No Undue Influence, Says Court of Appeal

by: , July 18, 2017

Rita and her late husband Frank built a successful business together in the course of their lengthy marriage. Unfortunately, there is a struggle between Rita’s twin sons (both named Jean) over who should act as their mother’s attorney for property, devastating both the family’s finances and relationship. The Court of Appeal dismissed an appeal of…read more

Born Out of Wedlock, Still Out of Luck

by: , May 8, 2017

Should someone be excluded from inheriting from an estate simply because they were born out wedlock? With “a good deal of regret”, Justice Gray of the Superior Court of Justice concluded in Koziarski v. Sullivan that the answer was “yes”… with respect to wills made before March 31, 1978. Jadwiga Koziarski died on February 15, 2016…read more

Rectification of Wills Unchanged By Supreme Court

by: , January 10, 2017

In Canada (Attorney General) v. Fairmont Hotels Inc., 2016 SCC 56 (and its Quebec civil code counterpart Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc. v. Canada (Attorney General), 2016 SCC 55), the Supreme Court of Canada shook up the tax world by limiting the availability of rectification to prevent unwanted tax consequences. These decisions will undoubtedly have…read more

Home? Or a Retirement Home? The Court Must Decide

by: , April 19, 2016

An elderly woman suffers from dementia. Her two children are both her attorneys for property and personal care. Both have diametrically opposed plans for where she would live. In Walter Burnat v Mary Bosworth et al, 2016 ONSC 2607 (S.C.J.) the court had to decide whether the mother – Olga – would continue to live…read more

A Most Peculiar Charity

by: , December 31, 2015

The United Kingdom’s top 25 charities by investments include charities for the promotion of health, education and religion. Number 23 on the list stands out for its rather unusual purpose. The National Fund is dedicated to paying off the UK’s national debt. But there’s a catch: the assets of the National Fund can only be…read more

When is a Handwritten Will Valid?

by: , December 17, 2015

Linda was cleaning up her deceased sister-in-law Cynthia’s new apartment when she discovered a document inside a Sobeys bag. It was in the deceased’s handwriting and discussed distributing her property upon her death. It named Linda as executrix. As Linda continued to clean Cynthia’s residence she found another such handwritten document (this time, tucked away on…read more

A Judge’s Three Tips to Improve Scheduling Appointments

by: , November 26, 2015

I had the privilege of hearing the Honourable Justice Thomas McEwen of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice speak at The Advocates’ Society’s Estates Litigation Networking Reception on November 23, 2015. Justice McEwen sits in Toronto and is currently the Civil Team Leader. Justice McEwen noted that the system of 9:30 a.m. scheduling appointments on the…read more

Supreme Court Dismisses Expert Witness Appeal

by: , November 9, 2015

As I previously blogged, the Court of Appeal for Ontario held in Westerhof v. Gee Estate, 2015 ONCA 206 that witnesses with special expertise who give opinion evidence not formed for the purposes of litigation do not have to comply with the strict procedural requirements for expert witnesses. The losing party sought leave to appeal…read more

Actions to be Dismissed for Delay on January 1, 2017

by: , August 17, 2015

A doomsday cult believes the world will end on January 1, 2017 (at least according to the British press). If the earth somehow survives, we will need to face the consequences of another event occurring on that date: the dismissal for delay of numerous actions without notice. Rule 48.14 of the Rules of Civil Procedure…read more

Nova Scotia repeals “habitual drunkard” law

by: , May 29, 2015

Until earlier this month, Nova Scotia had a statute on the books called the Inebriates’ Guardianship Act, R.S.N.S. 1989, c. 227 which allowed for the court to appoint a guardian over a “habitual drunkard”. While Nova Scotia has other statutes which allow the Court to appoint a guardian for a person found to be incapable,…read more