Do You Have a Receipt for That?

by: , July 20, 2021

Estate trustees are accountable to the beneficiaries of an estate for the steps they have taken in their administration. Estate trustees should keep a complete record of their activities and always be in a position to prove that they acted prudently and honestly, with accounts ready upon request by a beneficiary. But what happens when…read more

Supreme Court of Canada Unseals Sherman Probate Files

by: , July 7, 2021

On June 11, 2021, the Supreme Court of Canada released its highly-anticipated decision in Sherman Estate v. Donovan, in which the Court ordered that the Sherman probate files be unsealed. In its ruling, the Supreme Court of Canada affirmed the open-court principle and freedom of the press as fundamental pillars of Canadian democracy. Background The…read more

If My Spouse Died Without a Will, Do I Inherit the Whole Estate?

by: , April 19, 2021

When a person dies without a Will, or “intestate”, the division of that person’s estate in Ontario is governed by the Succession Law Reform Act (“SLRA”). When a legally married (not cohabiting) spouse dies without a Will, the surviving spouse does not necessarily inherit all of the estate under the SLRA. The distribution depends on…read more

New Amendments to Increase Amount Payable to Parents of Minors Without Guardianship Appointment

by: , February 24, 2021

Under Ontario law, a child cannot receive money owed to them (such as from an inheritance) until reaching the age of majority. Moreover, a parent cannot receive money owed to a child without obtaining a court order appointing the parent as the child’s guardian for property. However, s. 51(1.1) of the Children’s Law Reform Act (“CLRA”) provides…read more

Ten Things to Remember When Selecting Your Estate Trustee

by: , November 26, 2020

Much has been written about the importance of making a Will to ensure your estate is administered in accordance with your wishes, and benefits those whom you wish to inherit your property. However, your choice of executor, or estate trustee, as the role is now called in Ontario, is just as critical. Your estate trustee…read more

Ambiguous Wills and How They Are Interpreted

by: , September 1, 2020

The occasion may arise that a testator’s intentions as expressed in their Will are unclear. The ambiguity may be the result of drafting errors in the Will or a change in circumstances between the date the testator signed the Will and the date of death, but this change is not addressed in the Will. In…read more

Ten Things You Need to Know Before Challenging a Will

by: , July 14, 2020

The death of a loved one is a painful experience. The loss can become all the more difficult to accept for a potential beneficiary who had an expectation of receiving an inheritance under the deceased’s Will, but instead receives less than expected or nothing at all. The disappointed beneficiary may feel compelled to challenge the…read more

Ten Things an Attorney for Property Should Know Before Acting

by: , June 1, 2020

Acting as the attorney for property of an incapable person comes with important responsibilities that should not be taken lightly or underestimated. However, a person who takes on the role may be unaware of their obligations under the Substitute Decisions Act, S.O. 1992, c.30, the legislation in Ontario that governs powers of attorney. In particular:…read more

Am I a Dependant? Can I Receive Support From the Estate?

by: , April 20, 2020

Generally speaking, everyone is free to decide who will inherit their property after their death. This is called testamentary freedom. However, this right is not absolute; the law in Ontario (and elsewhere in Canada) imposes limits on testamentary freedom in certain circumstances, and in particular, where the will of the deceased excludes or fails to…read more