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Nine years ago, father died leaving a will....

Post by Webscout » Fri Sep 08, 2017 9:12 am

Friday, September 8, 2017
Nine years ago, father died leaving a will. Now the will can't be found and property needs to be sold.
Lynne Butler-Lawyer Canada

What happens if you don't deal with an estate for years after someone passes away? As this reader's question shows, delay can lead to problems.

"My father passed nine years ago. He had a will and everything went to my mother. Now my mother wants to sell the property but it's still in my father's name. It was never put in her name. Neither the will nor the lawyer can be found. How can my mother sell the property?"

It's not unusual at all for widows and widowers to neglect to take their spouse's name off the property. It's not a good idea to put these things off, as your question clearly demonstrates, but as I said, it happens a lot. Sometimes it's because the widowed person is fully occupied trying to cope with the loss of their spouse and adjusting to their new reality. In other cases, they would have taken care of the name change on the property had they only known about it.

Your mother cannot sell the property without transferring it into her name first because otherwise it's not hers to sell. She will most likely have to apply to the court for probate of the will in order for the land titles office or land registry to transfer the title to herself.

That brings us to the question of where the will might be located. I'll assume that your mother has already searched in all of the likely places with no luck. Have you checked with the probate court to find out whether the will has been through probate? That could be why the will cannot be found anywhere else. It's worth a call or trip to the probate clerk's office. Finding that the will had already been sent for probate would be the best possible outcome here.

Finding the lawyer might easier than finding the will. Has your mother contacted the Law Society of the province in which the lawyer practiced? The Law Society issues the lawyer's license to practice and therefore usually knows where lawyers are. Most Law Societies have a searchable roster of lawyers online that you can check. If you can't find the lawyer on the online roster, call the Law Society and ask about him. You might find out that the lawyer moved, died, or retired. In such case, ask what happened to his files. The lawyer might have had partners in the firm who still have the files, or the Law Society might have appointed a custodian for them.

If the will simply cannot be found, your mother will most likely have to apply to the court to be the administrator of the estate in order to gain the legal authority to deal with the property. That is not particularly difficult to do. The issue is going to be how the property must be distributed. Even though your father had a will when he died, that will cannot now be produced or proved. This raises the question of whether intestacy law must apply.

In most provinces, the spouse of the deceased person must share the estate with the children. This could mean that the house does not go to your mother. There are a lot of factors to take into consideration, the biggest of which is the province of residence. Other relevant considerations would be the value of the property and of other assets (if any) in the estate.

Another factor that comes into play is whether the property you're talking about is the matrimonial home that your parents lived in. In many provinces, there is legislation that gives the matrimonial home to the surviving spouse no matter whose name it was in. That would by-pass the intestacy law provisions.

Because there are so many factors to consider, I don't think it's a good idea for your mother to try to deal with this situation without a lawyer.
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Mom left me the house. What do I owe my brothers?

Post by Webscout » Sun Sep 17, 2017 11:51 am

Saturday, September 16, 2017
Mom left me the house. What do I owe my brothers?
Lynne Butler-Lawyer

There is an interesting article that caught my eye. The column is not written by a lawyer, but by someone who is called an ethicist. I'm not sure that's a real title but clearly it indicates that the column is intended to be about moral rather than legal rights. It gives an added dimension to how I usually think about inheritance issues. It might give you added perspective, too.

A question was asked by a 60-year-old person who inherited the house from his mother and is now being threatened with a lawsuit by his siblings. Certainly a situation I've seen many times.

If you're interested in what an ethicist rather than a lawyer would counsel this person to do, click here to read the article.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/08/16/maga ... thers.html
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CDN:Taking the financial reins from Mom and Dad

Post by Webscout » Mon Sep 18, 2017 8:02 am

Sunday, September 17, 2017
Taking the financial reins from Mom and Dad
Lynne Butler-Lawyer

Many people think of estate planning as making a will, but that's only part of it. The other important part is making documents that plan for losing your mental capacity. Sure, it's not the most fun thing to think about but it's certainly better than the situation occurring while you're unprepared. The incapacity documents are the Enduring Power of Attorney and a healthcare directive.

Adult children who are appointed under the Enduring Power of Attorney have to adjust to the role reversal. Now they have to parent their parents. Those who haven't been through it perhaps don't understand what the process is like.

