COVID-19 Update: No In-Person Hearing Unless “Absolutely Necessary”

by: , December 30, 2020

As 2020 draws to a close, the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel is in sight. Two vaccines have been approved and thousands of Ontarians have been vaccinated. However, the pandemic has not yet abetted and is potentially entering its most dangerous phase. The Superior Court of Justice is doing its part to…read more

The Sherman Murders At the Supreme Court: Balancing Privacy with Openness

by: , November 10, 2020

Almost three years ago today, billionaire couple Barry and Honey Sherman were found murdered in their North York mansion. Their murderer(s) remain at large. In an unusual move, their probate files were sealed to protect the safety, privacy and dignity of the trustees and beneficiaries of their estates. This decision was appealed and now the…read more

‘Leave Them A Buck And They Can’t Challenge Your Will’ – Nope, Not That Simple

by: , October 5, 2020

A common myth about estate planning is that if you leave a nominal amount (say $1.00) to someone it prevents them from challenging your will. Like most urban legends, there is a grain of truth here – but it’s still a myth. This grain of truth is that one of the grounds to challenge a…read more

Action? Application? What’s the Difference?

by: , August 18, 2020

Litigation comes with its own jargon which is not easy to decipher. In Ontario a lawsuit/court proceeding is categorized as either an action or an application. What’s the difference? The terms are defined in the Rules of Civil Procedure, but these definitions are not terribly useful at first blush; an action is defined as “a…read more

Matrimonial Homes and Resulting Trusts

by: , June 30, 2020

When a parent transfers property to a capable adult child without getting anything in return, the law does not assume this is a gift. Instead there is a (rebuttable) presumption that the child holds this property in trust for the parent (called a resulting trust). But what happens when that property is a matrimonial home…read more

A Not So Pleasant Dispute: Is Mount Pleasant A Charitable Trust?

by: , May 18, 2020

Despite Mount Pleasant’s bucolic name, some of the issues surrounding the cemetery recently have been less than… pleasant. The decision to close for Mother’s Day (and the previous closure) due to COVID-19 was controversial. While maintaining social distancing is important, giving residents the ability to use midtown Toronto’s “Central Park” (as one city councilor referred…read more

Supreme Court Blesses Henson Trusts

by: , February 13, 2019

The Supreme Court of Canada has given its blessing to Henson Trusts (fully discretionary trusts set up to not impact the beneficiary’s social assistance benefits) in S.A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corp., 2019 SCC 4. I previously blogged about this case when it was before the Court of Appeal. The Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation (the…read more

It’s All About The Benjamin Orders

by: , September 4, 2018

Did William die? If so, when? These were the central issues addressed in Steele v. Smith, 2018 ONSC 4601. There, the Court had to consider whether the estate trustee of William’s sister’s estate should receive a “Benjamin Order”, permitting the estate trustee to distribute the residue of her estate as if William had predeceased her. The…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