What motivated TD Waterhouse Private Client Services to be one of the sponsors for the upcoming continuing legal education seminar being run by B’nai Brith Canada’s Estates and Trust Group, Lawyer’s division?
Interim solution for litigants
During litigation someone still has to manage the affairs of the estate. Normally, financial institutions are temporarily appointed by the court to manage the estate as Estate Trustee During Litigation. According to Rayna Zucker, vice-president, TD Waterhouse Private Trust in Toronto, “when people are fighting, the court appoints a professional third party to preserve the assets they are fighting over. We don’t take sides and we have the experience and internal resources to help ensure that there are still valuable assets available at the end. Our activities are transparent to everyone because of our ongoing accounting.”
There is an absolute duty of an estate trustee and also on a power of attorney for property to maintain proper accounts and records. Failure to do so often leads to litigation compelling them to pass their accounts in court. To prevent this from occurring a trust company is sometimes named at the outset or as an alternative replacement co-estate trustee or co-attorney to ensure a proper list of assets is maintained and an accurate record of how the assets are administered on an ongoing basis.
Zucker said, “The courts have rigid expectations and demand a certain format when approval. One of the problems we often see is the failure to keep detailed, complete records because they are not aware of this responsibility. This can result in thousands of dollars in legal and accounting fees to recreate the accounts in the correct format.”
“The bottom line is that financial institutions play an invaluable role in the estate litigation process. The level of trust placed in them is reflected by the fact that the legislature exempted trust corporations from the usual requirement of posting a bond when acting as estate trustee.”
“We want to make people aware of their options in estate planning and also of the unfortunate consequences that can result in thinking they can do everything themselves in this very complex area. TD Waterhouse was motivated to sponsor the continuing legal education program being offered by the Estates and Trust Group of B’nai Brith for this purpose.”