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Benefits and pitfalls of joint ownership

say, “between two or more parties specifying their simultaneous ownership of some form of real or per- sonal property, such as a house, land, or money.” This is the most tax and cost effective means of transferring property on the death of either partner. Probate fees are avoided as the property is not distributed under the will and passes outside of the estate. Income tax is avoided on death; nor- mally it would pass with deferred tax consequenc- es to a surviving spouse. However, after the death of one partner, the surviving

N partner may

Dianne Szelag Finance

want to share ownership of some of the property with one or more of their adult children. This can present many prob- lems.

Issues can arise, first of all, if there are siblings. Of- ten a bank account is set up jointly with one child to simplify bank transactions for an aging parent. The parent does not intend to leave the bank account solely to that child on his death, but the normal ef- fect is that this one child would automatically gain possession of the account when the parent dies. However, in the case of such joint accounts the

law gives the parent another possible option, stating simply that the joint owner “may take ownership of the account over other beneficiaries.” By specifically stating in the will his or her intent to leave that ac- count to the estate, the parent can hope to avoid the undesired consequences.

Other problems can arise where an unscrupulous child may start to drain the account while the parent is still alive; or a child may be unable, perhaps un- qualified, to properly manage the parent’s financial affairs.

If the parent intends to continue to report income then, for tax purposes, his or her name and social insurance number should be the first such number recorded on the account. The location of the par- ent’s SIN on future tax slips can have real financial consequences, as indicated below.

Placing property with accrued capital gains into

joint ownership can attract the attention of Revenue Canada. The revenue agency considers the action a partial disposition of the property at fair market value, making the parent liable for tax on accrued capital gains applying to half the market value of the property.

This situation often arises in the case of vacation property transfers. CCRA regularly trolls land titles for evidence of such dispositions. It may be a nasty surprise to the parent who learns a large tax bill is pending.

That situation can also occur with respect to in- vestment portfolios; here, a tax problem can be avoided if it can be clearly demonstrated the prop- erty is being held in trust for the parent in preference to being split. However, in this situation the family may still run into flack with CCRA, which may chal- lenge any such ruling. The case is one where it can be critical to have the parent’s SIN attached first to such accounts.

There are also occurrences where one child has convinced a parent to sign over property without the knowledge or consent of other siblings. The ac- tion may not be discovered until the parent dies, and the resulting situation can bring on undue grief and conflict in the disposition of the estate. The principal residence should not be treated as joint property. Such – an arrangement will cause the family to lose the “principal residence” exemption on half the property.

Another point of vulnerability: joint property is exposed to claims of creditors of all the joint own- ers, as well as being exposed to marital breakdown dispositions because for married individuals joint property is considered marital property. Dianne J. Szelag is a financial advisor with IPC Se- curities.

November 2015

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Ad1 – Because It’s About HIM Too! Publication: Winnipeg Free Press Ad size: 6 cols (6.875") x 130

ormally spouses hold most of their property jointly with the other spouse with a right of survivorship – “a contract,” the law books

Soup for a winter’s day. Go for it! The canned stuff, with its overload of sodium, will ravage your internal body parts and leave a legacy of trouble. Stick with the wholesome fare you cook yourself.

nice hot bowl of soup seems like the perfect meal for a cold winter day. But we must not forget to check the sodium content if we are buying canned or pre-prepared soups.

A If we look at the label for

Tenille Sonnichsen Fit for life

a can of Campbell’s Classic Chicken with Rice, we see a sodium content of 650 milligrams. And that’s only for one half-cup (125 mil- liliter) serving. So if we eat one cup of soup, our sodi- um intake goes up to 1,300 mg. That’s almost an entire day’s worth of sodium for someone who is trying to limit their salt intake! Campbell’s Classic Chicken Noodle has a sodi- um content of 940 mg for one-half cup, or 1,880 mg for one cup! Campbell’s

Classic Tomato Reduced Sodium brings the sodium down to 480 mg per half-cup serving, 960 mg for one cup, which is still a very high dose of sodium if you are aiming for only 1,500mg per day. Why do we need to be so careful about our intake of sodium? The first thing most people think of is hyper- tension, or high blood pressure. Sodium can cause fluids to be retained in the body, which increases the pressure on the blood vessels in the body, and also causes the heart to work harder to pump the extra fluid volume. Hypertension increases the risk of stroke, and of dam- age to the heart and coronary arteries, including heart attack, congestive heart failure, aortic dissection (tear- ing of the large blood vessel of the heart), and athero- sclerosis (buildup of plaque in the arteries).

Homemade soup is good food.

Even if you don’t have high blood pressure, excessive sodium can increase calcium excretion from the body (bad for our bones), can be hard on the kidneys, can stiffen the blood vessels (increasing the likelihood of plaque buildup), and can also cause the heart to enlarge (a larger heart has to work harder and is more prone to fatigue).

Keeping our intake of sodium to a target of 1,500- 2,300mg of sodium per day is beneficial for our health, whether or not we have hypertension or heart disease. Soups can be a very healthy winter meal- when they are made at home. Use a chicken carcass or beef bones to make a broth, and add plenty of vegetables, herbs, spices and legumes (dried beans, peas, lentils), to get a good mixture of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants without all the extra sodium added to canned soups as a preservative.

For recipe ideas for homemade lower sodium soups, check out these websites:

• Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, • Mayo Clinic, • SOS Cuisine, • Tenille Sonnichsen is registered dietician at the Reh-Fit




The annual seasonal flu vaccine is available to all Manitobans at no charge. It will offer protection against four seasonal flu strains.

An annual flu vaccine is especially important for those at increased risk of serious illness from the flu, their caregivers and close contacts.

If you are 65 or older or have a chronic illness, you should also get a pneumo vaccine. One pneumo vaccine may give you a lifetime of protection.

To get your free flu vaccine, contact your public health nurse, doctor, pharmacist or call Health Links – Info Santé at

204-788-8200 or toll-free 1-888-315-9257.


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