The Benefits of Comprehensive Releases

by: , July 24, 2017

When combatants settle a lawsuit, they often exchange mutual releases – that is, they release each other from all and any possible claims arising out of the issues raised in the litigation. However, releases can be the bane of a lawyer’s existence when it comes to getting the words just right. Clients don’t think they…read more

Unregistered Transfer of Property Can Be Valid

by: and , March 25, 2015

A recent decision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that a deed of transfer of land can still be valid even if the deed wasn’t registered until after the transferor died. In the case, Sproul Estate v. Sproul, the testatrix, Ann Sproul, had purchased a house in 1989 with her husband, Leonard, together…read more

Justice David Brown: A Lasting Legacy

by: , December 22, 2014

Congratulations to Justice David Brown who was appointed to the ONCA this week. I am sure that I speak for the Estates Bar when I wish him well in his new role. Justice Brown had a profound impact on the Estates Bar (and beyond) and leaves a lasting legacy. He certainly imposed procedural rigour on the…read more

California Dreaming – The Right to Visit an Elderly Parent

by: , November 7, 2014

I recently came across this news article while reading about the litigation surrounding the final days of Casey Kasem.  The article detailed the recent enactment of new sections to California’s probate code which will come into effect January 1, 2016.  The changes will require “conservators” (a position comparable to Ontario’s court-appointed guardian of the person…read more

Being Removed or Renouncing as Estate Trustee?

by: and , November 4, 2014

Although they sound similar, there are important procedural differences between “removing” an estate trustee and “renouncing” the right to act as an estate trustee. Where the named estate trustee has not yet begun acting in her role as estate trustee (i.e. she has not yet undertaken any work administering the estate), she may “resign” or…read more

Beneficiaries Left Paying for Estate Trustee’s Mortgage

by: and , October 24, 2014

Can an estate trustee’s ability to mortgage an estate property be limited by s. 9 of the Estates Administration Act? This was the question recently addressed by the court in Di Michele v. Di Michele. Section 9 of the Estates Administration Act allows for real property to automatically vest in the beneficiaries of an estate…read more

Ethics and Lawyers: Changes to Ontario Rules of Professional Conduct

by: , September 25, 2014

Starting October 1, 2014, the Ontario Rules of Professional Conduct (ROPC) are being updated with a number of new rules, the first big change since 2000.  While many of the changes will likely be of interest to practitioners, there are a number of new rules that are intended to more clearly set out the relationship between…read more

Correcting a Mistake in a Will – What did the Testator Intend

by: , July 25, 2014

Elizabeth Ann McLaughlin died at the ripe old age of 98.  She was predeceased by her husband.  Together they had six children, including Daniel.  Daniel, as estate trustee, sought to rectify what he characterized as a solicitor’s mistake in his mother’s secondary will. For many years prior to her death, Mrs. McLaughlin had no relationship…read more

Claims Involving Land Enjoy Extended Limitation Periods

by: and , June 3, 2014

McConnell v Huxtable (ON CA) is a family law dispute with implications for estates and trust law. The parties were in a relationship from 1993 to 2007 – they were not married and did not have children together. The common law husband bought and sold two houses during the relationship and owned a third home…read more

Happy Long Weekend

by: , May 16, 2014

The Victoria Day long weekend marks the unofficial opening of cottage season.  Unfortunately, in Ontario, spring is delayed, the lakes are cold, and snow still lingers on the forest floor (trilliums be damned).  Nevertheless, a cottage case is just what the judge ordered to mark the start of the season. Clarke v. Johnson is a 2014…read more