The LEGAL/JUSTICE POST

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Too funny

Post by Webscout » Wed Feb 01, 2017 7:20 am

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George Michael's estate is an example of tailoring a will to personal wishes

Post by Webscout » Mon Feb 06, 2017 8:39 am

Monday, February 6, 2017
George Michael's estate is an example of tailoring a will to personal wishes
Lynne Butler-Lawyer Canada

British newspapers and magazines have been reporting for a month or so now that the estate of pop star George Michael, who died on Christmas Day, 2016, is in the range of 100 million UK pounds (about $160,000,000 Canadian). They are also predicting that it will be distributed among his many God-children. Click here http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article ... ldren.html to read a story from www.dailymail.co.uk with more detail and of course tons of photos.

Michael did not have children of his own, and he was not married. He had a boyfriend but I am not familiar enough with UK law to know whether the boyfriend has the status of a spouse.

If the will does, in fact, distribute the estate among his God-children, who include the daughter of a former spice girl and the children of his former band-mates, then it seems to me that this is an example of excellent planning on Michael's part. He will have shared his significant wealth among the people that he loved. He would have had peace of mind during his lifetime that he was going to be able to leave those people a way to remember him. He tailored his will to do what he wanted it to do.
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CDN +?-Podcast: How to be a better beneficiary

Post by Webscout » Tue Feb 07, 2017 8:58 am

Podcast: How to be a better beneficiary
Posted: 06 Feb 2017 08:07 AM PST -Lynne Butler-Lawyer-Canada
I would think much of this info applies to most people in most countries. It is just plain 'common sense'
Our latest podcast is ready for listening. This week we talked about beneficiaries. We covered what they're entitled to do and what they are not entitled to do, and several questions surrounding that. The idea is to give beneficiaries some information to help them get through the estate with the least amount of struggle and stress (for themselves and the executors).
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Lawyers want to toss hundreds of criminal cases for unreasonable delays

Post by Webscout » Wed Feb 15, 2017 7:29 am

Lawyers want to toss hundreds of criminal cases for unreasonable delays
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... 273f7e9806
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Canada:Lawyers who overcharged in residential-school cases have fees reduced

Post by Webscout » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:17 am

Canada:Lawyers who overcharged in residential-school cases have fees reduced
Lawyers for more than 2,000 people who say they were physically or sexually assaulted as children at Indian residential schools have seen their fees reduced by adjudicators who determined that they overcharged their clients, the federal government or both, the government has revealed.

Over the past decade, more than 50 lawyers saw their fees reduced by an adjudicator of the Independent Assessment Process (IAP) on 10 or more occasions. One lawyer had to pay back more than $2-million.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/pol ... e34042623/
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Ontario judge rebuked for ending day early as delays pile up.

Post by Webscout » Fri Feb 17, 2017 7:57 am

Ontario judge rebuked for ending day early as delays pile up.
Be sure to read the comments.
http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/nat ... e34062449/
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The LEGAL/JUSTICE POST

Post by Webscout » Fri Feb 17, 2017 8:36 am

CDN-New podcast: Working with your estate lawyer - fees & billing arrangements
Our latest podcast is now up on our website. This time we answered a number of questions about how estate lawyers bill, what to do if the bill is too high, and other such essential money matters.

Utopia Editor--Canadian biased but it is probably similar in many other parts of the world

http://www.butlerwillsandestates.com/podcasts Look here to see the list of podcasts and select the one you want to hear (or download). The podcasts are free.
As always, we welcome feedback, questions, and suggestions for future podcasts.
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When a lawyer makes a new will for a client, does the beneficiary under the earlier w

Post by Webscout » Tue Feb 21, 2017 9:48 am

Tuesday, February 21, 2017
When a lawyer makes a new will for a client, does the beneficiary under the earlier will have rights?
Lynne Butler-Canada-East Coast

Editor-this probably applies in many jurisdictions.

One of the questions I hear regularly from clients, blog readers, and seminar attendees is "can he do that?" Sometimes they are asking about what executors can do and at other times they want to know about beneficiaries. And in some cases, they want to know what the lawyer is allowed to do.

In British Columbia recently, an interesting question was asked: Can a lawyer make a new will for a client without telling (or asking) a person who was the beneficiary under the client's previous will? Does the person who is a beneficiary under a will have any rights if the testator decides to make a new will that reduces or eliminates that beneficiary's inheritance?

Here is the situation. In 2007, Norman and Barbara Johnston made mirror wills. The wills said that they left everything to each other, and upon both of them being deceased, the entire estate would go outright to their son, David. In 2010, Barbara died. In 2012, Norman made a new will. He left a couple of small bequests to family members, and made a gift of $100,000 to his church. He then left the residue of the estate to David in trust for his lifetime, with the Public Trustee named as the trustee of David's inheritance.

