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A strata corporation typically incurs legal fees when collecting strata fee or special levy arrears from owners through the strata lien process. As discussed in my previous post Can a strata collect full legal fees when collecting on a strata lien?, those legal fees can be collected 100% from the owner who was in arrears.
The British Columbia government has introduced changes to the Wills, Estates and Succession Act. The Attorney General Statutes Amendment Act, 2019, if enacted, will include changes to sections 16, 61, 130, 131, 151, 152 and 155. I will highlight some of the changes to sections 151 and 155.
I have preached caution about the use of joint tenancies as an estate-planning tool to transfer wealth often from a parent to a child, or sometimes to some other relative or friend. One of the first blog posts I wrote back in September, 2005, was entitled “Six Potential Pitfalls Parents Should Consider Before Transferring Real Estate Into a Joint Tenancy with Their Children.” There are in fact more than six, and I won’t repeat them all here. Instead I want to focus on how to properly document a transfer into a joint tenancy when the transfer is done as part of an estate plan.
The Strata Property Act has a specific, if lengthy, procedure when expanding the habitable area of a strata lot. In the case of Hassan v The Owners, Strata Plan LMS 2854, 2018 BCCRT 303, the strata was in a dispute with the owners over whether the owners followed the correct procedure when expanding their habitable area.
The Supreme Court of Canada, in S.A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corp., 2019 SCC 4, overturned the decision of the British Columbia Court of Appeal, a decision I wrote about here. This case deals with the use of a discretionary trust to provide benefits for a person with disabilities without jeopardising other benefits that are means tested. These trusts are sometimes referred to as Henson Trusts, and in many provinces, including British Columbia, are an effective way of preserving the person’s provincial disability benefits.
In British Columbia, if a legacy is not paid within one-year of the will-maker’s death, the beneficiary is entitled to interest at a rate of 5% per year from the first anniversary of the date of death. This rule applies unless the will provides that no interest is payable or provides for a different rate. In my experience, most will-makers do not address this issue in their wills.
On January 24, 2019, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Divisional Court overturned the decision of the Application Judge in Re Milne Estate.
Kevin Valentyne was driving his car in downtown Vancouver on January 7, 2013. His girlfriend was with him. After receiving a telephone call, he drove to a house, entered it, with his car engine running. He told his girlfriend he would be right back. He never returned.
On November 23, 2018, the Supreme Court of Canada released its decision in Moore v. Sweet, 2018 SCC 52, in which the majority imposed a remedial constructive trust on the proceeds of a life insurance policy in favour of the life insured’s former spouse. The life insured, and owner of the policy, Lawrence Anthony Moore, had orally agreed with his former spouse, Michelle Constance Moore, that he would retain her as the beneficiary of his life insurance policy, if she paid the insurance premiums. She did so, paying approximately $7,000 in premiums after her separation from Mr. Moore. He broke his promise to her, by appointing his new common-law spouse, Risa Lorraine Sweet, as the irrevocable beneficiary. The policy paid out $250,000. At death, Mr. Moore’s estate was insolvent.
I wrote about the Ontario decision in Re Milne Estate, in which Mr. Justice Dunphy refused to grant probate in respect of two wills on the grounds that in his view they were void for uncertainty of subject matter. A husband and wife each made two wills, one intended to deal with those assets for which an estate grant was required, and the other for which no grant would be required for the estate trustee to deal with the assets.
