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

Digital Assets Remain a Puzzling Subject in Estates

by: , January 18, 2016

Peggy Bush, a 72-year-old Victoria B.C. resident, lost her husband David to cancer in August. Peggy, who David left his entire estate to, was able to transfer the title of their house and car to her name without issue by using a notarized death certificate and a copy of the will. The only asset Peggy…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

Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry

by: , December 1, 2015

This past month, de Vries Litigation lawyers and staff had the opportunity to volunteer for an evening at Toronto Lawyers Feed the Hungry. The organization provides four meals a week to guests. Dinners are served on Wednesdays and Fridays, and breakfasts on Thursday and Sunday. Started in 1998, the program takes place in Osgoode Hall’s…read more

Aging Population Brings Greater Risk to Guardianship System

by: , November 27, 2015

An article last month in the Wall Street Journal entitled “Abuse Plagues System of Legal Guardians for Adults” noted a variety of complaints across the United States about guardians of property and personal care. In one nightmarish story, 71-year old Linda McDowell’s former housemate and companion helped file a court petition, unbeknownst to Ms. McDowell, seeking…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

New Small Estate Probate Procedure Proposed for Estates Below $50,000

by: , November 20, 2015

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) has released its final report on a proposal for a new simplified probate procedure for small estates. The LCO’s report, which includes 15 different recommendations, envisions the creation of a process for estates valued at up to $50,000. In effect, the new system would be a simpler probate system that…read more