A Touch of Modernity

by: , May 11, 2018

In its costs decision for Campbell v. Evert (previously blogged about here), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice further distilled the rationale and policy reasons informing the “modern approach” to fixing costs in estate litigation. Background As frequent readers of this blog may recall, Dr. Ewert (the “Deceased”) passed away in 2011. She left behind…read more

The Utility (or lack thereof) of Extrinsic Evidence when Interpreting a Will

by: , February 9, 2018

Can one rely on extrinsic evidence (i.e. evidence that relates to a will but is not contained in it) to establish the intentions of a testator? This was a question recently considered by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Campbell v. Evert [1]. Background Dr. Ewert had two children, Monica and Peter. Dr. Ewert…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

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

Lawyer’s Questionnaire Admitted to Probate as a Will

by: , November 4, 2013

Courts are sometimes asked to determine if a “testamentary-like” document is a will.  In British Columbia, an executor brought an action to prove in solemn form that a questionnaire that the testator (“Ms. Garnett”) filled out and signed before two witnesses shortly before her death was a will that could be submitted for probate. Ms. Garnett was…read more