The LEGAL/JUSTICE POST

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unclaimed Canadian bank account balances

Post by Webscout » Sun Sep 18, 2016 5:26 am

After 10 years, unclaimed Canadian bank account balances are transferred to the Bank of Canada. Anyone can search based on the account holder's name and location.

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http://www.bankofcanada.ca/unclaimed-balances/

https://ucbswww.bank-banque-canada.ca/scripts/search_english.cfm? 
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French heir finds $3.7m gold hoard under furniture

Post by Webscout » Thu Nov 24, 2016 8:50 am

Wednesday, November 23, 2016
French heir finds $3.7m gold hoard under furniture
Lynne Butler-Lawyer-Canada

How would you feel if you inherited a house from someone? Pretty good, I imagine. And what if the house was fully furnished and decorated? Even better! And now, imagine that hidden in the back of the linen closet and taped underneath couch cushions were stacks and stacks of gold. I'm sure you would think THAT would never happen to anyone. But it has. A man in France who inherited a house from a relative has found 100 kg (220 lbs) of gold in the house.

See link below to read a story from BBC with more details about this surprising haul.

If that happened to you, would you be allowed to keep the gold, or would that belong to the estate? That would depend on the facts and the wording of the will.

If the will left you the house and specifically gave you the contents of house as well, you'd be entitled to keep everything in the house, including the gold. If there were other beneficiaries, I'm sure they'd take a stab at claiming the gold belongs in the estate, but if the language of the will is clear, it should stand up to the challenge.

If the will left you the house only and did not specifically state that you were to get the contents as well, you would not get to keep the gold. Nor would you be able to keep the furniture or anything else in the house. The items would belong to the general estate and be divided among residuary beneficiaries. When a person leaves a beneficiary "the house", it does not include the contents. Leaving a house to someone means you have left your title to them, including the buildings but excluding the personal and household goods contained within them.

Other clauses in the will could also have an impact on whether the gold could be kept or not. Clauses in a will generally cannot be taken in isolation but must fit into the intent of the will as a whole. For example, if there was a clause in the will that said that all gold was to be left to A while the household contents were to be left to B, there could well be a legitimate dispute as to who should get the gold.

Most of us don't have gold bricks in the back of the junk drawer, but we do have plenty of other items in our homes, cabins, and rental properties. Whenever you think of leaving a piece of property to someone, make sure that you also consider what is to happen to the furniture, the decor items, the contents of the garage, and small valuables such as jewelry. If you are not clear in your will, you could create confusion and disputes among the beneficiaries.

French heir finds $3.7m gold hoard underneath furniture in house
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http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-38072135
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Woman who isn't named in lover's will can't get a penny from his estate, Pa. court sa

Post by Webscout » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:11 am

Woman who isn't named in lover's will can't get a penny from his estate, Pa. court says


May apply to other US states and Canadian Provinces.

Sunday, December 11, 2016
Woman who isn't named in lover's will can't get a penny from his estate, says PA court
Lynne Butler-Lawyer Canada

This story is from Pennsylvania, but it could be from plenty of places including some parts of Canada. In this case, Ralph Tito died in 2013. He had been in a romantic relationship with Carol Galinac for about 13 years. Mr. Tito had adult children from a previous relationship. When he died, Mr. Tito left his estate to his children and left nothing to Ms. Galinac.

Ms. Galinac sued for a share of the estate based on her assertion that she and Mr. Tito were common law spouses. The judge denied her claim. Ms. Galinac appealed to a higher court and that was denied too.

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http://www.pennlive.com/news/2016/11/woman_who_isnt_named_in_lovers.htmlto read more about this case from www.pennlive.com.
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The reason I want to talk about this case is that tens of thousands of common law couples in this country don't know what will happen if their partner should pass away. One of the reasons they're in the dark is that they make assumptions based on what they see on the news or anecdotes from friends. They assume that "common law is the same as married", It is not.

Sometimes when I tell common law couples that on the death of the partner he or she will inherit absolutely nothing unless there is a will, I get pushback. "But isn't it three months?" someone will ask me. Totally random number, as far as I can tell. "That's not true. I can get child support", another will say. Yes, but we're not talking about child support; we're talking about inheritance.

People in common law relationships need to understand one important thing. The fact that you are common law for child support purposes, or for tax purposes, or for the pension at work, does NOT mean that you will inherit anything from the estate in parts of Canada that do not recognize common law. They are separate legal issues. Don't assume anything!

Each province has different rules and regulations about who is a spouse for the purpose of inheriting and it's up to each individual person to find out from a lawyer (not a website, water cooler story at work, or coffee with your friends) the law in his or her province of residence. In Alberta, for example, you are considered a common law spouse if you live together for at least three years (and meet some other conditions) and if you fit that description you are entitled to inherit the same as a married spouse would. Here in my home province of Newfoundland and Labrador, it wouldn't matter if you lived together since Moses was a child; unless you are legally married you have no right to inherit your partner's assets in the absence of a will.

