rest of your day.
Suzana Popovic-Montag

15 Nov

Blade Runner: Estate planning in a futuristic world

Ian Hull Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Hull on Estates, In the News Tags: , 0 Comments

Could assets be passed one day to non-living beings, those created through artificial intelligence but possessing human-like qualities?

Many of the laws that govern estates in Canada trace their roots back centuries. Our area of law has never been seen as “cutting edge” in the way that an area like tech law is perceived. How could it be – the public image of estates law is old people dying and old lawyers blowing dust off wills to reveal who gets what.

How wrong that image is. Yes, technology will continue to define new assets – bitcoin, drones, blogs – but estates law continues to evolve to deal with how those rights and assets are passed on.

But there’s a “next stage” to technology that goes beyond assets to the who (or what) gets what. Here’s my question: could technology also play a role in who your assets are passed on to? Estates law today is based on the orderly disposition of assets from a deceased to other humans or human-created institutions, such as trusts or charities. But what about the potential Blade Runner effect?

I haven’t seen Blade Runner 2049, but anyone familiar with the film, or the original Blade Runner movie in 1982, knows about replicants, human-looking artificial lifeforms that play key roles in both films. Today, this is still in the realm of science fiction, but we’ve all read about the power of, and advances in, artificial intelligence.

With Blade Runner 2049 in mind, this article from the smithsonianmag.com tackles, from a philosophical perspective, the very question of what it is to be human.

https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/are-blade-runners-replicants-human-descartes-and-locke-have-some-thoughts-180965097/

And the truth is, robotic companionship based on artificial intelligence is here. This article from The Guardian may focus on the more lurid sex doll industry, but it touches on the evolution of artificial beings in becoming more permanent companions.

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/apr/27/race-to-build-world-first-sex-robot

These advances are happening under our feet, and it will be fascinating to see how estates law – and public policy – adapt. If a being created through artificial intelligence can think, speak, bank, and do laundry, can it be the beneficiary under a will? Artificial beings will have costs and health care/maintenance needs like humans. Will there be – at one point – an obligation to provide for these beings, just as there is today to provide for dependants under family and succession laws?

I’ll probably take in the Blade Runner 2049 movie this weekend and give it a thought.

Thank you for reading!
Ian Hull

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