I described this two-will strategy to reduce probate as follows:
Pets are often a polarizing issue: are owners permitted pets, if so, what kind of pets are they allowed. Even if owners are permitted to have pets in their strata lot, the strata can force the removal of the pet under certain circumstances. Continue reading “Owners Ordered to Remove Large Dogs” »
Marijuana was an issue in strata’s before the legalization of marijuana, but was not as wide ranging an issue due to the fact that only medical marijuana was legal. Now, any persons can consume and grow their own marijuana. Continue reading “Has Your Strata Prepared for the Marijuana Legalization?” »
I suspect that a recent decision from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice is causing some consternation among the Ontario estate planning bar. In Re Milne Estate, 2018 ONSC 4174, the Court held that a will was void for uncertainty of subject matter and could not be admitted to probate. The effect of the decision was to frustrate a two-will estate planning strategy to minimize probate fees. In understand that the decision is under the appeal, and I would argue that the reasoning is fundamentally flawed. But it does highlight the risks of using a multiple-will strategy to reduce probate fees. Continue reading “Re Milne Estate” »
Often home buyers need to rely on a guarantor in order to allow them to qualify for the mortgage. In such cases, a lender often requires the guarantor to be registered as an owner of the property; even if the parties agree that the purchasers are the sole beneficial owners of the property. In this context, the guarantor, or bare trustee, holds no beneficial interest in the property although they are a registered owner of the property. Continue reading “Bare Trustee Found to be “Particular Individual” under the Excise Tax Act: New Housing Rebate Denied” »
Strata Corporations can issue fines when an owner breaches the bylaws. At $200 an occurrence and a further $200/week for an ongoing contravention, the fines can add up fairly quickly. In the case of the Owners, Strata Plan KAS 3162 v Staerkle, 2018 BCSC 1290, the fines were in excess of $50,000.00, and the Court ordered the owner to pay the fines. Continue reading “Strata Wins $54,000 in Fines Against Owner” »
Unreasonable noise can, depending on the circumstances, amount to nuisance. In law, a party that causes a nuisance, can be liable for somewhat nominal (depending on the circumstances) damages.
The case of Chen v The Owners, Strata Plan NW 2265, 2017 BCCRT 113, was a dispute as to whether the common property hot tub, Continue reading “Unreasonable Noise Levels in Strata Living” »
Prem Lata Sharma is suing her sisters Raj Rani Sharma and Simmi Sharma. She is seeking to vary their mother Rama Rani Sharma’s will, pursuant to which she was disinherited, and she is also asking the court to declare that they hold title to their mother’s house in trust for the estate. Raj Rani Sharma is both a beneficiary and also the executor of the will. Their mother had gratuitously transferred the house into a joint tenancy with them, and their position is that they received the house by right-of-survivorship. Continue reading “Sharma v Sharma” »
In Sato v. Sato, 2018 BCCA 287, the British Columbia Court of Appeal upheld Mr. Justice Funt’s decision that Hiroyuki Rex Sato was domiciled in British Columbia when he married Makiko Sato on April 30, 2013, although he was living and working in Luxemburg at the time and had not lived in British Columbia since 1999. Continue reading “Court of Appeal Upholds Decision in Sato v. Sato” »
The Government of British Columbia has published a White Paper setting out draft legislation that would require registration of interests in land in land that do not appear on title. You can read the White Paper here. Continue reading “Land Owner Transparency Act White Paper” »
In Rosas v. Toca, 2018 BCCA 191, the British Columbia Court of Appeal held that a borrower’s promises to repay a loan modified the original loan agreement, and thereby extended the time during which the lender could file a lawsuit to collect the loan. The reasons in this decision have far-reaching implications for the law of contract in British Columbia. The Court of Appeal has held that it is no longer necessary for a party to provide fresh consideration to modify a contract. Continue reading “Rosas v Toca” »
The Supreme Court Civil Rules provide that a proceeding to prove the validity of a will must be started by either a notice of application, if there is an existing proceeding in which it is appropriate to do so, or by a petition. This is set out in Rule 25-14(4). This is a significant change to the practice. Prior to the changes to the Rules with the coming into force of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, contested proceedings to prove a will were brought by a notice of civil claim. A proceeding begun by Notice of Civil Claim is referred to as an “Action.” The difference is that an Action has pretrial procedures such as disclosure of documents, and oral examinations for discovery, and ultimately a trial with witnesses testifying in court. In contrast, a notice of application or petition does not have the pretrial disclosure process and the evidence is by way of affidavits. Continue reading “Converting a Petition or Application to Prove a Will into an Action” »
Not only can the CRT make default orders against a respondent that fails to file a response to a claim, but the CRT can make default orders against a party that files a response and fails to respond to communications from the CRT.
As previously discussed in a past post, there is an ability to overturn default orders. However, once a default order is granted, overturning it will be more difficult than simply responding to the process in the first place. Further, there is always the risk being denied the request to overturn the default decision. Continue reading “Failure to Respond to CRT” »
I and Mark Brade have the honour of presenting our Wills and Estates Intro – Why You Need an Estate Plan at the 14th Annual Senior’s Safety Fair: Continue reading “14th Annual Senior’s Safety Fair” »