Medical Assistance in Dying (MAID) – Still Controversial

by: , August 28, 2020

In Canada, MAID has now been legal since June 2016 when the Parliament of Canada passed federal legislation that allowed eligible Canadian adults to request medical assistance in dying. However, the issue is by no means settled and the courts have been frequently called upon to referee MAID’s implementation and application. By way of background,…read more

The Rights of a Surviving Spouse – Spousal Election

by: , July 6, 2020

I just finished watching Mrs. America, the recent TV series that chronicles the fight by women in the 1970s to enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the US Constitution. First proposed in 1921, the ERA sought to mandate equality between men and woman. In 1972, Congress passed the ERA, but they could not obtain…read more

Mediation vs. Arbitration – What’s the Difference?

by: , May 25, 2020

I am often asked what is the difference between mediation and arbitration. That question is usually followed by another: is one better than the other? In this blog, I will examine the differences between mediation and arbitration and outline some of the advantages of each. Mediation Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It…read more

The Costs of Litigation and the Loser Pays Principle

by: , April 14, 2020

When new clients embarks on litigation (to challenge a will or to remove an executor, for example), one of the first questions I am asked is whether they can recover their legal fees or costs from the estate or trust (as we all know, litigation can be expensive). The expectation is that the estate or…read more

Sealing One’s Fate: The Sherman Murders, Probate and Perseverance

by: , May 15, 2019

The Sherman murders remain famously unresolved and still generate headlines and notoriety. But, for better or worse, life moves on and Barry’s and Honey’s respective estates (collectively the “Sherman Estates”), however mundane, need to be probated and administered. In that regard, the Court of Appeal for Ontario (“OCA”) recently released a decision on an appeal…read more

To Remove or Not to Remove … That is the Question

by: , February 6, 2019

Estates tell a million stories and the case of Ford v Mazman, 2019 ONSC 542, is just one of them. Mary died on April 3, 2017. Mary’s 2004 Will named her two nieces, Laura and Carleen, as sole beneficiaries. Mary appointed her close friend, Seta, as her estate trustee/executor. Laura had travelled to Ontario from…read more

Not So Fast – Who Controls the Body?

by: , November 7, 2018

“He knows where the bodies are buried” is a throwaway line from Orson Wells’ cinematic masterpiece, Citizen Kane. That line soon took on a life of its own and entered the cultural vernacular. In the world of estates, a more frequent problem is not finding the bodies but deciding where to bury the bodies. In…read more

The Benefits of Comprehensive Releases

by: , July 24, 2017

When combatants settle a lawsuit, they often exchange mutual releases – that is, they release each other from all and any possible claims arising out of the issues raised in the litigation. However, releases can be the bane of a lawyer’s existence when it comes to getting the words just right. Clients don’t think they…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

Justice David Brown: A Lasting Legacy

by: , December 22, 2014

Congratulations to Justice David Brown who was appointed to the ONCA this week. I am sure that I speak for the Estates Bar when I wish him well in his new role. Justice Brown had a profound impact on the Estates Bar (and beyond) and leaves a lasting legacy. He certainly imposed procedural rigour on the…read more