Tag: insurance policies

06 Jan

Estate Planning: Starting 2021 on the Right Foot

Ian Hull Estate Planning Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

Ah, January. A new year, a new start. This year, more than any other, people are putting 2020 behind them with ‘extreme prejudice’, and planning for a much different and much better year ahead.

Some will be giving up sugar, others will take up running, or tackling that Spanish language textbook that’s been sitting in the corner since the first season of Narcos. Some of us will even get our estate affairs in order.

With that in mind, we present a few considerations for 2021 when making sure our affairs are all set.

A Power of Attorney: Nobody expects to lose the ability to make financial decisions. But it does happen, and as we age, the risks increase. Giving someone you trust the power to make decisions for you in the event you’re no longer able to do so, can save a lot of time down the road, and a lot of money in legal expenses.

A Will: Without one, your assets will be divided according to provincial law. If you have children, and no Will, your kids may be placed in the care of a guardian who is maybe not your first choice. It is your “last word” and the single most important document in your estate files. Our colleague, Kira Domratchev, blogged about the importance of a Will in November of 2020.

Banking Information: According to the Bank of Canada at the end of 2019, there were approximately 2.1 million unclaimed balances, worth $888 million, sitting in unclaimed bank accounts across the country. Have a list of your banks and accounts, including safety deposit boxes, and ensure that your family knows where it is.

Insurance Policies: Many insurance plans provide benefits for funeral plans or list a chosen beneficiary who is entitled to the policy. Make sure that your insurance plan is up to date, and keep copies close to your Will. This also applies to any RRSPs or pension plans that may include a benefit to someone in the event that something were to happen.

Proof of Ownership: Whether it’s the family cottage, that 1965 Mustang GT 390 Fastback, or your condo in Kitsilano: Without proof of ownership, your family may not know what you have or where it is.

Passwords: As we have blogged in the past, your online presence needs proper safeguards, but also creates important considerations for your executor or trustee who will need access to your online information and/or assets. Whether you use an online password manager, such as these, or keep an old-fashioned paper list, make sure it can be found by your family if needed.

Finally, these documents are important and need to be kept safe. Thankfully, in January of 2020, the New York Times undertook an investigation to determine the best fireproof documents safe. You can read about the results here.

We wish you all the very best in 2021, and thanks for reading!

Ian Hull and Daniel Enright

17 Oct

Hull on Estates #531 – Beneficiary Designations for Insurance Policies

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

Today on Hull on Estates, Natalia Angelini and Rebecca Rauws discuss the decision in Sun Life v Nelson Estate, 2017 ONCA 4987, and beneficiary designations for insurance policies.

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Natalia Angelini.

18 May

Complications from Simultaneous Deaths

Natalia R. Angelini Estate Planning, Executors and Trustees, General Interest, In the News, Joint Accounts, RRSPs/Insurance Policies, Support After Death, Trustees, Uncategorized, Wills Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

In Ontario, if two people die at the same time or in circumstances rendering it uncertain which of them survived the other, the property of each person shall be disposed of as if he or she had survived the other (see s. 55(1) of the SLRA).  In short, each person’s Will is administered as if the spouse predeceased. This outcome can be particularly problematic in various circumstances, a few of which I touch upon below.

Spouses with mirror wills.  Without a common disaster clause that would address circumstances where both spouses die simultaneously, there may be certain bequests that are triggered twice.  For instance, mirror wills may provide that (i) the residue of the testator’s estate is to be transferred to the spouse if he/she survives the other by 30 days, and (ii) if the spouse predeceases or fails to survive the other by 30 days, a specific bequest is gifted to Child #1, with the residue going to Child #2.  Since neither husband nor wife survived the other for30 days, Child #1 would get two specific bequests, one from each of the parents’ estates, reducing the entitlement of the residuary beneficiary, Child #2.

No alternate executor. Spouses often name the other as their executor.  If no alternate is named and they die simultaneously, the executor appointment would go on an intestacy (see s. 29 of the Estates Act), and the testator has lost the power to control who administers the estate.

Joint assets. Where joint tenants die at the same time, unless a contrary intention appears, the joint tenants are deemed to have held the property in question as tenants in common (see s. 55(2) of the SLRA).

Insurance proceeds. If the insured and the beneficiary die at the same time, the proceeds of a policy are to be paid as if the beneficiary predeceased the insured (see SLRA s. 55(4), and Insurance Act ss. 215 and 319). If there is no alternate beneficiary, and unless the insurance contract provides otherwise, the proceeds would be payable to the estate and subject to probate fees.

These examples serve to illustrate the value in having simultaneous deaths form part of your checklist when advising estate-planning clients.  For more on this topic, I encourage you to read this article and to watch/listen to my recent podcast with Rebecca Rauws.

Thanks for reading and have a great day,

Natalia R. Angelini

Other Articles You Might Be Interested In

Life and Death Under the Health Care Consent Act

Double Legacies – A Trap to Avoid

Polygamous Marriages and the SLRA

26 Apr

Hull on Estates #464 – Insurance Policies & Estate Litigation

Hull & Hull LLP Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Litigation, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Show Notes Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

This week on Hull on Estates, Noah Weisberg and David Morgan Smith provide a general discussion on insurance policies in the context of estate litigation.

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Noah Weisberg.

Click here for more information on David Smith.

06 Apr

Beneficiary Designations Left Unchanged Are Not Changed

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

In Chanowski v. Bauer, the Manitoba Court of Appeal recently revisited the recurring dilemma posed when the uncompromising law of insurance beneficiary designations runs up against facts that may seem to call for an equitable remedy.

The deceased had a group life insurance policy in the amount of $55,000, which he held through his employer.  When he lived with his first common-law wife (on and off for a period of four years), he executed documents listing her as his beneficiary.  However, at the time of his death, he had a different common-law wife.  Notwithstanding these facts: (i) the deceased had not had any relations whatsoever with the first spouse for some thirteen years, (ii) the first spouse had remarried, and (iii) the deceased had held his house and all assets jointly with the second spouse with whom he had lived for ten years, the Trial Judge found that the first spouse nonetheless received the benefit of the deceased’s group life insurance. The second spouse appealed this finding and lost on appeal.

The Appellant’s counsel gamely tried every available argument but did not succeed.  The Court of Appeal "while having much sympathy" for the Appellant, determined that it was bound by Manitoba’s statute (virtually identical to Ontario’s) and found as follows:

"The documents which Ms Chanowski would have the court accept as evidence of a change of beneficiary do not provide the necessary clear and express intention to remove Ms Bauer and appoint Ms Chanowski as his beneficiary.  They merely speak to Mr. Miterek’s intention to increase the amount of his death benefits and to insure the life of his current common-law wife.  One may speculate that it is unusual for an individual to increase the death benefits for a former common-law spouse, but more is needed here than speculation to override a written designation (emphasis added).

David M. Smith – Click here for more information on David Smith.

05 Feb

Asset Particulars – Hull on Estate and Succession Planning #98

Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

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.

Comments? Send us an email at hullandhull@gmail.com, call us on the comment line at 206-457-1985, or leave us a comment on the Hull on Estate and Succession Planning blog.

 

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10 Apr

Insurance Planning – Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Podcast #55

Hull & Hull LLP Estate Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

Listen to "Insurance Planning"

Read the transcribed version of "Insurance Planning"

During Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Podcast #55, Ian and Suzana discuss insurance planning in the context of wealth and estate planning strategies.

They cover the advantages of integrating insurance policies into your estate plan focusing on disability insurance, critical care insurance and life insurance.

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