Inheritance Protection Lawyers in Ottawa, Ontario

Wealth and Inheritance Protection in Ottawa

Divorce or marital separation are emotionally charged events and all too often the separation becomes particularly difficult in families that have accumulated significant assets.

At Francis Lawyers, we have dealt with these issues many times in the past. We are often asked to review business structures, trusts, or other assets from before marriage or cohabitation. We can provide advice on structuring marital or other personal arrangements for inheritance protection in Ottawa.

Strategic Family Law and Wealth Protection

The Ontario government has enacted laws about wealth generated during a marriage, including specific restrictions.

Under this directive is a calculation intended to help during divorce proceedings. It involves the valuation of the separate assets at the time of marriage and again at the time of separation. Exclusions include gifts and inheritance even if they were acquired during the time the couple was married.

This can easily become complicated.

That is why extreme care must be given to the creation and execution of pre-and post-nuptial agreements.

It is always a good idea for both parties to have separate representation.

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Matrimonial Home

In addition to a family home, also known as the matrimonial home, many couples own additional real estate such as a vacation home or cottage.

The matrimonial home is not excluded under the equalization calculation, even if it was a gift or inheritance. If the same matrimonial home(s) were owned at the time of marriage and still at the time of separation, the spouse that owns the property is not given credit for bringing it into the marriage. There are also special rules that spell out the determination of homes owned through corporations or trusts, regardless of whether the property was inherited or gifted.

“Date of Marriage” Valuations

The general rule is that if you owned it before the marriage you will continue to own it after the divorce.

If these assets and liabilities were not valued at the time of marriage, it is likely to be a drawn-out, cumbersome, and a seemingly impossible task to get an accurate valuation.

To make things even more difficult, if one party brought into the marriage a business that was worth zero at the time, but subsequently became quite valuable, the increase must be shared between the parties.

Gifts and Inheritance

Gifts and inheritances are excluded from the equalization calculations unless they are mingled in the joint accounts and cannot be tracked. If one party wants to keep the assets to themselves, they will need a separate account.