A Murky Path: Continuing Concern Over Beneficiary Designation Legislation

In our previous The Beneficiary Challenge article, we discussed the 2020 Ontario Superior Court case regarding Calmusky v Calmusky. One of the key issues in this case involved the designation of Gary Calmusky as the beneficiary under his deceased father’s Registered Retirement Income Fund (RRIF). This caused quite a stir when Randy, the other adult son, argued that these funds should not have been administered to Gary directly. Randy then took the case to court, maintaining that the RRIF was held in trust for the estate of the father. He also argued that a bank account, previously held jointly by Gary and the father, was also held in trust for the estate.

At that time, the Court decided that a joint bank account should be held in trust for the estate when it resulted from a gratuitous transfer of an asset to an adult child, unless the child can prove that it was the deceased’s intention to gift the asset to them directly. This was consistent with established case law.  However, the court then went on to apply this very same principle to the RRIF beneficiary designation, regardless of legislation already in place honouring such designations! In doing so, the court created doubt as to whether routine designations, whether they be in registered plans or insurance, would now be subject to increased legal scrutiny and litigation.

The Calmusky case was heavily criticized in legal and financial circles. Subsequently, in the 2021 case of Mak Estate v. Mak, a different judge of the same court came to the opposite conclusion from the judge in the Calmusky case. In the Mak case, in considering a RRIF designation of an adult child, the court stated that there was “good reason to doubt the conclusion that the doctrine of resulting trust applies to a beneficiary designation”. The judge’s comments suggest that there is no requirement to determine the intent of an individual who designates a beneficiary supported by legislation, such as that governing registered plans and insurance. Continue reading “A Murky Path: Continuing Concern Over Beneficiary Designation Legislation”

SHARE the client article from The Link Between:
Beneficiary Designations and the Importance of Transparency

Planning Opportunities in the Women’s Market

As you plan your business development strategies for the coming year and beyond, it may be a good time to consider truly untapped opportunities in the marketplace. For example, understanding how women relate to money and being sensitive to the unique challenges women face can set you apart from your peers.

Watch this video to learn more about this key market segment and how you can make a difference. Continue reading “Planning Opportunities in the Women’s Market”

SHARE the client article from The Link Between:
Planning for Your Financial Future

The Death Claims Process – Meeting with Your Client

As an Advisor, you continually strive to help your clients plan for their estate planning needs and the needs of their family. Your clients have placed the ultimate confidence in you, entrusting you with the incredible responsibility of representing them after they pass, in order to ensure that their estate wishes are fulfilled. The death of a family member is always traumatic and you have an important role in helping your clients’ beneficiaries through this process with care and understanding.

In her 2018 article Coach Clients on Death Claims, author Suzanne Yar Kahn highlights insights from several Canadian insurance advisors about the life insurance claims process. One advisor recommends meeting with your clients and their named beneficiaries today to ensure that there is no confusion when it comes to your client’s wishes and that everyone, including family and beneficiaries, are aware of what to expect when that time comes (1). These meetings are a great way to build client/advisor trust and offer your client the peace of mind that they are looking for at that time. Additionally, these meetings allow you to meet and get to know the named beneficiaries – so you can better support them in the future. Continue reading “The Death Claims Process – Meeting with Your Client”

SHARE the client article from The Link Between:
The Settlement Process – What Your Beneficiary Can Expect

Shining a Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Underwriting

Nearly 10 per cent of Canadians ages 12 and older have a mood disorder (1). One definition of mood disorder is a general emotional state or mood that interferes with one’s ability to function. Major depression disorder (MDD), anxiety and bipolar disorder (BP) are the commonly thought of mood disorders. However, are you aware that seasonal affective disorder, a form of depression, is also a mood disorder? Continue reading “Shining a Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) and Underwriting”

SHARE the client article from The Link Between:
Shining a Light on Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)

Love and Money

Ah love… such a wonderful thing, but sometimes financial strains and worries can get in the way. In fact, 84% of respondents in a Money Magazine survey said that money was the source of marital tensions with disagreements about financial priorities topping the list of problems (1). So, how should your client handle their money in order to avoid these wicked pangs of love?

Here are few insights to share with your clients to help them keep their pocketbooks full and those love lights burning strong (without all those headaches!). Continue reading “Love and Money”

SHARE the client article from The Link Between:
Love and Money

A Case for Holistic and Proactive Employee Wellness

Mental health itself is nothing new. However, the ways in which we understand and approach issues related to mental health in society, and in the workplace, are constantly evolving. This is especially visible in the insurance industry, where mental health challenges account for a high percentage of long-term disability (LTD) claims, and are therefore a costly expense for many businesses (1).