Frequently the response to a story like this is an automatic "that's not fair" by those who are in common law relationships. But isn't it? What if the person you're with thinks that you'd be okay without inheriting from him or her and believes his or her kids need the money more than you do? Doesn't a partner have a right to choose where his or her money goes? After all, there are plenty of things a common law spouse can choose to do to protect his or her spouse, such as marry the person, name them on a life insurance policy or RRSP, own assets jointly, or name them as a beneficiary under the will. I would assume if none of those things had happened after 13 years (in Mr. Tito's case), they were intentionally omitted.

Estate planning is important for all committed couples, but doubly so for those in common law relationships. Unless you want your estate held up in the courts and squandered on legal fees, talk to an estate planning lawyer.
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The LEGAL/JUSTICE POST

Post by Dude » Tue Dec 13, 2016 10:50 am

I didn't know that, I assumed that if you lived together more than 13 years you would have rights to an inheritance almost any where in the USA.
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The LEGAL/JUSTICE POST

Post by Webscout » Tue Dec 13, 2016 4:25 pm

One of the many reasons why people come to Utopia. Information That Counts.
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Sibling squabble over late brother's Meccano set goes to court

Post by Webscout » Tue Dec 20, 2016 8:16 am

Tuesday, December 20, 2016
Sibling squabble over late brother's Meccano set goes to court
Lynne Butler-Lawyer

There is a recent story from New Zealand about the estate of Bert van der Lubbe, who died in 2015. Mr van der Lubbe did not have a spouse or children. He left two wills, one from 2002 and one from 2013. In the earlier will, he left everything equally among his siblings. In the later will, he left out two of his sisters, Catherine and Mary.

The estate wasn't large. There were two main assets. One was a run-down piece of property which he owned in part with Catherine and her husband. The other asset was his collection of Meccano sets.

You might think that if there were to be a fight on this estate, it would be over the property. As it turns out, the real dispute was about the Meccano sets. Catherine had possession of them and refused to hand them over to Jacobus, the brother who was acting as executor under the 2013 will. She said she didn't trust him to handle the Meccano sets. Accusations began to fly between all of the siblings and things heated up. These disputes are never clean and this case was no exception. The rest of this large family chimed in as well.

The executor said that his siblings were like a "lynch mob". They were not happy that Jacobus didn't produce the 2013 will until a number of weeks after they had begun to work with the 2002 will. They said there was no transparency in how he was dealing with the estate. They brought an application to have him removed as executor and to replace him with another of the siblings, Vlaar. Even though several of the siblings agreed that Vlaar should be the replacement executor, the court refused to allow this. The judge said that the family had "irreconcilable differences".

To read about this case in more detail, click here [HIDE]

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http://www.stuff.co.nz/national/85205662/Sibling-squabble-over-late-brothers-Meccano-sets-goes-to-court
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To the eye of an outsider, cases like this don't make a lot of sense. Who would go to court over a Meccano set, you might ask. But these fights are not really about Meccano sets or grandmother's teapot or Dad's watch. They are about emotions and sibling relationships.People are fighting to win against real or perceived threats to their ideas about their family, and the physical manifestation of the dispute - such as a Meccano set - is usually irrelevant. They don't want people to get away with what they see as fraudulent, disrespectful, or greedy behaviour. The emotions run much, much more deeply than they would with strangers. As my clients so frequently say to me, "it's about the principle of the thing".

In this case, the judge refused to appoint Vlaar, a sibling who was willing to replace the executor, and instead appointed the Public Trust, a neutral third party. I completely agree with that decision. Putting Vlaar in place wouldn't solve a single thing. The issues would still exist. The emotions and rivalries and alliances would still exist. The fighting would probably go on exactly as before, simply with Jacobus being more angry and Vlaar and her cohorts feeling victorious. The family would most certainly be back in court before too long. Taking control of this matter away from the foolishness of these supposed adults was the right thing to do.

We can all learn a lesson from this case. The van der Lubbe siblings have now discovered that if they all dig in their heels and refuse to work together, the estate can easily be gobbled up by legal fees so that they end up with nothing. And the court is going to take away the one thing they all wanted the most - control - because they couldn't compromise.
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The LEGAL/JUSTICE POST

Post by Dude » Thu Dec 22, 2016 9:19 am

can't you just buy your own Meccano set at toys-R-Us for $20 dollars?
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The LEGAL/JUSTICE POST

Post by Webscout » Thu Dec 22, 2016 12:00 pm

[QUOTE=Dude;910999]can't you just buy your own Meccano set at toys-R-Us for $20 dollars?[/QUOTE]

Yes...but what about the Lawyers? They have to eat too.
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Be frank...

Post by Webscout » Fri Dec 23, 2016 6:53 am

Duhaime Lawisms-Be frank and explicit with your lawyer. It is his business to confuse the issue afterwards.
Attributed to J. R. Solly
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CDN-"Can the executor do that?"-Podcast 2

Post by Webscout » Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:05 am

Tuesday, January 17, 2017
New podcast: "Can the executor do that?"
Our second podcast is now available on our web page. It follows the same format at the first one, with our practice coordinator, Chelsea Kennedy, asking me questions. This one is called "Can the executor do that?" and covers a variety of questions about what executors can and cannot do with an estate. Click here [HIDE]

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http://www.butlerwillsandestates.com/podcasts
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Yuk Yuk..

