Legislation Modernizes Trusts and Property Dispositions Rules

first_imgNova Scotia’s property law is being simplified to better protect families. Justice Minister Ross Landry introduced today, Nov. 21, a new Perpetuities Act which abolishes the Rule Against Perpetuities and amends the Variation of Trusts Act and the Real Property Act. “Property rights have changed over time and the law should reflect modern practices,” said Mr. Landry. The rule, which dates back to 1672, was originally intended to protect property from control after death. The rule places strict and complicated limits on the duration of certain restrictions on the use and transfer of property. Over time, the law has grown so complex that it risks people being deprived of their property interests through inadvertent errors in drafting legal documents. The changes were recommended by the Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia. The Rule Against Perpetuities has been abolished or reformed in seven of 10 Canadian provinces and many other countries that use a common law legal system. “The commission consulted extensively with estate planning specialists and the public. We heard that the rule was cumbersome and complex, and was simply inappropriate for the modern Nova Scotia context,” said Angus Gibbon, executive director of the Law Reform Commission of Nova Scotia. “There was very little support for a reformed version of the rule to make it simpler. The overwhelming preference was for abolition, and a more flexible role for the court where needed.” In place of the strict rule, courts will be given enhanced power to vary trusts and other property disposition so that long-term conditions on the use and exchange of property can be modified or terminated where appropriate. Judges will be given criteria to consider when making these decisions and will be required to consider the intention of the person who made the trust or property disposition. The final report of the Law Reform Commission is available at http://www.lawreform.ns.ca/Downloads/Final%20Report%20-%20Rule%20Against%20Perpetuities.pdflast_img

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