David wasn't happy about this. After Norman died in 2013 and David found out about the new will, he decided to contest the will. Among other things, he argued that the lawyer who made the 2012 will, who was the same lawyer Norman had used all along, could not make this new will because he owed a duty of care to David. He lost his case at trial. He then appealed it, and lost on appeal. (If you're wondering how long court cases take, this case was concluded in December, 2016)

To read the full case report,
http://www.canlii.org/en/bc/bcca/doc/20 ... cca59.html Johnston Estate v. Johnston.

The court confirmed that when a lawyer is asked by a client to make a will, the lawyer owes nothing at all to any beneficiaries who were named under previous wills. The lawyer's duty is to his or her client to make a will that meets the client's needs and wishes.

The court was also careful to point out that a lawyer does have some responsibility towards the beneficiaries under the new will. For example, if the lawyer took way too long to draft the will and the client died before the will was completed, and this caused a beneficiary to lose out on an inheritance, the lawyer could be held liable for that loss.

I think it's important to discuss this case because executors and beneficiaries alike misunderstand the rights they may or may not have under a will while the testator is still alive. In this case, it appears that David launched a long, expensive lawsuit based on rights he never had in the first place.
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Podcast: How to break up with your lawyer

Post by Webscout » Thu Feb 23, 2017 9:43 am

Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Podcast: How to break up with your lawyer
Lynne Butler-***Canada

Much of this is probably the same in some other countries

Our latest podcast is up and ready. This is perhaps my favourite one so far. It's about "breaking up with" your lawyer and getting your stuff back. It's the kind of practical information people can use when they think things are going badly with the lawyer they're currently using and that perhaps it's time to hire a different lawyer. Lynne Butler.

Also includes other podcasts.. Simply click on the one you want. You can listen or download for free.

Podcast-Episode 6 - How to Break Up With Your Lawyer
http://www.butlerwillsandestates.com/podcasts
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Failure to follow Prudent Investor Rule costs executor $350,000

Post by Webscout » Mon Feb 27, 2017 4:26 pm

Monday, February 27, 2017
Failure to follow Prudent Investor Rule costs executor $350,000
Lynne Butler-Lawyer Canada

Editor- I don't see why this cannot apply to Beneficiaries who play games as well. [Webscout]

I sincerely hope that each and every one of you who is acting as an executor has heard of the Prudent Investor Rule. This is the rule that applies in almost every part of Canada to set the standard for how executors and trustees are supposed to look after estate investments.

The rule, which is found in the Trustee Act of most provinces and territories, simply says that when an executor or trustee is investing the assets of the trust or estate, he or she must "exercise the care, skill, diligence and judgment that a prudent investor would exercise in making investments." This is usually interpreted to mean that the executor or trustee must make sensible decisions about investments such as investing at an acceptable risk level and diversifying the portfolio.

It's acceptable for an executor or trustee to hire a money manager or financial advisor. We are not all expected to be financial experts, after all. However, even when an executor hires professional help, he or she must give accurate information and make sensible decisions.

This rule is in place because, let's face it, sometimes executors and trustees get a bit reckless with the estate assets. The rule is supposed to provide a standard of behaviour that does not require anyone to be perfect but does expect everyone to at least be careful.

I came across a good article recently from Toronto lawyer Kimberley Whalen, in which she talks about the case of Mowry v Groome, a case decided in Ontario in 2016. Ms. Whalen's article.http://welpartners.com/blog/2017/01/rem ... -investor/. In this case, the executor was removed because he took several reckless steps with estate assets. For example, the executor hired a financial advisor but told the advisor that the risk tolerance for the estate was 90%, a hugely risky proposition for any portfolio but absolutely foolish for an estate. There were other mistakes, too. Hundreds of thousands of dollars were lost from an estate that was worth $436,000 at the date of death. He also took money out of the investments to cover a cheque to himself for $70,000 that he said the deceased had given him.

At the end of the day, the judge removed the executor and ordered him to repay $350,000 to the estate (including the $70,000 which the judge said was not a real gift). The judge's comments were interesting because the judge said he didn't find that the executor was dishonest, just that he had an inflated view of his own business sense and didn't seem aware of the risks.In other words, you can still be held liable for the losses even if the court doesn't think you did anything illegal.

To any executor who feels that he would not be able to repay such a large sum, this case should act as a cautionary tale. The estate money is not yours. You are a temporary caretaker of the assets on behalf of others, and if you mess that up because you're being careless, you could end up paying.
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The house was left to two siblings..............