Much can be said for the progress made up to this point, by individuals and organizations working together to address challenges to mental health such as social stigma, education, access to support and treatment (2). However, plenty of work remains ahead, perhaps starting with how we think about mental health in the first place – not as something separate and independent from other aspects of our well-being, but as something completely intertwined with, and dependent upon them. In fact, medical, physical, financial, social, and occupational health all factor into mental health. According to the Canadian Mental Health Association:

“Mental health and physical health are fundamentally linked. People living with a serious mental illness are at higher risk of experiencing a wide range of chronic physical conditions. Conversely, people living with chronic physical health conditions experience depression and anxiety at twice the rate of the general population. Co-existing mental and physical conditions can diminish quality of life and lead to longer illness duration and worse health outcomes. This situation also generates economic costs to society due to lost work productivity and increased health service use. (3)” Continue reading “A Case for Holistic and Proactive Employee Wellness”

SHARE the client article from The Link Between:
A Holistic and Proactive Approach to Your Employees’ Wellness

Our Advisor Community: Nick Hounsell

As a father of three, Nova Scotia Advisor Nick Hounsell, an independent Advisor affiliated with PPI, knows how important it is to encourage kids and provide them with the confidence they need to become strong leaders – leaders who then affect meaningful change within their own communities. Kids are bright, energetic, and full of potential, but sometimes they just need the right tools to help them move forward with strength and determination.

For over 6 years, Nick and his wife Anna have worked with and supported the Catapult Leadership Society. Catapult provides students who have displayed natural leadership skills but are experiencing difficult life circumstances, a chance to reach their full potential through world-class leadership programs, volunteerism and ongoing mentorship and guidance. What started with camp sponsorships turned into hosting a series of singer-songwriter concerts, with all proceeds going directly to support Catapult. Nick believes that all kids should have the opportunity to learn, grow and achieve success. For many kids, the lessons learned, and experiences garnered from their time with the Catapult Leadership Society are transformational, creating a lifetime of impact – because sometimes all that it takes is a helping hand and someone to believe in you.



Catapult Leadership Society Continue reading “Our Advisor Community: Nick Hounsell”

Life vs. Living Benefits Underwriting: Consider the Differences

A look back in time helps demystify insurance underwriting

Life insurance underwriting has been around a long time. Since the first life insurance policy issued in 16th century England, the practices supporting fair and competitive life insurance risk selection have evolved often apace with emerging technologies, but the principles that undergird underwriting remain remarkably unchanged.

Living benefits, via disability and critical illness insurance, are considered relative newcomers to the marketplace. Still, the earliest forms of these coverages have been available for a long time. The second American president, John Adams, signed the Act for the Relief of Sick and Disabled Seamen in 1798 (1). The law required seafarers to put aside twenty cents per month from their wages in order to fund medical care for other sailors who fell sick or became disabled. This group of seamen were so vital to trade and commerce, that the law created a provision for the building of hospitals for sick seamen. This is perhaps one of the earliest examples of what we now consider accident and sickness and disability insurance.

Critical illness is the youngest member of the life and living benefits insurance family. It was the brainchild of South African Dr. Marius Barnard who launched the first version in 1983 under the ominously titled Dread Disease Insurance. The premise was groundbreakingly simple: get diagnosed with a covered illness, survive 30 days and collect the claim payment. Critical illness made its way to our shores a few years later and remains a powerful protection tool that continues to benefit Canadian insurance buyers, often in ways that have been described as life changing and life saving. Continue reading “Life vs. Living Benefits Underwriting: Consider the Differences”

SHARE the client article from The Link Between:
Life vs. Living Benefits: Consider the Differences

Our Advisor Community: Aubrey DeLima

One of PPI’s core beliefs is in the essential value of Advisors in helping their clients, and in the meaningful work they do within their communities. Aubrey Delima, an independent Advisor affiliated with PPI, is one of those Advisors. For over a decade, Aubrey and her family have worked with Canuck Place, a pediatric palliative care provider for kids in BC, to raise funds. Her mission began after she lost her 9-year old daughter Lauren to congenital heart disease. Lauren taught everyone around her how to truly love and live life to the fullest. Aubrey’s eldest daughter Jenna, also diagnosed with a life-threatening disease, received support from Canuck Place too, and is thankfully now doing well at the age of 22. Our hearts are with the Delima family as they continue to raise funds for this incredible hospice and keep Lauren’s memory alive. A true inspiration.



https://my.canuckplace.org/teamlauren Continue reading “Our Advisor Community: Aubrey DeLima”

SMART TALK… about digital assets

Your client has been fairly savvy about their physical assets – they’ve made detailed lists and secured a representative to handle these assets when they are no longer here. However, have they considered their digital assets? Your client’s bank accounts, their social media and online family photos are valuable and need to be protected.

Watch this video, part of our SMART TALK series, and share it with your clients to demonstrate the importance of safeguarding digital assets. Continue reading “SMART TALK… about digital assets”

SHARE the client article from The Link Between:
SMART TALK…about digital assets