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

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

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

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

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

Happy 65th Birthday from the Canadian Government

by: , May 26, 2015

Canadians can rejoice at turning 65 – you are now eligible for the government benefits offered to seniors. In order to spend more time eating cake and less time searching for the benefits that apply to you, provincial and federal benefits are listed in one convenient website. The list briefly summarizes the different benefits available,…read more

Insolvent and Bankrupt Estates

by: , May 26, 2015

Estate trustees and beneficiaries often focus on the positive – the many and varied assets of an estate which will soon be distributed to the beneficiaries. It is only after the estate administration is underway that the full financial picture emerges – an estate that appeared flush may actually have more debts than there are…read more

Gifting Your House to Your Caregiver

by: , March 5, 2015

It is not uncommon for an aging parent to want to give an extra benefit to the child who is looking after her. However, where this means favouring one child over another, litigation is often not far behind. Such was the case of Donis v Georgopoulous. In the well-written reasons of Justice Firestone, the court…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

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