Property Transfers and Taxes

It is a general rule that a sale of a capital asset (such as real property) will trigger tax in the hands of the seller on any gains. One exemption from this tax on capital gains which is widely used …

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Corporate mistake: BC Supreme Court declines to permit retroactive tax planning

The B.C. Supreme Court recently concluded that failing to complete a transaction in the most tax efficient manner is not a “corporate mistake” that can be remedied under the Business Corporations Act[1] (the “Act”).

In Greither Estate v. Canada

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Advancement Demoted: Are we saying goodbye to the presumption of advancement in family property division?

The most recent chapter in the debate regarding the continued operation of the presumption of advancement in the context of property division attempts to put the presumption to rest, once and for all. Despite appellate authority to the contrary in …

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BC Court of Appeal finds failure to properly apply the presumption of resulting trust by lower court

The BC Court of Appeal decision in Winstanley v. Winstanley, 2017 BCCA 265, was released July 17, 2017. In finding the trial judge had failed to properly apply the presumption of resulting trust, the Court of Appeal affirmed the …

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He was “Just There”: Predatory marriage declared void in BC due to incapacity

The decision in the precedent-setting case of Devore-Thompson v. Poulain, 2017 BCSC 1289, was released July 24, 2017. It marks the first reported case in British Columbia in which the Court has set aside a marriage due to incapacity.…

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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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