Trusts have been used for many years for estate planning, tax planning and creditor protection purposes. Recent amendments to the Income Tax Act have introduced Alter Ego and Joint Partner Trusts to the estate planner's bag of tools and have generated a wider interest in the use of trusts among taxpayers.

Generally speaking, a trust is a legal relationship in which a person ( the Settlor) transfers legal ownership of property to one or more persons (the Trustees) to be used for the benefit of one or more persons (the Beneficiaries). The rules under which the Trust will operate are set out in a document commonly called a "Trust Deed". The popularity of trusts stems largely from the fact that they are flexible documents that can be structured to meet the specific needs of the parties. Additionally, trust, unlike probated wills, are not public documents so confidentiality can be maintained. On the other hand, there are factors that must be considered to ensure that the trust does not run afoul of the many rules, tax and otherwise, that affect trusts.

The appropriate use of trusts can be an effective means of achieving a client's objectives, but like anything else, one should ensure that the additional cost and complexity do not outweigh the benefit to be gained.

We will assist our clients in setting up trusts, where appropriate, as part of their estate or tax plan. A complete analysis of the clients' current situation and longer term objectives is the starting point to any discussion regarding the use of trusts. Clients can initiate the process by going to the Wills section of this site and downloading the Estate Planning Questionnaire posted there. New clients and current clients who do not have a password can obtain one by calling us at (416) 691-4529 or by sending an email to

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