Does Alberta Need a New Trustee Act?

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on Does Alberta Need a New Trustee Act?
Feb 282017
 

Does Alberta Need a New Trustee Act?

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) has just released their Final Report 109 with recommendations on implementing a new Trustee Act in Alberta. Details can be found at www.alri.ualberta.ca/.


ALRI recommends clear, simple, and comprehensible legislation with its latest publication, Final Report 109 – A New Trustee Act for Alberta.

What is a Trust?

Trusts are used by many Albertans as a way to manage property and assets, both before and after death. Having modern and clear rules for setting up and handling trusts is important to allow Albertans to manage and distribute their property. The current Trustee Act is outdated and has not kept pace with the modern world.

A Trustee Act Tailored for Alberta

ALRI has just released Final Report No. 109 – A New Trustee Act for Alberta. The Report sets out ALRI’s final recommendations for new trustee legislation in Alberta. While based on the Uniform Law Conference of Canada’s Uniform Trustee Act, 2012, ALRI has tailored its recommendations to reflect Alberta’s trusts law and practice.

Recommendations Based on Extensive Consultation

ALRI has relied on the exceptionable feedback from the trusts and estates bar in the province in crafting the final recommendations. The Final Report is distinctly better with input of those trusts professionals who assisted by completing surveys, writing or calling with comments, and participating in presentations and discussions.

The Trustee Act is long overdue for modernization. ALRI is hopeful that new trustee legislation based on its recommendations will be enacted.

ALRI invites you to review Final Report No. 109 – A New Trustee Act for Alberta.

ALRI Perpetuities Law Report for Discussion

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on ALRI Perpetuities Law Report for Discussion
Apr 222016
 

Take the survey to share your feedback on ALRI’s Perpetuities Law Report for Discussion.

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) recently published a Perpetuities Law Report for Discussion. This latest Report for Discussion 29Perpetuities Law: Abolish or Reform? – addresses complex perpetuities issues in our modern context. You can learn more about the report in today’s guest blog by ALRI’s Carol Burgess.

As with all their Reports, ALRI values the input of the legal community in considering what recommendations to put forward. Take time to share your thoughts on the Perpetuities Law Report for Discussion by completing the survey. Responses are due by June 30!


In Alberta, the Perpetuities Act seeks to balance an owner’s desire to control disposition of their property into the future by use of contingent interests with the need of the recipients of those interests to be able to respond to changed times and circumstances. Has the time come to abolish the Rule Against Perpetuities in this province? Three other Canadian jurisdictions have done so and the Uniform Law Conference of Canada has recently recommended in its Uniform Trustee Act that all others follow suit.

To explore this and other issues, ALRI has published Report for Discussion 29 on Perpetuities Law: Abolish or Reform? The Report asks open-ended questions to facilitate discussion of how perpetuities issues should be addressed in our province.

In the 21st century, do legal mechanisms other than the Rule Against Perpetuities now exist that could adequately handle perpetuities issues? One such possibility might be the income tax system’s 21-year Deemed Disposition Rule. It provides a powerful incentive for trust holders to avoid capital gains tax by making sure the trust property vests before the 21 year deadline. Another mechanism that can limit perpetuities is court variation of trusts legislation. It allows for trusts to be varied or terminated by consent of the beneficiaries and allows a court to give substituted consent on behalf of beneficiaries who are minors, incapacitated, unborn or unascertained. Both mechanisms have changed the landscape for perpetuities in the context of trusts, but are they sufficient controls?

If it is thought that the Perpetuities Act should be retained, the Report also explores whether any reforms are needed to the statute. Is there a way to simplify and clarify how a perpetuity period is set or calculated? Would it be better to enact a straightforward duration limit instead of the Act’s current vesting and wait-and-see model? There is a larger question as well. Quite apart from whatever model is best, should perpetuities law also continue to apply to non-trust and commercial dispositions, or should its application be restricted to trusts and estates only?

ALRI’s consultation on Perpetuities Law: Abolish or Reform? Report for Discussion 29 runs until June 30, 2016. Feedback from interested persons is needed to help determine what recommendations should be made to the government of Alberta. Input is sought via letter, email or by taking a survey.

ALRI thanks everyone for their continued help with the important work of law reform.

Carol Burgess
ALRI Operations Manager


If you want LESA’s help to raise awareness about an upcoming event relevant to the Alberta legal community, contact Andrea Maltais, Communications Coordinator.
780.969.0555 or andrea.maltais@lesa.org

New ALRI Reports

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on New ALRI Reports
Apr 152016
 

Alberta Law Reform Institute

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) gathers law reform suggestions from the public, the government, and the legal profession as part of their review and recommendation process when making suggestions to improve the law and the legal system.

Two new ALRI reports have been published.


