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

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

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

A Most Peculiar Charity

by: , December 31, 2015

The United Kingdom’s top 25 charities by investments include charities for the promotion of health, education and religion. Number 23 on the list stands out for its rather unusual purpose. The National Fund is dedicated to paying off the UK’s national debt. But there’s a catch: the assets of the National Fund can only be…read more