Remember travel? Remember getting on an airplane and going somewhere (anywhere) else? Although you would be forgiven for thinking of these activities as science fiction due to recent world events, with the COVID-19 pandemic hopefully on its downward trend the idea of travel could again be creeping back into the collective consciousness.
Although the more common souvenirs to bring back from a vacation are likely a sunburn and some tacky items with the name of the destination emblazoned across it, as this is an estate blog it got me thinking of whether there may be any estate related souvenirs that you could bring back. Could you, for example, sign a new Last Will and Testament while on vacation, potentially adding a Will with an exotic destination name at the top to the list of items you bring back? Could such a Will later be admitted to probate in Ontario? Like any good legal question the answer is “maybe”.
In Ontario the potential admittance of a foreign Last Will and Testament is governed by section 37(1) of the Succession Law Reform Act, which provides:
“As regards the manner and formalities of making a will of an interest in movables or in land, a will is valid and admissible to probate if at the time of its making it complied with the internal law of the place where,
(a) the will was made;
(b) the testator was then domiciled;
(c) the testator then had his or her habitual residence; or
(d) the testator then was a national if there was in that place one body of law governing the wills of nationals.” [emphasis added]
In accordance section 37(1)(a) of the Succession Law Reform Act, a foreign Will can be admitted for probate in Ontario so long as it complied with the internal law of the place where it was made at the time it was signed. As you would presumably be presently located in the destination on which you were on vacation, so long as the Will complied with the laws of the jurisdiction where you were on vacation at the time it was signed it could theoretically later be admitted to probate in Ontario making your vacation Will a valid Will in Ontario.
In considering your potential vacation Will it would be wise to remember that just because you “can” do something doesn’t mean you “should”, with a vacation Will likely being in the same category as a vacation tattoo as something that should be very seriously considered and thought through before it is done.
Thank you for reading.
With the summer vacation now at the midpoint, many people are travelling as part of their holidays. But, what can one do when a friend or family member dies while you are on vacation? Does your trip have to be cut short? Are there additional charges to be paid for changing dates on plane tickets and for hotel room cancellations? Not any longer. In many cases, a livestream funeral service is now available. Some companies provide this service via the internet. Or, depending upon the funeral home, wireless can be used to stream the memorial service using facetime or skype. There are even websites that provide information and assist with the planning of the do-it-yourself camera work.
There are many advantages for those who cannot attend even if not on vacation. Other reasons to not attend in person might be because of illness, distance, cost or other barriers. Now almost everyone can attend from wherever they are.
Also, the funeral service can be archived and watched again online. This can be of benefit not only to those who could not attend the service in person but also to family members who were there. It can help in dealing with their loss or to simply remember things that were missed in the immediate grief of the service. Technology has developed rapidly. It has become accepted and has recently extended into the areas of wills and estates, providing services such as online obituaries instead of publishing in newspapers; advertising for estate creditors using online services instead of much more expensive newspaper print notices; cataloging and registering the location of wills (in some jurisdictions); assisting lawyers in automated interactive drafting of wills (like the Hull e-State Planner); recognizing the validity of electronic wills (in some jurisdictions); among others. The trend towards even more changes coming in this area is strong and there is hope that expanding technology use will serve to assist friends and family members through difficult times.
Thanks for reading!
Our estate litigation practice by its nature concerns end of life issues. And while no one expects the “end of life” to happen on a vacation, we’ve been involved in many estate files where that’s been the case. We’d like to think that vacation time is sacred, but the grim reaper begs to differ.
While an unexpected death on land is hard enough for family members to deal with – especially if the body has to be repatriated from a foreign country – a sudden death at sea feels all the more daunting. Where can they store the body? How long can they keep it? Where and how can you take the body off the ship in port? The answers are “in an on-ship morgue,” “about seven days,” and “taking the body off the ship depends on several factors, like the laws of the next port and the country of registration of the ship.”