The New Trustee Act of Alberta

The Alberta Law Reform Institute and the Ministry of Justice and Solicitor General have extended the joint consultation deadline for feedback on Report for Discussion No. 28 until April 30, 2016.
Based on feedback received to date, we have created a survey that specifically addresses who should be able to vary a trust and when this can be done without court approval. Further, the trust looks at the proper balance of authority in trust variations between a trust instrument and court approval.

We have also taken our original survey on the Report and broken it into several 2 minute surveys. This allows you to answer a very brief survey on the topics that interest you.

Visit the ALRI website to read the Report and take our surveys. You can also link to these from the provincial government’s website.

Please contact the Institute by email at lawreform@ualberta.ca if you have any questions. You can also subscribe to our mailing list or follow us on Twitter @ablawreofrm.

Carol Burgess
ALRI Operations Manager

Reviewable Transactions

The law of fraudulent preference and conveyances is outdated and still relies on the English Fraudulent Conveyances Act, 1571. The law in this area also lacks a clear policy foundation and needs to be clarified and modernised. In 2012, the Uniform Law Conference of Canada recommended new legislation to update this area of the law.

The Alberta Law Reform Institute has reviewed the work of the Uniform Law Conference of Canada and recommends that Alberta adopt the Uniform Reviewable Transactions Act.

Key changes that would flow from adopting the Reviewable Transactions Act in Alberta include:

  • Balancing creditors’ rights to recover what they are owed against a transferee’s right to be free from unsuspected claims to property or value received from a person who has creditors;
  • Focusing on the effect of a transaction (did it impede or defeat creditors’ rights of recovery?) rather than the intention of its participants;
  • Considering whether the transferee was in a position to recognise that the transaction was vulnerable because its terms were too good to be true or the transferee knew of and facilitated the debtor’s intention to obstruct creditors.

The Report also includes a sample draft Reviewable Transactions Act. Implementing the Uniform Act in Alberta would also complement the modern legislative framework established by the Civil Enforcement Act and the Personal Property Security Act.

Download the report from our website – Final Report 108, Reviewable Transactions

Carol Burgess
ALRI Operations Manager


If you want LESA’s help to raise awareness about an upcoming event relevant to the Alberta legal community, contact Renee Vander Meulen, Communications Coordinator.
780.969.0553 or renee.vandermeulen@lesa.org

ALRI Report on a New Trustee Act for Alberta

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on ALRI Report on a New Trustee Act for Alberta
Nov 272015
 

ALRI logoALRI (Alberta Law Reform Institute) recently published another report – Report for Discussion #28, A New Trustee Act for Alberta.

The report reviews the Uniform Trustee Act prepared by the Uniform Law Conference of Canada, Alberta’s current Trustee Act, and Alberta law and policy. ALRI’s report then recommends that Alberta implement most of the Uniform Trustee Act provision (with certain modifications, clarifications, and enhancements to reflect Alberta law and policy) while also keeping some of the current Trustee Act provisions in the new legislation.

Here are some of the changes that ALRI proposes to the existing trustee legislation:

  • Trustee majority rule as opposed to requiring unanimity,
  • The existence of temporary trustees, and
  • Two standards of care for trustees – one standard for lay trustees and a more onerous standard for professional trustees.

If you haven’t already done so, download the full report and then complete the survey to give ALRI your feedback. Make sure you offer your suggestions before March 31, 2016.

Information provided by Carol Burgess, ALRI Operations Manager.

Recent ALRI Reports

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on Recent ALRI Reports
Oct 232015
 

ALRI LogoThe Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) gathers law reform suggestions from the public, the government, and the legal profession as part of their review and recommendation process when they make suggestions to improve the law and legal system.

The past two months have seen two reports published – one Report for Discussion as well as one Final Report – and three additional reports are expected to be released in the next few months.

One critical aspect of ALRI’s work is engagement with the legal profession. If you haven’t already provided your feedback on the Report for Discussion or considered the recommendations in the Final Report, you are invited to do so now.

Today’s LESA blog provides a brief synopsis of ALRI’s two recent reports:

ALRI Report for Discussion 27 – Competence and Communication in the Alberta Evidence Act

On occasion, a court must determine whether a proposed witness is competent to give evidence. The question arises with child witnesses and may also arise for adults with cognitive impairment. Alberta legislation about competence has not kept pace with modern knowledge about children’s abilities and fails to address adults with cognitive impairment. It also has a gap affecting witnesses who use alternative means of communication. This Report for Discussion contains preliminary recommendations for updating Alberta legislation to address these issues.

ALRI’s Report for Discussion 27 addressing competency issues of a witness is now available. You can review the report and provide your feedback on these issues with this brief survey until December 1, 2015.

