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Toronto Law Blog

RRSPs and Child Support

Courts are generally protective of RRSP income since, ideally, that money is collected and preserved exclusively to provide for retirement. There are particular incentives, tax and otherwise, built into the RRSP regime to encourage Canadians to save this way. As a result we have seen courts (and the legislature) protect RRSPs from execution or seizure, even in the context of bankruptcy. That said, courts are reluctant to grant the same protection in the context of support or maintenance orders, and more broadly in the context of child support obligations. In fact, the Ontario Court of Appeal in Fraser v Fraser makes it clear: RRSP income should be treated as income for support purposes under the Guidelines even if the RRSP has been subject to equalization.

Want a Marriage Agreement that Won't be Overturned? Try these Tips

The purpose of a marriage contract is to set out terms that can be relied on in the event of a separation. However, courts can and do overturn agreements where they were negotiated under unfair circumstances or where the outcome would be unequitable. The good news is that there are steps you can take to increase the chances that your agreement will be upheld:

"Make a Will Month" may be ending - but it's not too late to make a Will

The Ontario Bar Association has declared November "Make a Will Month". Partnering with the Alzheimer's Association of Ontario, the OBA wants to "help Ontarians preserve their wishes and safeguard their loved ones by making a will." According to a recent survey by LawPro, fewer than half of Canadians have a valid Will.

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.

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