Post by Webscout » Fri Jan 20, 2017 8:45 am

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Can the executor withhold his phone number from the beneficiaries?

Post by Webscout » Mon Jan 23, 2017 8:32 am

Sunday, January 22, 2017
Can the executor withhold his phone number from the beneficiaries?
Lynne Butler-East Coast Canada

In this blog, I talk a lot about communication between the executor and the beneficiaries. I'm always urging people to keep the information flowing, accurate and timely. But like any other principle, this concept must be taken in a common sense way. Recently a reader wrote me a short note asking about the logistics of executor-beneficiary communication. Here is her note and my response:

"Can an estate trustee communicate by email only with disagreeable beneficiaries? The trustee does not wish to give out their phone number."

I am perfectly fine with an executor not giving out his or her phone number to beneficiaries. There is no rule that says that beneficiaries must have 24/7 instant access to the executor.

Certainly communication between the parties is of utmost importance, but in this case the executor has offered another option - email. Presumably the executor will monitor the incoming emails and respond in a timely manner. Email allows for photos or documents to be exchanged, and information can be sent to several parties at the same time. This saves time, not to mention the confusion that arises when oral conversations are repeated from person to person.

In addition, an executor can organize his or her time more effectively when using email. The executor can respond at a time that is convenient. This is important since executors generally also have families, children, jobs, vacations, appointments, and other matters to fit into a day.

My approval of this concept presupposes that all parties have access to email. There isn't much point offering to communicate via email if none of the beneficiaries actually know how to use email. Not everyone does. This is particularly true of seniors, who may not be accustomed to living their lives online.

The concept also presupposes that email is available to everyone and is reliable. Those of us who live in cities sometimes forget that not everything is available in rural areas, or is only available intermittently. I encountered this myself while trying to communicate with a number of clients who live up north (i.e. Labrador). There were weeks at a time when email was either non-existent or so slow as to be pointless.

I'm sometimes tough on executors in this blog because I think some of them take way too many liberties with estates. But I know that beneficiaries can just as easily be belligerent or vindictive and make an executor's life miserable. I sympathize with executors who must deal with difficult beneficiaries. I wouldn't want them calling me either.
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The LEGAL/JUSTICE POST

Post by Dude » Tue Jan 24, 2017 7:39 pm

They glossed over the biggest advantage to email over phone calls, in that with a phone call you can deny that you previously said something, or you can change your memory of what you said,
with an email it's pretty clear what you said and it doesn't change over time.
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The LEGAL/JUSTICE POST

Post by Webscout » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:39 am

In fact I did respond to another post re that post in that Blog.

ie..."he said, she said". The court is not interested. The court wants facts. It is not about a moral judgement.

In a discussion with a young lawyer he once said to me "She said that"? This must be from the lawyer's handbook they give out at Law School.


You can always post your case on 'UTOPIA'...:p
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CDN-Can I leave my siblings out of my will and name overseas friends instead?

Post by Webscout » Sat Jan 28, 2017 8:34 am

Friday, January 27, 2017
Can I leave my siblings out of my will and name overseas friends instead?
Lynne Butler-Lawyer

There are two sides to every gift under a will. One side is the act of giving the gift. The other side is the act of receiving it. This reader wrote to me to talk about leaving gifts to friends in Italy in her will, which posed a couple of interesting issues. Here are her note and my response:

"I am a Canadian living abroad for work purposes and my loved ones to whom I wish to leave my entire estate are friends in Italy. I am single but I have living siblings but have not included them in any inheritance. Can I legally do this? Will my beloved friends be able to inherit my estate or will there be significant problems?"

Can you legally leave out your siblings? Yes, absolutely. You have no legal obligation to them whatsoever unless they are financially dependent on you for some reason. It doesn't matter who you choose instead of your siblings because your siblings simply have no right to your estate. You are free to choose your friends as beneficiaries.

This is the law in Canada. I have no idea what the law might be in Italy!

You said you are a Canadian living abroad, so I assume this means you have a permanent residence somewhere in Canada. You might want to consider making two wills - one here in Canada and one in Italy - depending on where your assets are located. If your assets are all in Canada, there is no need for a second will, but if you own a home or other significant assets in Italy you might want to make a will there as well.

This is because countries do not simply accept wills made outside of their borders. Laws, courts, language, customs, and processes are all different. You might be able to have a will re-sealed (more or less the equivalent of submitting it for probate) in another country, but there is no guarantee of that.

If you do make wills in both places, make sure the lawyers drafting them know about the other will so that they can be written in such a way that they do not revoke each other.

Your question is interesting because it asks me whether your friends will be able to inherit your estate. As I mentioned above, I am not familiar with inheritance law in Italy. They may or may not have limits (or more likely taxes) on bequests from other countries. In other words, I know you can leave it to them legally but I'm not in a position to say whether they can receive it without problems.
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