Carol Burgess
ALRI Operations Manager

ALRI Report 107 – Matrimonial Property Act: Valuation Date

The Alberta Law Reform Institute has published its recommendations on the question of the most workable date for the valuation of matrimonial property.

In 2005, the Court of Appeal in Hodgson v Hodgson 2005 ABCA 13 definitively held that the courts are “obliged to divide the matrimonial property as of the date of trial.” According to ALRI’s report, this principle can be problematic. Beginning in late 2013, ALRI began to look into this issue; it consulted with Alberta family law practitioners attending related LESA seminars and CBA meetings to gather their opinions and insights. It also looked to other Canadian jurisdictions, finding that the majority of them value matrimonial property as of the date of separation – not trial.

ALRI’s Matrimonial Property Act: Valuation Date, Final Report 107 (September 2015) represents its findings and, based on these, makes the following recommendations for amendments to the Matrimonial Property Act:

  • Including a provision that spouses may agree on a valuation date,
  • Providing for a default valuation date, to apply when parties do not agree — preferably the date of separation, and
  • Adding changes in property value between valuation and distribution to the factors a court can consider in order property distribution (s 8).

Download the full ALRI report here.

Karen McDougall
LESA Counsel


If you are a family law practitioner, LESA is holding two upcoming programs that will include conversation about the potential practice implications of ALRI’s Final Report 107.

You can learn more or register online now to attend these programs:

ALRI – Non-Profit Corporations Consultation Deadline Extended

 Legal News: Alberta, News  Comments Off on ALRI – Non-Profit Corporations Consultation Deadline Extended
Jun 232015
 

8298984Have you had a chance to weigh in on Discussion 26 – Non-Profit Corporations?

The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) published its report in February, and feedback was originally due in May. If you missed that original deadline, you’re in luck. You now have until November 1, 2015 to offer your comments.

You can see the full extension notice and download a copy of the report here.

ALRI Report for Discussion 25 – Matrimonial Property Act

 Legal News: Alberta  Comments Off on ALRI Report for Discussion 25 – Matrimonial Property Act
Jan 122015
 

8298984The Alberta Law Reform Institute (ALRI) is the official law reform agency for the province of Alberta. ALRI published Report for Discussion 25 back in November.

This report discusses when and how property is valued under the Matrimonial Property Act.

ALRI reviewed the current process for valuing property at trial and found this process to be problematic for several reasons, namely that “it is an uncertain future date, assumes spouses will litigate to trial, and discourages earlier party driven settlements.”

The ALRI’s review process culminated in 3 recommendations that the ALRI has put forward for comment:
1.    The spouses should be able to agree on the valuation date.
2.    If the spouses do not agree, the date is presumed to be the date the spouses separate.
3.    Variations in value of property after separation are best dealt with by the factors set out in section 8 of the Act.

Did you know that ALRI is still soliciting your feedback on this report? Survey closes March 1.

Arbitration Act: Stay and Appeal Issues

 LESA Update  Comments Off on Arbitration Act: Stay and Appeal Issues
Nov 272013
 

The Alberta Law Reform Institute has published its final recommendations regarding Stay and Appeal Issues in the Arbitration Act based on the consultation following our Report for Discussion on the topic published in 2012.

The Report (Final Report 103- Arbitration Act: Stay and Appeal Issues) explains the reasoning behind the recommendations to repeal specific sections to maintain conceptual consistency within the Arbitration Act. These recommendations reaffirm the two fundamental principles underlying the Act: the principle of party control and the principle of restricted court intervention.  The Report also makes recommendations for dealing with the transitional period for existing arbitration agreements and how the amended Act should be applied.

This Report is available at this link http://goo.gl/21HkOI  All of its reports are available on the Institute website

As a lifelong partner of legal education in Alberta, LESA would like to help promote communication initiatives within the legal community. If you have an initiative or project that would be of interest to the legal community, please contact to Communications Manager Linda Wilkinson at linda.wilkinson@lesa.org.

Administration of Estates Act

 LESA Update  Comments Off on Administration of Estates Act
Oct 102013
 

The Alberta Law Reform Institute has just published its report that makes a number of recommendations for reform of the Administration of Estates Act.

The Report clarifies the the roles of the estate representative, beneficiaries, and the court. It will also outline the primary responsibilities of the estate representative.

The objective of these reforms is to create clear, rational, and accessible legislation that will provide guidance to estate representatives who are responsible for administering an estate.

Final Report 102 – Estate Administration is available on the ALRI website for download at  http://goo.gl/Acv0wb

As a lifelong partner of legal education in Alberta, LESA would like to help promote communication initiatives within the legal community. If you have an initiative or project that would be of interest to the legal community, please contact to Communications Manager Linda Wilkinson at linda.wilkinson@lesa.org.