STEP North America News Digest wrap-up – June’s top stories


June was a big month in the North American private wealth sector with the US Supreme Court ruling in favour of same-sex marriage and new tax rules due to come in for Canadian trusts. Welcome to the wrap-up of the top five most popular stories in the STEP North America News Digest throughout June 2015. In case you missed them, here are the top five US industry news stories most viewed by our readers.

Experts advise to revise estate plans due to Canada’s new tax rules for all trusts: Canadian estate planning experts, many of them present at STEP Canada’s 17th National Conference in Toronto last week, advise that estate plans should be revised to avoid unintended tax consequences (and to make the most of planning opportunities) that may result from Bill C-43 (Economic Action Plan 2014 Act, No2). Under the Bill, from January 1, 2016 all trusts in Canada will be subject to the highest marginal tax rates with the exception of: trusts that qualify as graduated rate estates; and qualified disability trusts – both of which must meet certain criteria to benefit from graduated rates of taxation.

BC Supreme Court awards CAD350,000 to siblings bequeathed preference shares in secret will:The Supreme Court of British Columbia has awarded three siblings CAD350,000 each for their work on the family farm after their parents’ secret will endowed them with preference shares which “have restrictions on their redemption and, upon redemption, will attract tax consequences”. (McDonald v McDonald, 2015 BCSC 951).

Tread carefully: Vimala Snow TEP, David Stein and Sabrina Lai offer tips for navigating non-US structures through the US income tax minefield.

Robin Williams’ family given additional time to settle estate dispute: A judge has given Robin Williams’ children and wife an additional two months to settle their dispute about the distribution of the late actor’s estate. In March 2015 a court granted them eight weeks to decide how to divide Williams’ estate but the parties are still disputing the distribution of personal items and the amount of money required to maintain one of his homes – they now have until the end of July to reach a settlement.

Impact of upcoming EU Succession Regulation on Canadian: Margaret O’Sullivan TEP discusses the likely impact of the European Union Succession Regulation, which will come into force in all EU Member States (except Denmark, the UK and Ireland) from August 17, 2015 for all persons dying on or after that date with or without a will. The EU Succession Regulation provides rules to determine which country’s laws will apply to the entire estate and, importantly, a person can dictate in their will to apply the law of their nationality/ies, as opposed to their place of habitual residence, which is how jurisdiction is usually determined.

The STEP Industry News Digests provide a round-up of relevant industry news for trust and estate practitioners and other professionals in the wealth management sector. They provide brief summaries of topical news stories gathered from news providers internationally, providing a quick reference for busy practitioners to all the relevant news and issues. STEP’s news digest services include twice weekly UK and International editions as well as a bi-weekly North America Digest (focusing on the US, Canada and Mexico), and a Latin America Digest.

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