The importance of the irrevocable beneficiary designation

Beneficiary designations[1] are not created equal. There is a significant difference between the status of a revocable beneficiary and an irrevocable beneficiary.

A beneficiary designation may be altered or revoked prior to the death of the deceased, unless it …

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To disclose or not to disclose: Jointly-held assets and the personal representative’s obligations

Only assets that fall within an estate are subject to probate fees. It follows then, that assets held in joint tenancy that pass outside of the estate due to the operation of the right of survivorship do not require disclosure …

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Joint tenancy: Right of survivorship or resulting trust?

Transferring assets by way of joint tenancy is one of the most popular estate planning tools, given its relative ease and low cost of implementation. Assets which are held jointly are typically subject to a “right of survivorship”, meaning the …

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Broken heart, lost trust: Trust planning that fails to account for family realities

One reason parents place assets into a corporate trust structure may be to reduce the amount of tax paid on such assets while preserving a specific estate plan. An alternative reason may be to protect their family assets from potential …

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A Tale of Two Wills: When and Why Dual Wills are an Effective Estate Planning Tool

Dual wills[i] are an estate planning tool that has gained popularity in British Columbia since 2014, when the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (“WESA”) came into effect. In essence, this planning tool involves the use of two …

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The Default Position: What Happens to the Administration of Your Estate if Your Executor Dies?

In a Will, the executor appointment is one of the most carefully-considered decisions of the will-maker. It is a position of significant trust and responsibility.

But what happens if the intended executorship fails?

Scenario 1: The Deceased Executor Dies with

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With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility: Enduring Power of Attorney Instruments and Statutory Duties of Attorneys

It is very common for people to prepare an Enduring Power of Attorney instrument (“EPOA”) as part of their estate plan. This allows an adult to designate an “attorney” to make financial and most legal decisions on behalf of the …

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Bill C-14: Are you eligible for medically-assisted death?

On June 17, 2016, Bill C-14, An Act to amend the Criminal Code and to make related amendments to other Acts (medical assistance in dying), received Royal Assent. Those interested in or affected by medical assistance in dying (“MAID”) …

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Independent legal advice may fail to rebut the presumption of undue influence

In a previous blog post, Emily Clough discussed the British Columbia Supreme Court decision in Cowper-Smith v. Morgan, 2015 BCSC 1170, in which the sons of the deceased successfully set aside a joint tenancy between the deceased and

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Gifts to Your Adult Children — Does an Ex-spouse get Half?

It is not uncommon for parents to provide monetary gifts to their adult children. Parents may wish to help their child with a down payment on a property, or help pay out their child’s existing mortgage. Parents often consider these …

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