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Toronto Law Blog

Court of Appeal Affirms that a Life Interest Granted via Will is not Vulnerable to Creditors

A recent (and very brief) Court of Appeal decision, Policelli Estate v Zita, 2014 ONCA 810, confirms that there are ways in which estates can be structured in order to protect bequeathed property from the creditors of beneficiaries.

Supreme Court of Canada: "Duty of Honest Performance" is an implied term of all contracts in Canada

For decades, lawyers, Judges and academics have debated whether there is, or should be, a duty of good faith implied in all contracts.

Last week, the Supreme Court of Canada, in its decision of Bhasin v. Hrynew, did not go so far as to find that a duty of good faith is an implied term of all contracts. However, the Court did take a significant step in that direction by ruling that the common law of contracts in Canada includes a legal "duty of honest performance" which the Court described as a manifestation of the "general organizing principle of good faith that underlies many facets of contract law".

Estate Planning and End of life Decisions - A sometimes difficult conversation

My family has always spoken very openly about our end of life wishes. Over the years, we have had numerous discussions about different issues relating to our end of life decisions and estate planning. Some such topics of discussion have included whether or not we would like to be kept on life support and whether or not we would like to be cremated.

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I, as an estates lawyer, recognize the difficulty people experience engaging in conversations regarding this topic.

Pets and Passing On: A Brief Discussion on the Testamentary Treatment of Animals

People often develop close ties to their pets; in fact, a bond often develops which can make it feel as if the pet is part of the family. Despite the existence of such a bond between a pet and his or her owner, the law considers a pet to be property. Accordingly, you can state who is to receive your pet upon your death just as you can gift your interest in your car or your home.

Dispute Resolution: Choosing the Method that's Right for You

When a dispute arises, family lawyers have a number of different resolution methods available to help you resolve it. From negotiation to mediation to arbitration to litigation, it's great to have options but it can be overwhelming to choose. Here are some factors to consider:

•1) How quickly does the issue need to be resolved?

Negotiation does not have a timeline, meaning that it may be a lengthy or quick process. Litigation comes with set timelines, however, the process can be quite lengthy. Mediation may be a little quicker, with arbitration and mediation-arbitration hybrids possible also being quicker.

•2) How final is the outcome?

While they can be expensive and drag matters on longer, court decisions may be appealable on certain grounds. Appealing mediation and arbitration is a more difficult process and not available under many circumstances.

Retroactive Child Support - How far back are the Courts prepared to go?

Earlier posts on this website discuss the Supreme Court of Canada decision of D.B.S v. S.R.G, which considered the issue of retroactive child support. In that case the Court held that generally, a claim for an increase in support should be calculated as of the "date of effective notice", which is when an increase in child support was requested by the recipient. Unless a payor demonstrates blameworthy conduct, the retroactive award should not be more than three years before this "effective notice". The Court further held that the decision to order retroactive support should be based on a number of factors, all of which the Courts should strive to consider and balance.

Get it in Writing - Transferring a Matrimonial Home when Spouses Separate

When a couple separates or divorces, the question often arises of who gets to keep the matrimonial home. In some cases, one spouse will purchase the interests of the other spouse in the property. In these cases, it is important to have a written separation agreement signed before the transfer takes place. Putting aside the numerous family law considerations for having a separation agreement, for real estate transfers, having a written separation agreement could allow the parties to avoid payment of Land Transfer Taxes upon the transfer from one spouse to the other.

Planning your estate? Don't forget your social media accounts

Like many avid film-goers, I was greatly saddened by Roger Ebert's death in the spring of 2013. I always appreciated Ebert's even-handed and thoughtful reviews, and Ebert's thumbs helped guide many of my cinematic decisions.

Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act Transition Deadline Reminder - the October 17, 2014 deadline quickly approaches

Federally incorporated not-for-profit corporations are required to transition to the Canada Not-for-profit Corporations Act by October 17, 2014. It will be assumed that a federally incorporated not-for-profit corporation that fails to transition by this deadline is inactive and, as such, will be dissolved.

Failure to transition could have a significant consequence for a federal not-for-profit corporation that is a registered charity - that being the revocation of its registration as a charity.

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