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

“On Title” Versus “Entitled”: The Doctrine of Resulting Trust

by: , June 3, 2015

A common estate planning technique to avoid probate tax is for a parent to transfer his or her house into joint tenancy with one of his or her children. That way, when the parent dies, the property passes by way of survivorship from the parent to the child without the need to go through probate…read more

Unregistered Transfer of Property Can Be Valid

by: and , March 25, 2015

A recent decision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that a deed of transfer of land can still be valid even if the deed wasn’t registered until after the transferor died. In the case, Sproul Estate v. Sproul, the testatrix, Ann Sproul, had purchased a house in 1989 with her husband, Leonard, together…read more

Ontario Has Jurisdiction Over Invalid Italian Will

by: , March 11, 2015

Antonina’s father died during his vacation to Italy. She and her two siblings then received a purported handwritten will made just before his death which named their cousin Anna as a beneficiary. In Re Estate of Domenico Grillo, 2015 ONSC 1352, Justice Newbould found Ontario had jurisdiction over Antonina’s application to set aside this holograph…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

Tort of Conspiracy in Estate Litigation

by: , March 3, 2015

Conspiracy has been something of a hot topic in civil litigation in recent years. While a wide range of activities have been used as the basis for a claim in conspiracy, it is not frequently seen in the estate litigation context. That may change, however, as the tort continues to  be adapted and modified by…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

An Unwelcome Guest – Guardian of Property Obtains a Writ of Possession

by: , May 27, 2014

In 1998, Ms. Tollis was declared incapable of managing her property.  In the same year, the Public Guardian and Trustee (the “PGT”) became her statutory guardian of property.  Ms. Tollis held an interest in a house along with her brother, Mr. Tollis.  The interest in the house was Ms. Tollis’ primary financial asset. Shortly before…read more

Happy Long Weekend

by: , May 16, 2014

The Victoria Day long weekend marks the unofficial opening of cottage season.  Unfortunately, in Ontario, spring is delayed, the lakes are cold, and snow still lingers on the forest floor (trilliums be damned).  Nevertheless, a cottage case is just what the judge ordered to mark the start of the season. Clarke v. Johnson is a 2014…read more

Claims By or Against Estates Expire After Two Years

by: and , May 14, 2014

The decision of the Ontario Divisional Court in Cerqueira Estate v Ontario provides a useful discussion of the differences between the limitation periods in the Limitation Act and in the Trustee Act.  Whereas limitation periods under the Limitations Act begin running as soon as the cause of the claim is discovered (the principle of discoverability),…read more