I've just read a good article about taking the financial reins from your parents at www.financialplanningforcanadians.ca. Click here https://www.financialplanningforcanadia ... s-finances to read it. By the way, there are lots of other really good articles about money and planning on that site, so take a look around.
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Video: How to prevent fights over wills

Post by Webscout » Thu Sep 21, 2017 8:21 am

Video: How to prevent fights over wills
Lynne Butler-Lawyer-East Coast Canada
Here is a brief video that readers might find interesting. In it you will see Rob Carrick, financial columnist for the Globe and Mail, chatting with Mark Goodfield, an accountant who does a lot of estate work, and who some of you may know through his excellent blog, The Blunt Bean Counter. http://www.thebluntbeancounter.com/
The video is about how to prevent fights over wills, which is something most of us really want to know about. Click here https://www.getsmarteraboutmoney.ca/vid ... b-carrick/ to see the video. Not every idea works for every family, but maybe this video will give you an idea you can use.
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5 Financial Traps Seniors Fall Into And How To Avoid Them

Post by Webscout » Wed Sep 27, 2017 5:59 am

5 Financial Traps Seniors Fall Into And How To Avoid Them
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CDN:Limitation periods and dependant's relief claims-Ontario

Post by Webscout » Tue Oct 03, 2017 9:19 am

Limitation periods and dependant's relief claims-Ontario

Monday, October 2, 2017


Lynne Butler-Lawyer east coast Canada

"Dependent's Relief" is the name we give to the right that some people automatically have upon the death of a loved one. The people in question are the spouse of the deceased, his or her minor children, and his or her adult children who cannot earn a living due to a disability. The right in question is the right to receive adequate financial support from the deceased's estate.
As a general rule, a person who wants to make a claim against an estate for dependent's relief has six months from the date that probate is granted to bring a claim. However, I was reminded recently that the general rule - like plenty of other general rules - has notable exceptions.
I read an article by Alexander Turner, a Toronto lawyer, which talks about that six-month deadline (or, as we say in the law biz, "limitation date"). In the article, Mr. Turner talks about the circumstances under which the limitation date can be extended. The extension of the deadline could be extremely important to beneficiaries, executors, and claimants alike, as it affects everyone involved in the estate.
Click below to read the article. It is a bit technical, since it was written for lawyers, but it's very good and worth checking out if you are involved in an estate in Ontario.
http://www.advocatedaily.com/profile/al ... ims-1.html
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Police involvement in estates

Post by Webscout » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:44 am

Saturday, October 7, 2017
New Law Show episode: Police involvement in estates - now online
Lynne Butler-Lawyer-East Coast Canada

We have a really excellent episode this week (October 7, 2017) on The Law Show. Staff Sergeant Ralph Mitchell from the RNC Economic Fraud unit joined us to talk about police involvement in estate matters. He had some great insights and tips from the point of view of the police.

It's online now for listening at your convenience. Click here http://vocm.com/shows/weekends-on-vocm/ ... d-estates/ and scroll down to the episode you want to hear.
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Care home manager jailed for stealing thousands from 97-year-old woman

Post by Webscout » Sun Oct 08, 2017 8:45 am

Care home manager jailed for stealing thousands from 97-year-old woman
Lynne Butler-Lawyer

In Birmingham, England, an unnamed 97-year-old woman lived in a care facility managed by Carleen Wilkins. Wilkins used the victim's ATM card to withdraw money every day for about a year, taking a total of 90,000 British pounds (about $147,000). The elderly woman knew nothing about it and had never authorized Wilkins to access her bank account. Click here

http://www.itv.com/news/central/2017-10 ... old-woman/


Wilkins was busted when she took the victim to the bank one day, causing the bank to become suspicious and take a look at the activity on the account. Once she was caught and her first excuses were not believed by anyone, Wilkins admitted to taking the cash.

Now Wilkins has been sentenced to 2 1/2 years in jail. Because Wilkins was the manager of the care facility and used her job there to steal the bank card, she was in a position of trust. In law, a theft by someone in a position of trust is considered to worse than a theft by a stranger.

I'm glad she's behind bars. She has no business looking after vulnerable people. The elderly victim in this case could have been left with absolutely nothing, and she might never have discovered who took her money. As it is, she is never going to be able to recover the amount that has been spent.

I am so impressed by the bank that was proactive in looking after their vulnerable customer. I hope, however, that this story reinforces the need to keep an eye on elderly family members, other relatives, and neighbours who are on their own. While it's fantastic that this bank acted as it did, we cannot count on this happening in every case. It's up to all of us to check in with older family members and friends to make sure all is well.
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USA-Grandchildren Inheriting Savings Bonds for Education

Post by Webscout » Mon Oct 09, 2017 6:23 am

USA-Grandchildren Inheriting Savings Bonds for Education
Presently, many grandchildren find themselves inheriting savings bonds left for them by deceased grandparents. Although savings bonds can be problematic when it comes to inheritance, inheriting savings bonds for education can be helpful. In fact, with a correct registration, the savings bonds may qualify for the education tax exclusion. According to TreasuryDirect the following must apply, in part, to qualify for the education tax exclusion:
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This Law Blog is very helpful..please vote...

