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

Unjust Enrichment and Mutual Benefits

by: , March 31, 2017

Unjust enrichment is when one person is “enriched” at the expense of another’s monetary contributions or efforts otherwise without a legal reason.  Determining whether one party was unjustly enriched can be complicated where the parties mutually benefit from each other’s assets or actions.  In its recent decision of Granger v Granger, the Ontario Court of…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

The PGT and the Case of the Missing Estate Trustee

by: , November 28, 2016

While a will offers a way to ensure your assets pass to your chosen beneficiaries on death, not everyone dies with a will. When this happens, the Succession Law Reform Act (Part II) sets out who are the beneficiaries of the estate, while the Estates Act (section 29) ranks in order of priority who may…read more

Baby boomers set to receive the largest intergenerational wealth transfer in Canadian history

by: , June 15, 2016

A new report this month by CIBC Capital Markets estimates that Canadians between the ages of 50 and 75 will receive a record $750 billion in inheritance in the next decade. They’ll receive it thanks to the growing number of Canadians over the age of 75 – the cohort has been calculated at just over…read more

A Failure to Compensate: What is a Quantum Meruit Claim and How Can It Be Proven in Court?

by: , June 7, 2016

A claim in quantum meruit is sometimes made in the estates litigation context by a disappointed beneficiary. The words quantum meruit literally mean “as much as deserved.” The claimant argues that he or she deserved compensation from the deceased for work that was done but was not properly compensated for under the deceased’s will. In…read more

What an Estate Trustee Needs to Know About Firearms

by: , May 20, 2016

An estate trustee is tasked with disposing of the assets of an estate. A trickier situation arises when the deceased owned firearms. Strict rules govern the ownership and disposal of firearms in Canada, and trustees must take care to ensure they do not inadvertently break the law (and take necessary safety precautions). The disposition of…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

First physician-assisted suicide case in Ontario

by: , April 7, 2016

Much has been written about last month’s physician-assisted suicide decision by Justice Perell of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in B. (A.) v. Canada (Attorney General). Ever since the Supreme Court handed down the historic decision of Carter v. Canada (Attorney General) (previously discussed here), as well as its companion decision delaying implementation for an additional four months while…read more