Orders for Directions in Estate Litigation

by: , October 7, 2014

Orders for directions can be sought at any time where appropriate in the context of estate litigation. However, parties typically seek such an order at the outset of the litigation. Moreover, it usually becomes apparent to the parties early on that many will or POA challenges, which are commenced by way of notice of application,…read more

Dependant’s Relief and Competing Claims

by: , October 3, 2014

In the recent case of Cowderoy v. Sorkos Estate, 2014 ONCA 618, the Ontario Court of Appeal considered the question of how competing claims against an estate are to be appropriately balanced. Gus Sorkos and Victoria Cowderoy were in a common-law relationship until Victoria’s death in 2001.  During that time, Gus became close with Victoria’s…read more

Calculating Dependant’s Support – A View from the Divisional Court

by: , October 3, 2014

The background in Quinn vs Carrigan is well known to estate and family law litigators as the parties have been involved in extensive litigation, including two trials and two appeals.  The first trial and its subsequent appeal, which focused on the issue of who is a “spouse” pursuant to the Pension Benefits Act, led to…read more

Court Allows Delay in Will Challenge

by: , September 29, 2014

When someone tries to challenge a will in court, undue delays on the challenger’s part can be fatal to their claim. The Rules of Civil Procedure, Ontario’s legal procedure guidelines, say that a civil claim can be dismissed for delay if, after the initial pleadings stage, the action isn’t set down for trial within six…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

Adding Parties And Dependant’s Support

by: , September 17, 2014

Can individuals who may have an obligation to support a person making a dependant’s support claim against an estate be added as parties to the support claim? That was the question before the court in Brash v. Zyma. The short answer? Yes. In 2012, Charles Douglas Brash died. At the time of his death, he had…read more

Constructive Trusts and Tracing Funds

by: , September 8, 2014

The recent Ontario Superior Court case of Moody v Hirsh explores the issue of when a plaintiff is able to trace the money he or she paid to a defendant into the defendant’s own property. The decision demonstrates that the circumstances in which a court will make an order imposing a constructive trust over the defendant’s property…read more

Congratulations – It’s A Girl!

by: , August 21, 2014

A  new study reported on this week found that daughters are significantly more helpful than sons when it comes to taking care of their elderly parents. Referencing data found from surveying 26,000 Americans, it seems that daughters spend on average 12.3 hours a month looking after an elderly parent versus sons who spend on average 5.6 hours…read more

Passing of Accounts: A Math Problem Explained

by: , August 14, 2014

In a recent blog post entitled “Things Lawyers Know,” I laughed out loud when I read #13:  “Lawyers are word, not number people.  If their fee went up 10%, few lawyers would know how much extra they received.” Math often comes into play in an estates litigation practice, particularly in the context of a contested passing of…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