Earlier this year, Ian M. Hull, Suzana Popovic-Montag, and I were pleased to co-author the Canada Chapter of the 2019 Chambers & Partners Global Private Wealth Guide for the third consecutive year.
The guide provides an overview of the law as it relates to a number of issues relevant to financial planning and estate planning in jurisdictions throughout the world. Specifically, the following topics are covered (among others):
- tax regimes;
- succession laws;
- laws relating to the transfer of digital assets and other assets;
- family business planning;
- wealth disputes;
- elder law; and
- obligations of fiduciaries.
With chapters summarizing the state of the law and related trends in 34 countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland, France, and Israel, the guide can be a great resource to be used as a starting point when assisting clients who have assets (or are beneficiaries of assets) in other jurisdictions.
A complete electronic copy of the 2019 Chambers & Partners Global Private Wealth Guide is available here: https://practiceguides.chambers.com/practice-guides/private-wealth-2019. The online version includes a “compare locations” feature, which allows readers to quickly review differences between two or more jurisdictions.
Thank you for reading.
Approximately 7.5 million people came to Canada through immigration, according to the 2016 Canadian census. Among these, almost every country in the world is represented, big and small. Countries of origin include places like; Philippines, India, China, Italy, France, South Korea, Germany, the United Kingdom, and the United States among others. A lesser number arrived from Lithuania, itself a smaller country on the Baltic Sea with a population today of about 2.8 million. Currently, about 60,000 Canadians claim Lithuanian ethnic origin. As a result of the relationships between families in the two countries, international inheritance law questions can arise. There can be beneficiaries named in wills who reside in the other country, or heirs to be located in the case of an intestate deceased.
According to Lithuanian law, acceptance of an inheritance is a very important legal act. This is a procedural step that a Canadian lawyer would likely observe with some curiosity. A beneficiary with a “testamentary reservation” as well as any other testate or intestate heir has to “accept” the inheritance. The law establishes a very short term of three months for doing this. Therefore, the heirs have to be very careful in order not to miss the term or must then turn to a court requesting an extension. The beneficiary of the testamentary reservation must inform the executor of the will of the acceptance, or the notary public of the place of succession. In the event where the testamentary reservation includes a right to real estate, then acceptance in all cases must be filed with the notary public. The notary issues a “certificate of the right to inheritance” and the testamentary reservation must be registered in the Public Register.
Testators have the right to place obligations, like when real estate or a private enterprise is devolved to another person for use during their life, or the revenue derived from that property. In the event where the testator establishes maintenance for somebody without specifying exact terms, then that person is generally entitled to board, accommodation, clothing and medical care. Those who study are entitled to have their study expenses paid during the duration of their study, but not longer than the age of twenty-four.
Currently, there are several litigation cases on the issues of testamentary reservation in Lithuanian courts. In the last 10-15 years there are now more Lithuanian wills containing provisions with testamentary reservations. However, some reservations are not allowed. For example provisions in a will that violate laws, like requiring: becoming a member of a particular organization in order to receive an inheritance, graduating from a particular college, or even a requirement to marry the testator’s daughter in order to receive the inheritance. Any such provisions, which, violate human rights and the Constitution, are considered null and void.
If you are interested in further information on the topic of international inheritance we are please to assist, along with our lawyer colleagues in Lithuania who have contributed to this blog.
Thanks for reading,
Robert Gordon Price began the practice of law in the small northern Ontario mining community of Kirkland Lake in 1952 when he joined his uncle Bruce Williams, and the Williams and Price law firm had its beginning. Bob, as he was known to friends and colleagues would practice law for over 65 years until his passing in Toronto on November 26, 2017 at the age of 92.
In or around the time Bob began practicing law, the International Law Commission began working on the issue of diplomatic and consular relations. After more than ten years of international preparations and after a discussion on the draft articles, countries proceeded to a Conference on Consular Relations, which was attended by delegates of 95 states. The Conference adopted the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations which was signed on 24 April 1963 and came into force on 19 March 1967. Article 37 provides that a country must “without delay” notify consular officers if a person dies while away in another country or has a guardian or trustee appointed over him or her. From this, certain international obligations would flow.
Around the same time, a miner, who was originally from Poland, died in Kirkland Lake. He died without a Will and his family in Poland had to be identified, located, and contacted. Arrangements were made in regard to the funeral, the body, and the estate. No one was quite sure how to proceed given the new treaty obligations, but the Polish Ambassador was put in contact with Bob. For Bob, it was a beginning of a niche law practice on international estates inheritance and heir locate in over 15 countries. Bob soon developed a practice where he was involved with almost all estates in Canada with a connection to Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union.
Part of Bob’s legacy are the international relationships that he built over many years. As international relations between countries continue to evolve and change, the relationships Bob established are even more important today.
Today, Hull & Hull LLP is working with Bob’s former colleagues around the world by assisting clients in solving complex and difficult problems involving international estate inheritance matters.
Thanks for reading.
The Global Private Wealth Guide includes a chapter for nineteen different countries and features practical information regarding tax issues, succession law, the status of trusts, business and charitable planning, and the role of fiduciaries in each jurisdiction. The Guide also features a profile page for each country, in which general information related to relevant business practices is summarized.
The Private Wealth Guide is a helpful tool for lawyers assisting clients who may hold property or business interests in multiple jurisdictions. Among the interesting features of the website for the Guide is the option of comparing the treatment of each issue between two or more jurisdictions. For example, it offers the opportunity to obtain quick and reliable information regarding any differences between the treatment of marital property in Canada and the United States.
A complete electronic copy of the guide is available here. A link has also recently been added to the resources section of our website.
Thank you for reading and have a great weekend.