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Last Thursday the Institute for Wills and Estate Education (IWEE) held a very helpful and practical workshop on joint assets in the context of Estate planning.
The workshop was run by lead instructor Jordan M. Atin. Jordan is a specialist in Estates and Trusts Law certified by the Law Society of Upper Canada. He is experienced, knowledgeable, and an engaging speaker.
The program focused on the pitfalls and hazards, as well as the advantages of joint ownership in Estate planning.
The principles laid out by the Supreme Court of Canada in Pecore v. Pecore,  1 S.C.R. 795, 2007 SCC 17 shed some light on the difficult issue of what happens when a parent holds an asset in joint tenancy with an adult child. Does the asset pass to the child through the right of survivorship on the death of the parent, or is the child holding the asset for the benefit of the estate in a resulting trust?
Pecore suggests that when the asset is held jointly with an adult child, there is a rebuttable presumption in favour of a resulting trust. However, sufficient evidence can displace this presumption.
The IWEE workshop provided some great advice to Estates professionals with respect to how to ensure that the presumption in Pecore does not frustrate Estate plans which rely on joint ownership as a means of transferring assets. Documents such as Declarations of Intention or Deeds of Gift can provide strong evidence as to the intentions of the testator, and can help to avoid disputes down the road. Jordan also provided tips on how to manage ethical issues and to avoid potential liability when preparing Estate plans involving joint assets.
IWEE’s programs for Estate Taxation on October 17 and Trust Drafting on November 21 are already sold out. The next available program is on Multiple Wills on December 5. Register online here while seats are still available. Read Toronto Estate Law Blog