Year 2002


This year as I convey my best wishes to you for the Holiday Season, it has become abundantly clear that I will be able to provide you with more effective, frequent and timely communication of crucial legal issues, if I have your e-mail address. I have attempted to locate your e-mail address and if I have been successful, it will appear in the right hand corner of this letter. If missing or incorrect, please e-mail or call in your e-mail address.

If you have recently visited my Web Site at you will have noted my discussion of a crucial issue for those of my clients who are considering, living in or leaving a common law relationship. The Supreme Court of Canada today handed down its decision in the Walsh case. At first blush, it appears to have refused to equate a common law relationship with marriage. I have extracted the following quote from the decision, but you can read the entire decision here or call me to discuss how the decision impacts your relationship.

The decision to live together is insufficiently indicative of an intention to contribute to and share in each other's assets and liabilities. While many unmarried cohabitants have agreed as between themselves to live as economic partners for the duration of their relationship, it does not necessarily follow that these same persons would agree to restrict their ability to deal with their own property during the relationship or to share in all of the other's assets and liabilities following the end of the relationship. People who marry can be said to freely accept mutual rights and obligations. A decision not to marry should be respected because it also stems from a conscious choice of the parties.

Just this past week, before Parliament rose for the Christmas Break, the Government introduced a Bill to amend the Divorce Act's custody and access regime to one of sharing child raising duties between the parents. I can help you with the changes even before they are implemented, to effectively plan for them.

Will planning has taken great strides this past year with the general acceptance of Alter Ego Trusts and Multiple Wills. Both effectively eliminate or at least greatly reduce payment of Probate Fees and Land Transfer Tax. Call me for your no obligation Estate Review to see if these techniques are right for you.

May you and yours have a happy and safe Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year.

Howard S. Dyment, LL.B.