Post by Webscout » Mon Oct 09, 2017 10:41 am

This Law Blog is very helpful with lots of information and can save Canadians a lot of money. Few lawyers give anything free.
Sunday, October 8, 2017
Please vote for us as your fave law blog!
Posted by Lynne Butler
Well, friends, some of you must have nominated me for "fave law blog" since I made the candidate's list. Many thanks and I'd make you all chocolate chip cookies if I could. In the meantime, voting is now open and you can click here https://www.theexpertinstitute.com/lega ... aw-canada/ to vote for this blog.
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Where to look for a loved one's elusive will

Post by Webscout » Sat Oct 14, 2017 7:53 am

Friday, October 13, 2017
Where to look for a loved one's elusive will
Posted by Lynne Butler

BC lawyer Alison Oxtoby recently wrote an article about looking for someone's will. She has obviously run into the same situation that I and many of you readers have encountered - the search for a will that someone said he made but nobody can find. Click here http://www.advocatedaily.com/alison-oxt ... XcPWS.mjjo to read Ms Oxtoby's article.

She mentions that she has heard of someone who kept his will in the freezer. In my experience, a lot of people keep them there. It has something to do with believing that if the house burns down, the freezer will still be standing (whether that's true or not, I couldn't say). It's at the point now that when people call me desperately searching for a will, I advise them to check the freezer. Now, don't misunderstand me; I am NOT suggesting this is a good place to keep a will. I do not agree that it's a good place. I'm just saying it's one of those things that some people do.

Every time I sign a will with clients, I have a chat with them about where they are going to keep their wills and the need for someone to know where the will is located. As Ms Oxtoby said in her article, it's not necessary for someone to know the contents of your will while you're alive, but someone needs to know where to find it once you're gone.

If you're one of those people who finds a secret cubby-hole hiding place for your will, maybe think it through a little more carefully. Have you deliberately concealed your will somewhere where you're sure nobody can find it and snoop into your business? If so, that's great while you're alive but the thing is, once you're gone, they still can't find it. If you've rolled up your will in a shaving cream can or hidden it behind a photo in a frame, you might as well not have a will. Why bother, since nobody can find it when the time comes? Are you under the impression that you are going to have the opportunity and ability to tell someone the location right before you pass away?

Be sensible. If you had to locate important documents, where would you search? That's where you should keep your will. If privacy is an issue while you're alive, think about keeping your will at your lawyer's office or in a bank safe deposit box. At least those are places your executor will search, unlike the inside of the handle of the axe or the underside of the welcome mat.
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Apathy Towards Estate Planning Can Lead to Adverse Consequences

Post by Webscout » Mon Oct 16, 2017 6:26 am

Apathy Towards Estate Planning Can Lead to Adverse Consequences

Presently, apathy towards estate planning is commonly brought on by perceptions people have about estate planning. Recently, during conversations about estate planning, the following perceptions surfaced:
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Monday, October 16, 2017 The Law Show

Post by Webscout » Tue Oct 17, 2017 8:19 am

Monday, October 16, 2017
The Law Show: An approach that includes financial, estate, business succession, and insurance planning
Posted by Lynne Butler

In this week episode of The Law Show, we chatted with Carson Thistle (http://www.thistlefinancial.net/). He has spent the last 30+ years advising individuals and families about finances, estate planning, retirement planning, business succession planning, and insurance planning at Thistle Financial. If you've ever wondered whether there is a way to learn about money and how to get your financial act together, you should listen to Carson. He has a unique approach and some fantastic ideas. Click here http://vocm.com/shows/weekends-on-vocm/ ... d-estates/ to go to VOCM.com and select the podcast you'd like to hear.
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Saturday, October 21, 2017 -All about taxes in your estate The Law show

Post by Webscout » Sun Oct 22, 2017 8:09 am

Saturday, October 21, 2017
All about taxes in your estate - our latest episode of The Law Show is now online
Lynne Butler-Lawyer-East Coast Canada

Is talking about tax scary or boring? To me it's neither, but I know it isn't everyone's fondest topic. Like it or not, there may well be tax issues arising when you pass away. If you don't think about it while you're alive, your executor will have to figure it out when you have passed. Things may not go the way you planned at all if you don't consider taxes. This week (October 21, 2017) Chelsea and I spend the entire program talking about taxes and how they affect your estate. Click here https://soundcloud.com/vocm/sets/the-law-show to listen to the podcast of this week's episode.
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CRA vows action on Canadian tax evaders amid Paradise Papers leak

Post by Webscout » Mon Nov 06, 2017 8:18 am

CRA vows action on Canadian tax evaders amid Paradise Papers leak

The Canada Revenue Agency headquarters in Ottawa is shown on November 4, 2011. The Canada Revenue Agency says it won't hesitate to investigate new evidence of offshore tax evasion in the wake of a second massive leak of tax-haven financial records. The leak of some 13.4 million records, dubbed the Paradise Papers, lifts the veil on the often murky ways in which the wealthy stash their money in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes.

