On October 3, 2013, Prime Minister Stephen Harper appointed
Justice Marc Nadon to the Supreme Court of Canada. Justice
Nadon, 64, was most recently a partly-retired Federal Court of
Appeal judge. He replaces Justice Morris Fish, who was a SCC
Justice from 2003 up until his retirement earlier this year.
While most estate cases in Canada are dealt with on the
provincial, supreme, and appellate levels, there have been some
very important cases dealing with estate matters that have been
decided at the SCC level over the years. For example, the
landmark case of Tataryn v. Tataryn Estate laid the foundation
for our courts' subsequent interpretation of the British
Columbia Wills Variation Act.
Other examples of important SCC cases for estate lawyers are the
companion decisions of Pecore v. Pecore and Madsen Estate v. Saylor. These cases
confirmed that a presumption of a resulting trust arises from
gratuitous transfers in certain relationships. In other words
if, for example, a parent transfers property to an adult
child for no payment, there is a legal presumption that the parent
did not mean to benefit the child and that the child holds the
property in trust for the parent's estate. Of course, the
presumption can be rebutted.
The SCC is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice
system, and an appointment of a new Justice is of great import for
our justice system. Given the influence of some past SCC
decisions on the estates practice area, an appointment of a new SCC
Justice could be of particular interest to lawyers and other
professionals interested in estate issues. Since two more SCC
Justices are scheduled for retirement in the next several years, it
will be interesting to see how the changing body of this court may
affect estate-related legal issues over the coming years.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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It is not uncommon for parents to provide monetary gifts to their adult children. Parents may wish to help their child with a down payment on a property, or help pay out their child's existing mortgage.
On March 31, 2014, BC's new Wills, Estates and Succession Act1 ("WESA") will come into force. WESA introduces new protections for beneficiaries of estates that are in danger of being disputed or deemed ineffective by a court.
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