Tax & Estate Planning

When to Review Your Estate Plan

While death and divorce may be clear indicators that a review of Will is needed, a variety of life events can impact your estate planning, from starting a new business venture to welcoming a new member of your family. These changes may impact not just your Will but also your Enduring Power of Attorney or Personal Directive. The following table presents a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that should prompt a review of your estate plan. When to Review Your Will A non-exhaustive list of circumstances that should prompt a review of your estate plan A. Changes in Family Relations ·        …


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Tax & Estate Planning

The Modernization of the Estate Planning Process?

A Discussion of Recent Changes in BC and Alberta Remote Signings Officially Possible in Alberta Back in May, we excitedly announced that Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, and Personal Directives could be validly signed and witnessed via video conference in Alberta. While that was technically true, it became immediately clear that further guidance would be required in order to make the process workable. The initial language allowed witnessing to occur virtually, but it did not specify that each witness could sign a separate but identical version of each page of a Will (i.e. it did not allow counterpart signature pages)….


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Tax & Estate Planning

Virtual Witnessing of Estate Planning Documents (COVID-19)

The Provinces of Alberta and British Columbia have recently passed Ministerial Orders which will temporarily allow for the virtual witnessing of Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney, Personal Directives (Alberta), and Representation Agreements (BC), provided certain requirements are met. Notably, the BC Order requires that the relevant document be witnessed by a lawyer or notary public, while the Alberta Order requires that the individual making the document receives advice from a lawyer respecting the making, signing and witnessing of the document. Effective from May 15, 2020 (in Alberta) and May 19, 2020 (in BC), individuals who wish to make or update…


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Tax & Estate Planning

Estate Planning in Uncertain Times

Caution: Documents prepared at home may not be effective in achieving your wishes Posted by: Britta Graversen | May 15, 2020 | Filed under: Estate Planning PLEASE NOTE: Since the date of this post, the Province of Alberta passed a Ministerial Order regarding virtual witnessing of estate planning documents, which impacts the options available during this time. Please see our post on that topic dated May 25th, 2020 for additional information. Everyone speaks about all the "extra time" we have on our hands these days, but I have personally found that, in many ways, it feels like there are even...

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Tax & Estate Planning

STEP Canada / Canada Revenue Agency Roundtable (2019)

This year, two of our associates – Katherine Ratcliffe and Jocelyn Arnason – attended the 21stannual Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Canada National Conference in Toronto, Ontario on June 6th and 7th, 2019. As usual, the STEP Canada/Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Roundtable was one of the highlights of the conference. During the Roundtable, the CRA provided detailed answers to 18 pre-selected questions posed by trust and estate practitioners across Canada on a variety of topics, including 6 questions requesting clarification on the relatively new "tax on split income" (TOSI) rules. In advance of the release of the CRA's...

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Tax & Estate Planning

Alter-ego and Joint Partner Trusts

Click here to view in PDF. Alter-ego trusts and joint partner trusts are special types of revocable inter vivos trusts, which, if correctly structured in accordance with our tax rules, enable you to transfer the property to them on a rollover basis. An alter-ego trust is a trust you can create while you are alive, but not until you are 65 or older. In order for the trust to qualify for the alter-ego status, you must be entitled to receive all of the income, and no one except you may receive any income or capital until you die. The advantage...

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Tax & Estate Planning

Family Trusts

Click here to view in PDF. A family trust is a type of trust established solely for the benefit of your family. There are two primary reasons you might wish to create a family trust. First, you may wish to obtain a tax advantage. Second, you may wish to distribute assets to your children (who are designated as beneficiaries of the trust) while maintaining control over the assets in a safe harbour environment. One of the major advantages of a family trust is that it allows you to split income among several beneficiaries instead of reporting all the income personally....

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Tax & Estate Planning

Creating an Effective Trust

Click here to view in PDF. The most important decision you will have to make about your trust is the choice of the trustee(s). A trustee’s powers begin when the settlor transfers property to the trust, creating financial resources on the trust’s balance sheet. The trustee’s powers remain in force until the trust is dissolved. Whether you choose an individual or corporate entity to be the trustee, the trustee’s character and experience can spell success or failure for the trust and its stated objectives. The trustee must have unquestioned integrity and a genuine understanding and concern for the welfare of...

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Tax & Estate Planning

STEP Canada / Canada Revenue Agency Roundtable (2019)

This year, two of our associates – Katherine Ratcliffe and Jocelyn Arnason – attended the 21stannual Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Canada National Conference in Toronto, Ontario on June 6th and 7th, 2019. As usual, the STEP Canada/Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) Roundtable was one of the highlights of the conference. During the Roundtable, the CRA provided detailed answers to 18 pre-selected questions posed by trust and estate practitioners across Canada on a variety of topics, including 6 questions requesting clarification on the relatively new "tax on split income" (TOSI) rules. In advance of the release of the CRA's...

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Tax & Estate Planning

Blended Families

Click here to view in PDF. Not only have blended families become increasingly prevalent in today’s world, but they often come together at a time when both spouses are more mature and have already created some of their own wealth. They may have developed their own philosophies towards wealth and established their own value system. Since money is frequently cited as the top reason for the breakdown of a relationship, it’s important for couples to communicate their views about money and debt. This is particularly true if one spouse has accumulated significantly more wealth than the other, as it can...

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