The modern Law of Trusts is a reflection of our complex society and a donor’s need to organize their financial affairs to the advantage of the beneficiaries, often through an uncertain and stressful period.
The law of trusts applies to attorneys appointed pursuant to the Power of Attorney Act, executors of wills, silent trusts, constructive trusts in family law cases, and resulting trusts for money advanced in property transactions.
Timothy is skilled in the preparation of trust deeds, as both an estate planning tool or to assist with the affairs of a disabled person. Timothy has managed trust files throughout his career, making every effort to continuously further his understanding of the laws pertaining to the taxation of offshore trusts, and breaches of trust by a trustee.
If you are the beneficiary of a trust and you are concerned that the trustee is acting in a questionable way, you have the right to question their behavior. This right has evolved over hundreds of years of common law, when it has been applied where there is a breach of trust. A beneficiary’s rights are also provided for by a British Columbia statute called the Trustee Act.
If you are a trustee and you are frustrated by what you perceive to be the unreasonable demands of a beneficiary, you should be careful to ensure that your conduct in responding to the requests is not misinterpreted.
Timothy has successfully handled many lawsuits, both for trustees and beneficiaries, and he is always pleased to meet with potential clients for a complimentary consultation.
Trusts – Q&A
I am disabled and I will be receiving a large sum of money, however, I do not want to be disentitled from disability benefits. What can I do?
Firstly, if you have already received the money which exceeds the limits set by regulation, you are already technically disentitled from benefits and you should seek legal counsel immediately. If you are expecting this money from an estate, motor vehicle accident settlement, or a gift, we can assist you with setting up a trust or a Registered Disability Savings Plan (“RDSP”).
Did you know that you are entitled to own your residence and remain entitled to disability benefits? Did you know that the Federal Government will make contributions to your RDSP in many circumstances, which could be of a value in excess of $75,000.00?
I am the beneficiary of a trust and only the trustee has been receiving a benefit. What can I do?
The law of trusts is fairly complex but nonetheless has longstanding guiding principles that govern the conduct of trustees. Typically, the first thing to do is request an accounting from the trustee. This will often determine what assets are in the trust and how it has been administered. It is typically the response to this demand that will enable the beneficiary to determine whether or not they have cause to remove the trustee for breach of trust. In more complex scenarios it may be necessary to commence an action to obtain relevant disclosure. We recommend seeking legal counsel to discuss your specific situation.
I am the beneficiary of a trust and I am getting a Divorce. Is the trust a family asset?
The Family Law Act has codified the answer to this question which is helpful in determining an answer to your specific situation. In many cases it would be a family asset especially if it was created during the relationship, was non discretionary in favour of you, or was treated like a family asset. In other cases where the trust was created by a third party in your favour prior to the commencement of your relationship it should not be treated like a family asset, even if you are receiving payments. Despite the foregoing, it is possible for your spouse to make the argument that because you are the beneficiary of a trust, and hence wealthier, there should be a redistribution of other assets to your spouse. To counter this argument is complex, but the nature of the trust and its discretionary nature (if that is the case) might be a complete and effective response.
Nanaimo trust lawyer Timothy J. Huntsman** would be pleased to meet with you to discuss your trust issue.
*Denotes An Association of Law Corporations
**Denotes Timothy J. Huntsman Law Corporation