Divisional Court Guidance on “Proper Support”

by: , February 26, 2015

Bonnie and Danny had a 12 year common law relationship. In a modern twist on the typical fact scenario, Bonnie was the older, successful business woman and Danny was the younger man who left his job at Bonnie’s car dealership to look after things at home. At trial, Justice Greer found that they were very…read more

What Happens to the Residue of a Trust when a Gift Over Fails?

by: , February 17, 2015

In a recent Ontario case, the Applicant, a beneficiary of a testamentary trust, sought an order declaring that the gift over of the trust was voided for uncertainty.  He also sought an order that the entire trust be paid out to him immediately.  The estate trustee took the position that the gift over clause was…read more

Creativity Can Kill: Striking Out Pleadings

by: , January 30, 2015

A decision of the Ontario Superior Court, Catford v. Catford 2014 ONSC 135 demonstrates the importance of getting pleadings right. In this case, the plaintiff sued his niece for “$670,000 or such other sum as may represent one-third of the Catford family estate”. The facts pled in support of this claim was that the plaintiff’s…read more

Waiver of Solicitor-Client Privilege

by: , January 22, 2015

It is a well-recognized principle of law that communications between a client and his lawyer are privileged and remain private and confidential even after death. Only the client can choose to waive privilege and allow the communications to become public. Waiver can be either explicit or implicit. One well known example of implicit waiver of…read more

Will Challenges by Estate Trustees – A Hard Sell

by: , January 13, 2015

If you take steps to administer an estate pursuant to a will or to otherwise behave as if a will is valid, you may lose the right to later challenge that will. In Neuberger v. York, a decision of Justice Greer released in November 2014, she considered a motion to dismiss a will challenge that…read more

Summary Judgment and Trotter Estate

by: , January 6, 2015

As expected, the Supreme Court of Canada’s major decision in Hyrniak v. Mauldin has led to an increased use of the summary judgement motion in Ontario. On a motion for summary judgement, a court disposes of a case without the need for a costly and time consuming hearing or trial. However, some recent court decisions…read more

Passing of Accounts: Adjusting An Estate Trustee’s Compensation

by: , January 5, 2015

In a recent passing of accounts case, the court reduced the estate trustee’s compensation for the following reasons: – No compensation should be charged on investment losses listed as capital disbursements; – The costs connected to the sale of real property (real estate commission, property taxes, and legal fees) are not to be included when…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

Can You Give A Cottage Back?

by: , December 3, 2014

It is common to find a provision in a will which allows the estate trustee to distribute assets in specie – meaning instead of selling all the estate assets and dividing the proceeds between the beneficiaries, the estate trustee may transfer the assets directly to the beneficiaries as payment in kind. Giving the estate trustee…read more

Choosing a POA: A Litigator’s Perspective

by: , November 25, 2014

Two things got me thinking about power of attorney litigation.  I listened to a great program on CBC on Sunday, where the guests – an estate litigator in Toronto and an elder law specialist from the west – talked about the trend that many estate litigators have seen lately.  That is, would-be heirs no longer…read more