A Brief Review of Solicitor’s Negligence

by: , August 23, 2017

Claims against solicitors for negligence often arise in the context of estates cases, whether it be the failure of a lawyer to ensure that a testator’s wishes are accurately reflected in his/her will, to neglecting to confirm the testator had the requisite capacity and was not subject to undue influence in executing his/her last will….read more

The Benefits of Comprehensive Releases

by: , July 24, 2017

When combatants settle a lawsuit, they often exchange mutual releases – that is, they release each other from all and any possible claims arising out of the issues raised in the litigation. However, releases can be the bane of a lawyer’s existence when it comes to getting the words just right. Clients don’t think they…read more

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

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

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

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

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