Yes, cruise ships have body bags and a morgue. They don’t have much choice – about three people die of natural causes each week on cruise ships. In terms of the body repatriation process for family members on board, it can vary depending on the ship and where it’s sailing. In some situations, the body can be taken off the ship at the next port. In others, it will be taken off when the ship returns to its home port. For extended cruises that take months to complete, arrangements will be more complex.
The silver lining in all of this is that because sudden deaths at sea are a weekly event, cruise line staff have procedures and training to support surviving family members and help them make arrangements.
This article from Cruise Critic provides a good overview of what happens when a death occurs on ship.
Cruise for your retirement?
On a more positive note, this CNBC article explores the emerging trend of retiring on a cruise ship, rather than living in an adult community or a retirement residence on land. It can actually be an affordable alternative to more conventional retirement choices.
Thanks for reading … Have a wonderful day,
The association between “reading” and “summer” may not be as strong as it used to be, but it’s a tough association to shake. A couple of generations ago, there was lots of time for summertime reading. Television had summer reruns (so not much to watch) and vacations were often modest (cottage, camping, road trips). There was plenty of down time.
Fast forward to today and the introduction of new summer shows plus the addition of Netflix means there is compelling television in every season. And vacations often involve a plane ride and a more active exploration of countries abroad. Reading can sometimes take a back seat.
That said, like the bell ringing for Pavlov’s dogs, when the first summer heat wave comes I want to have a book on the go. With Canada Day marking the beginning of the summer season for most of us, it seems fitting to look to Canadian writers for our summer reading inspiration.
The CBC has compiled a list of 100 must-read Canadian novels. If you’re looking for a good place to start, this is it.
Many (but by no means all) of these novels fall into a category that some would call serious literature – which might involve a little more heavy lifting by the reader than a crime thriller. That said, there are thrillers on the list, such as Linwood Barclay’s No Time for Goodbye.
And if you prefer to consider your book selection by author rather than title, the CBC has conveniently listed the “100 writers in Canada you need to know now.” From the humour of Terry Fallis, to the thrillers of Andrew Pyper and Sheri Lapena, to the extremely popular poetry of Rupi Kaur, you’re sure to find a book that makes your summer special.
Thanks for reading!
A recent Globe and Mail article on vacation time caught my eye. In it, Elizabeth Renzetti notes an ADP Canada study that found that:
- only one in three employees take all their allotted vacation time each year
- 28% take less than half of their allotted time; and
- nearly one-third of people admit to working during their holidays.
Renzetti points to a number of possible reasons for this – from affordability, to holding multiple jobs, to the fear that our employer will realize we’re dispensable if we’re gone and work life carries on. It’s complicated, but for whatever reason it seems that we North American workers aren’t as good as our European counterparts (who have much more generous vacation laws) at taking time off. As a result, the notion of work/life balance tilts strongly in favour of work.
Stop stressing – return to your roots
I think the work/life balance needs a new metaphor – and that’s the work/life tapestry. As a farming society 200 years ago, there was no separation of work life and personal life. You lived and worked on the farm and almost all of your life was based there. The change began in the industrial revolution, when factory work created a clear separation between a work life and a home life.
What technology is doing is bringing us closer to our agrarian roots. The separation is blurring, and for many of us, is once again non-existent. We can fight it – and try to recapture that separation – or we can accept it and support it. Personally, I think the smart answer is to accept and support it, because this is a change that I think is as inevitable as the change brought about by the industrial revolution.
Yes, employers can play a key role in supporting this tapestry, by providing employees with the flexibility and support they may need to address other issues that are happening in their life. But employees have a role too in accepting that our personal lives will sometimes creep into our work, and vice versa. Rather than stress about the fact that you need to take a morning on your Tuscan vacation to join a telephone conference, embrace the fact that technology now enables us to phone a client in the morning and bike the hills of Italy in the afternoon.
Perhaps we’d all take a little more time off we worried a little less about crossing work/life boundaries and embraced a tapestry approach.
Thanks for reading,