Post by Webscout » Sun Mar 05, 2017 9:34 am

Saturday, March 4, 2017
The house was left to two siblings but only one lives there. What about paying expenses?
Lynne Butler-Lawyer-Canada

Parents often want to leave their home to their children, and most of the time it's a terrible idea. In other cases, it can work out alright as long as the children are reasonable. Agreements are hard to reach and even harder to maintain over time. A reader wrote to me to ask about a situation in which a house was left to two siblings and only one lives there. The question and my response follow:

"My friend's father passed away and left half the house to my friend and half to her brother who is very well off. My friends is collecting CPP which is just under $600 a month. Her brother told her that she could live in the house as long as she pays all the maintenance fees and bills. Doesn't the brother have to pay half of the main bills like property tax, house insurance as long as the house isn't sold? My friend lived there with her parents all her life."

The house has two owners now, and they can come to any agreement they wish when it comes to the occupancy of the house. It seems to me that your friend has come out on top of the deal in this case. In most cases, joint owners of a property will share the expenses that preserve the house, which include those you mention such as maintenance, property tax, and insurance. However, in most cases, the home is not occupied by one owner at no cost while the other owner lives elsewhere at his own expense.

You wonder whether the brother might "have to" pay half the bills. In other words, you think your friend should insist on him paying for the upkeep of his half. But if she insists on him meeting every obligation of an owner, shouldn't she expect him to also get every benefit of being an owner? This would of course mean that she should be paying him rent at fair market value to live there, and I doubt she wants to do that.

In most cases where two siblings inherit a house together, one has to buy the other one out if she wants to live there. That is another right the brother could insist upon if your friend decides that everyone has to go strictly by the book.

The fact that she lived there all her life with her parents does not entitle her to live there for free now. The house has new owners so all past arrangements are off. It would be great for your friend if she could continue to live rent-free without having to move, but her brother has rights, too. It seems to me that he has made a generous arrangement that is much more to your friend's advantage than it is to the brother. He can't live there and can't sell it, and doesn't make a dime in rent, but still carries the responsibility and liability of owning a property.

Another option is for the house to be sold and the money divided between them. Your friend could then use her half of the funds to find a cheaper place to live. However, without knowing the parents who set up their wills to leave the house to both children, I would say that the brother is doing his best to carry out what he sees as his parents' wishes. Let's hope for your friend's sake that his financial situation does not take a turn for the worse so that he must insist upon a sale of the house.
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Tips for a better will-New podcast

Post by Webscout » Thu Mar 09, 2017 8:19 am

Tips for a better will-New podcast
In our newest podcast, which is now available on our website, we talk about a simple but important ways to strengthen your will. From executor's compensation to public policy, from disposal of remains to asking the impossible, there are several topics covered. To listen in (free, of course) go here [HIDE]

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The LEGAL/JUSTICE POST

Post by Webscout » Wed Mar 29, 2017 8:29 am

Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Elderly couple donate life's work - $10 million worth of insects - to university
Lynne Butler-Lawyer East Coast Canada

This story from CBC is a great example of how planning to donate an unusual object will ensure that the object goes to someone who will understand it and value it. In this case, the unusual object is a collection of more than 1.25 million insects worth $10 million. Along with the insects are their display cases, research, and the papers written by the owners about their work.

Charles and Lois O'Brien of Arizona have arranged to donate their valuable collection and research to the University of Arizona. I'm sure whoever has been named as the executor of their wills is going to be deeply grateful for this. I suspect that most executors would look around at a million and a quarter insects and not realize their dollar value. I don't think I would have known without researching. To read more about the O'Briens and their collection, click here.http://www.cbc.ca/radio/asithappens/as- ... -1.4044004

If you have an unusual collection or object, put some careful thought into where that should go after you pass away. The O'Briens found a university that is interested. I know of other estates in which collections have ended up in museums, libraries, galleries, and private homes. Not all collections are valuable in the monetary sense. Some items are just not going to be of interest to galleries or museums no matter how great you think they are. Maybe your items are best left to a friend or relative who shares your interests.

There's no point leaving items to institutions who really can't use them, so a bit of advance research and discussion is extremely valuable. You don't have to give up your beloved collection before your death.
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A Little Law Humour

Post by Webscout » Tue Apr 04, 2017 8:40 am

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Look up, way up to take in this $1.5M home in Arizona

Post by Webscout » Sun Apr 09, 2017 9:37 am

Look up, way up to take in this $1.5M home in Arizona

What would this cost in Toronto or Vancouver? Arizona is much warmer in the winter than Toronto.

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