News & Publications

Guardianships

Removing a Court-Appointed Guardian in Ontario

Written by on December 16, 2015.

Previous articles have discussed powers of attorney and guardianships and the duties and obligations of attorneys and guardians. But what can be done when a family member of the incapable person feels that the guardian or attorney is not acting appropriately? Occasionally, supportive friends or family members may have concerns about the actions taken by an attorney or guardian and may seek to have that person removed or replaced by the court. While the standard required to remove an attorney ...

Daniel Strickland Quoted in Canadian Lawyer Magazine

Written by on October 21, 2015.

Daniel Strickland was recently quoted in Canadian Lawyer Magazine for his knowledge about estate planning for people with special needs. By Marg Bruineman Looming changes to the Income Tax Act introduce a “whole new world” to the future of estate planning in Canada, calling into question the value of the use of trusts as a tool to achieve tax savings on investments. There are also concerns that one of the changes is misdirected and could have unintended consequences. “They will ch...

The Consent and Capacity Board Cannot Appoint a Guardian of Property

Written by on October 09, 2015.

A recent article in the London Free Press[1] discussed the difficulty a local woman is experiencing in attempting to deposit a settlement cheque issued on behalf of her incapable brother. The article refers to a process whereby the individual would not have to become her brother’s official guardian for property, but could instead be appointed by a local tribunal within a matter of weeks in order to have the authority to negotiate the cheque on his behalf. However, from further investigat...

RDSPs: working with Henson Trusts

Written by on March 05, 2015.

Prior to the introduction of the Registered Disability Savings Plan (RDSP) in 2008, the most prudent financial planning tool for parents with a child suffering from prolonged and severe disabilities was the Henson trust. RDSPs have not made the Henson trust obsolete; it can be used jointly with the RDSP to optimize the long-term savings opportunities. Trusts A trust is a legal arrangement whereby property is held by one person (the Trustee) for the benefit of another (the Beneficiary). A trust...

Capacity and Powers of Attorney

Written by on November 25, 2014.

When we speak about “capacity” in the legal sense, we are considering whether a person can make a decision in a certain set of circumstances and understand the consequences of making, or not making, the decision. The decision maker does not necessarily need to make the “best” or the “right” decision, so long as they are able to appreciate the consequences. The legal test for capacity varies based on the type of decision that the person is making. Generally, any decision will fit...

Guardianship Applications and the Substitute Decisions Act

Written by on November 25, 2014.

Usually, a power of attorney document will be used when a person becomes incapable. However, if that person did not have a power of attorney for property or personal care before they became incapable, a decision maker may have to be appointed by the court under the Substitute Decisions Act. This is known as a guardianship application. Guardians can be appointed to make personal care decisions for the incapable person or to make property decisions for the person. One person can be a guardian...

Proposed legislation will end preferential tax treatment for Testamentary trusts by 1 January 2016

Written by on November 24, 2014.

In October 2014, the Federal Government tabled a Notice of Ways and Means Motion to implement changes to the Income Tax Act (‘ITA’) proposed in the 2014 Federal Budget. The government first disclosed its concern about perceived abuses of the tax treatment of testamentary trusts in the 2013 Federal Budget. The proposed changes affect testamentary trusts and grandfathered inter-vivos trusts.[1] Testamentary trusts are an estate planning tool that arise upon the death of an individual. The...

Wills, Trusts and Estate Planning for People with Disabilities and their Families

Written by and on June 01, 2014.

Introduction Families are very familiar with positive planning processes that are focused on helping their child with disabilities to have a good life. You may have had help by many people in your unique situation to develop a good plan: extended family and friends, members of your child’s support circle, other families in similar circumstances, or facilitators. In order for your plan to continue after you are gone, it is also necessary to develop a will and estate plan. Your lawyer’s resp...

Predatory Marriage: A Modern Day Marriage Trap

Written by on January 07, 2014.

Predatory marriages are a developing phenomenon in Ontario. Predatory spouses take advantage of elderly victims and assume control of their financial affairs. This can have severe consequences for the victim and their family. Recently Canadian courts have taken a stricter stance on what sort of capacity is required for marriage. In this article, Dagmara Wozniak looks at the issue and some of the relevant laws. Predatory marriages are a developing phenomenon. The term “predatory marriage” ...