SEAN KILPATRICK/THE CANADIAN PRESS
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THE CANADIAN PRESS
1 HOUR AGO
NOVEMBER 5, 2017
The Canada Revenue Agency says it won't hesitate to investigate new evidence of offshore tax evasion in the wake of a second massive leak of tax haven financial records.

The leak of some 13.4 million records, dubbed the Paradise Papers, lifts another veil on the often murky ways in which the wealthy — including more than 3,000 Canadian individuals and entities — stash their money in offshore accounts to avoid paying taxes.

Read also: Paradise Papers leak reveals business ties between Russia firm, U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross

Among the names that pop up in the records with some connection to offshore accounts are former Canadian prime ministers Brian Mulroney, Paul Martin and Jean Chretien, the Queen, U.S. commerce secretary Wilbur Ross, and the past and current chief fundraisers for the federal Liberal party.

Neither the CRA nor any court has determined the Canadians did anything wrong.

Offshore accounts are used by wealthy individuals and corporations around the world as a perfectly legal way to reduce their tax burden, although the anonymity provided to account holders has also led to associations with tax evasion, money laundering and organized crime.

The Paradise Papers were obtained by German newspaper Suddeutsche Zeitung and the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, including CBC/Radio Canada and the Toronto Star which published details on Sunday.

The media outlets did not disclose how they acquired the documents, which consist primarily of client records of offshore law firm Appleby, as well as some records from offshore corporate services firms Estera and Asiaciti Trust.

In an apparent attempt to pre-empt the news reports, the CRA issued a statement last Friday, detailing the agency's efforts to crack down on tax evasion and tax avoidance, which intensified following the first huge leak of tax-haven records, known as the Panama Papers, in April 2016.

The agency said it's invested $1 billion to tackle the problem and currently has more than 990 audits and more than 42 criminal investigations underway related to offshore tax havens.

As a result of audits over the last two years, the CRA said it identified some $25 billion in unpaid taxes, interest and penalties. And last year, it levied more than $44 million in penalties on tax advisers who facilitated non-compliance with Canadian tax laws.

The agency said it's also working closely with 36 other countries in the Joint International Taskforce on Shared Intelligence and Collaboration on more effective ways to detect and deal with tax evasion and avoidance.

Evidently anticipating Sunday's release of the Paradise Papers, the CRA promised to do more should new details of questionable practices emerge.

"In the event that further details come to light, CRA will not hesitate to investigate and take further action as warranted," the agency said.

"The government of Canada will continue to work with the provinces and territories, as well as other tax administrations and all other partners, to ensure a tax system that works for Canadians. In addition, the CRA will continue to build on its capacity to detect and crack down on tax cheats and ensure that those who choose to break the law face the consequences and are held accountable for their actions."

A spokesman for National Revenue Minister Diane Lebouthillier, said on Sunday that "the CRA is reviewing links to Canadian entities and will take appropriate action in regards to the Paradise Papers."

Tax avoidance measures involving offshore trusts are legal, provided that the trust is genuinely managed offshore and that Canadian taxes are paid on any Canadian contributions.

According to the Toronto Star and CBC/Radio Canada, the records suggest that Stephen Bronfman and his family's Montreal-based investment company, Claridge Inc., were linked to an offshore trust in the Cayman Islands that may have used questionable means to avoid paying millions in taxes.

Bronfman is a close friend of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who tapped him in 2013 to fill the role of revenue chair — effectively, the chief fundraiser — for the federal Liberal party.

The offshore trust also involved former chief Liberal fundraiser and senator Leo Kolber and his son, Jonathan Kolber.

William Brock, a lawyer for Bronfman and Jonathan Kolber, denied any impropriety, telling the CBC that his clients "have always acted properly and ethically, including fully complying with all applicable laws." Any suggestion of "false documentation, fraud, 'disguised' conduct, tax evasion or similar conduct is false," Brock added.

The Prime Minister's Office referred questions about Bronfman to the Liberal party.

Party spokesman Braeden Caley said Bronfman's role is strictly a volunteer position devoted to fundraising, "not policy decisions." The revenue chair is a "non-voting position" on the party's national board, Caley added.

Conservative leader Andrew Scheer issued a statement on Sunday accusing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of failing to crack down on "tax avoidance schemes used by his wealthy friends."

"Justin Trudeau's well-connected Liberal friends get away with paying less, and you pay more. There is nothing fair about that," the statement said.
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