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Niagara Region Legal Blog

The trust in estate planning

Estate planning can be complex, but the concept is relatively basic — you want to leave clear instructions as to what you want to happen with your assets after you die. Of course, you really don't want to think about dying, but if you don't want to leave your loved ones in a mess when it comes to your worldly possessions after you depart this planet, taking some time to plan your estate is doing them a favour.

You might want to think about using trusts when fashioning your estate plan. There are two types of trusts in Ontario — testamentary and living. If you create a testamentary trust in your will, it takes effect when you die and it relates to the part of your estate that may be subject to fees or taxes. With a living trust, property ownership passes right to your beneficiaries. Since this happens while you're still alive, assets from the trust aren't considered part of your estate and aren't part of the probate process.

Are the consequences of a winter injury spoiling your summer fun?

Winter conditions in Ontario can cause many hazards for pedestrians on public and private property. Are you suffering the consequences of a fall on an icy and slippery area when you went shopping? Do you know that you could hold the property owner or occupier liable for your damages? Although it is your obligation to walk with reasonable care, the owners or tenants must ensure you do not encounter unanticipated hazards.

Did you slip and fall in accumulated ice or snow, or did an unattended wet spill in a store cause you to fall? Inadequate lighting or missing handrails at steps and staircases can also be hazardous, as could cracks, gaps or holes in the floor. Encountering unanticipated potholes, bumps or changes in elevation can cause tripping hazards that may lead to falls.

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