My Sister Died Without a Will – What Happens Now?

by: , June 15, 2020

A will allows an individual to decide in advance who will administer her estate and who will receive her assets when she dies. Testamentary freedom is guaranteed to all Canadians, meaning we are free to choose who will benefit from our estates: family members, friends, pets, charities, or our favourite sports team. (Note that most…read more

Paying Funds Into and Out of Court

by: , May 3, 2020

During the course of litigation, you may run into a situation where money is “paid into court.” Paying money into court is a way of protecting funds while the litigation is ongoing or until a minor reaches the age of majority. For example, where there is a dispute about who is entitled to insurance proceeds,…read more

Clash of the Limitation Periods

by: , February 21, 2020

The Limitations Act, 2002, SO 2002, c 24, Sch B, brought order and clarity to limitation periods in Ontario. However, the Limitations Act did not displace all existing limitation periods established by statute. Several carve-outs which are particularly relevant to estates litigators includes the Real Property Limitations Act, RSO 1990, c L.15 and s. 38(3)…read more

Testamentary Freedom – A Fundamental Right?

by: , June 17, 2019

Whether testamentary autonomy is a constitutionally protected right has not been considered by the courts … until now. The rules of testamentary succession (i.e. wills and estates) are governed by provincial law. While each province and territory has its own set of statutes, most have imposed some requirements that the deceased make “adequate provision” for…read more

The Act of Factum Writing

by: and , May 11, 2018

The importance of a factum in litigation cannot be overstated. A factum is a party’s written submissions to the court. The factum summarize the facts of the case, the issues in dispute, and the law being relied upon (with the addition of “overview” and “relief sought” sections at the beginning and end of the factum,…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

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

Mandatory Mediation – A Binding Success

by: , April 29, 2015

In 1999, a pilot program was implemented in Toronto requiring mandatory mediation for all estates, trusts, and substitute decisions matters.  In 2002, mandatory mediation was expanded to Windsor and Ottawa.  The pilot program was considered a success and mandatory mediation has been enshrined in rule 75.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure (see the Ministry…read more

Marriage Contracts and Nursing Care

by: , April 21, 2015

Caring for your aging spouse may be difficult and stressful without a support network. When the “healthy” spouse is too old and fragile to provide care, additional support or alternate accommodations for the ailing spouse must be found. Unfortunately, when one 80-year old wife made it clear to her children and step-children that she was…read more