Advise common-law clients to plan for split

divorceCommon-law spouses enjoy the same spousal support rights as married couples under the Family Law Act (Ontario) if they’ve lived together continuously for more than three years or had a child together.

But in Ontario, common-law spouses don’t enjoy the same property rights as their married counterparts.

And if you fail to advise clients of how the law handles separation for common-law couples, they could face nightmarish legal battles lasting years and costing tens of thousands of dollars.

But this War-of-the-Roses scenario is avoidable. Sigue leyendo

Keeping Funeral Costs Affordable

Funeral CostsAnyone who’s put a loved one to rest knows that death is not cheap. According to the National Funeral Directors Association, the average adult funeral cost $6,560 in 2009 (their most current data). That doesn’t even include such common add-ons as a cemetery plot, headstone, flowers, obituaries and limousine, which can add thousands to the bill.

Because death is a frequently avoided topic, many people aren’t armed in advance with information about the many variables — and costs — involved in planning a funeral. Thus, just when survivors are grieving and most vulnerable, they’re bombarded by decisions that must be made quickly, often without even knowing what their loved one would have wanted.

The key message for the living is to decide on your preferred funeral arrangements Sigue leyendo

Estate Planning For A Loved One With Special Needs

special needs


For many families, taking care of a loved one with special needs is a daily challenge. Whether it is a child, sibling or other family member, the compassion and caring instincts can be overwhelming. But when it comes to the specific estate planning needs and desires of these situations, it can be very important to look at all the contingencies.

While you want to make sure that your loved ones needs will be met or surpassed, you also need to make decisions that will benefit your overall estate plans at the same time. If your planning also involves family members without special needs, specific considerations should be in place that will maximize the overall benefit to your family, while not sacrificing your special needs plans.

Seven Factors To Consider: Sigue leyendo

Who Makes the Best Executor or Trustee?



Choosing the right person or people to handle the management of your assets after you die merits a lot of thought. While it’s pretty common to appoint a family member or friend, that’s not your only choice. A lot depends on your personal situation — both the complexity of your estate as well as family dynamics.

Appointing a family member can be seen as a symbol of love and faith. However, in the case of multiple siblings, it could be interpreted as an expression of trust in one child over another. So I can understand the dilemma. But while there’s an emotional component to this choice, you need to try to keep sentiment in check. To me, it’s really about who will do the best job. Sigue leyendo

Your onlife life can be used against you!!

Your Online Life

Your Online Life

Most of us post many things on social networks (photos, friends, fans,…) we all have electronic banking (balances, transactions, receipts,…) on internet. Others have their own blog (opinions, ideologies, phobias and filias, …) but we, one way or the other, have our online life. What are you going to do? Sigue leyendo

Estate Planning Considerations for Young People

Estate planning is not just for older or wealthy people, younger people need an estate plan if they have minor children or to be prepared in case of a serious injury or accidental death.

Younger people who participate in risky sports or activities like skiing, cliff diving, car racing, or even boxing should consider the possibility that they could become seriously injured and require long-term medical care. Even worse, your untimely death could result from these activities.risky Sigue leyendo

Making a last will and testament in the US

In the US current legislation does not establish limits nor compulsory heirs as in most countries in the rest of the world. Testator has the freedom to include in last will people or organizations without the constraints that other legislations impose to protect the family specially next of kin. Bearing in mind that your decisions might not interfere with spouse rights that can be contained in individual state laws.

Besides the estate distribution when the person dies without a will the court has to first of all probate that estate and secondly name an administrator for that estate. This is a long and expensive process. In most cases all the estate unknown by the court either because is abroad or just because it is difficult to certify is lost.

US intestate laws vary from one state to another. Most current succession legislations determined according to next in kin heirs and if there is no any, the estate passes to the state.

Wills are the classic option for the wealthy

There are a number of different ways of going about transferring wealth to the next generation. The best known and commonly used option is a will. These legal declarations are extensively employed by the wealthy; our research establishes that more than three-quarters of high net worth individuals around the world have wills.

In the US, almost everyone has a will (94%) and this is only slightly less commonplace in Europe (87%), whilst in Asia and the Middle East this stands at around 50% on average. The uptake of wills within countries is influenced by whether or not “heirship” laws exist, which spell out how part or all of a deceased’s estate must be divided. Such laws are common in civil law jurisdictions, such as in France, Spain, Italy and Latin America.

In Japan, individuals do not typically write wills, instead they express their wishes in general and polite terms, and the family reaches consensus on how assets will be distributed. Birth order is a key determinant here, and sometimes all the property may go to the eldest son. This approach is in keeping with the culture in Japan. Shimon Takagi, Partner at White & Case in Tokyo explains that there is a common view across East Asia that, “property is not your property; you are only borrowing it… We don’t have a strong desire to control something after we die.”

Some 69% of wealthy individuals have revised their wills at least once and 26% have revised them three or more times. These will revisions are predominantly driven by financial reasons and life-stage events. The top four reasons for revising wills in order of importance are: an increase in wealth, tax efficiency/tax planning, marriage/new partners and birth of a child.

Source: Barclays Wealth Insights.


When your last will is not the last word

So, you’ve made your will and are comforted in knowing that your estate will be distributed the way you want it to be. This is not always so.

In some instances in B.C., the court can change the disposition of an estate, under the Wills Variation Act.

Precisele to avoid this kind of problems we have made where all these subjects can be addressed beforehand.

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The wrong person will inherit your assets regardless of your will

Have you written a will? Its contents may not matter when it comes to many of your assets. A jointly owned house or bank account will automatically pass to an heir; the joint title also includes an automatic right of survivorship. Also, accounts such as 401(k)s, IRAs and life insurance policies include beneficiary designations, which when correctly completed will also take the place of designations in a will.

That means you need to keep those documents up to date. If beneficiary designations don’t reflect changes in your family, the wrong person will inherit assets, regardless of what your will may say. Perhaps you specifically named your children as beneficiaries on your life insurance policy, then had another child. Without an updated beneficiary form, your youngest will not receive any share of the life insurance. Also, if beneficiary forms are not updated after a divorce, an ex-spouse can receive the proceeds from life insurance or an IRA.

This is one of the reasons why we have created so you can keep your last will and testament up to date, not just your estate but your beneficiaries. By updating your estate regularly you will avoid these rules affect you nor your legatees.

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