News & Publications

Wills & Estates

Financial Exploitation and Elder Abuse

Written by on February 21, 2018.

What is Elder Abuse? [1] Several millennia have passed since, according to the Book of Genesis, Jacob and his mother, Rebecca, conspired to trick Isaac who was, according to biblical scholars, by then an ailing and blind 130 year old man. They tricked him into believing that Jacob was his brother, Esau, thereby securing for Jacob an inheritance that was to go to Esau. Things worked out rather well for Jacob, what with his 12 sons, one of whom, with his multi-hued coat, inspired a musical. Thin...

Concerned Beneficiary? Court Finds Will Challenges Must Have Minimal Evidentiary Basis

Written by on February 07, 2018.

The recent decision in Seepa v Seepa, 2017 ONSC 5368 contains observations that may have an impact on future Will challenges under Rule 75.06 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and in particular, on the materials that must be placed before the court in the “Motion for Directions”, which typically initiates a Will challenge. The parties were the two children of the deceased. The deceased had created a new Will not long before she passed, and she left the residue of her Estate to her young...

Twelve FAQ for Wills and Estates

Written by on January 03, 2018.

Siskinds’ Will and Estate Lawyers respond to hundreds of calls each year. Here is a list of the questions I am most frequently asked, and my standard responses. How do we find out if there is a will? What happens in an intestacy? When is there a reading of the will? How do I get a copy of the will? What is required for a will to be valid? If there is more than one will, which one is valid? When should I receive my inheritance? The estate trustee (executor) is not resp...

What happens if a deceased’s will is lost? What if it has been destroyed?

Written by on August 12, 2016.

Estate trustees - an individual (or individuals) appointed to administer a deceased's estate - may find themselves unable to locate the original copy of the deceased's Will. Perhaps the Will has been misplaced, or destroyed. What is to be done in these situations? Luckily, the Rules of Civil Procedure provide a way forward. In this situation your lawyer can make an application to the court. Following Rule 75.02 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the reviewing judge may issue a Certificate of Ap...

Whittling Down Our Testamentary Freedom

Written by on January 21, 2016.

Testamentary freedom – the principle that a person of sound mind is free to leave his or her estate to whomever they like, for whatever reason, and without explanation– is a deeply entrenched notion in Canadian common law and society. However, as those of us in the estates and trust field know quite well, testamentary freedom is not absolute; it is subject to numerous constraints and limitations. One such limitation arises from the doctrine of public policy which can void bequests that a...

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...

US Estate and Gift Tax: Part I – an introduction

Written by on October 05, 2015.

Canada has not had estate and gift taxes since their repeal in 1972.[i] It will be a surprise for many Canadians that they could still be subject estate and gift taxes under US tax law. Canadian residents who are not US citizens can be subject to tax on assets owned in the United States including US real property and stocks. Overview of US tax attributes The US Internal Revenue Code (IRC) imposes tax liability depending on a taxpayer’s classification as: (1) a US citizen; (2) a US resident a...

Qualified Disability Trusts

Written by on May 08, 2015.

On December 16, 2014, Bill C-43, Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No 2 received royal assent. The Bill implements several tax measures included in the 2014 federal budget. The changes will come into effect January 1, 2016 and will have a significant impact on estate planning, specifically the taxation of testamentary trusts.  What is a testamentary trust? A testamentary trust is a trust, for the benefit of another, established by a person as a result of his or her death. Testamentary trusts hav...