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

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 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…read more

Limiting the Limitations Act

by: , November 27, 2018

Estate trustees must be ready at all times to account for their management and administration of an estate.  There is no statutory requirement for an estate trustee to formally pass his or her accounts.  However, the court may order an estate trustee to do so.  As part of the estate accounting application, beneficiaries can file…read more

Milne Estate (Re)visited

by: and , November 20, 2018

The decision of Milne Estate (Re) (“Milne”) caused a stir among the members of the estates bar and solicitors who draft wills, going so far as to illicit an alert from LawPRO. While the Milne decision (which is under appeal) has garnered a great deal of attention and commentary from lawyers (including Justin de Vries’…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

SO I DUB THEE INVALID

by: , October 22, 2018

As Justice Dunphy queried to start Milne Estate (Re), 2018 ONSC 4174, “[i]s a will that grants the executors the discretion to determine what property is subject to the will a valid will?” For the reasons that follow, the answer is no. Background John Douglas Milne (“John”) and Sheila Marlyn Milne (“Sheila”) both passed away…read more

The Final Countdown

by: , October 5, 2018

As Justice S. Nakatsuru observed in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice’s decision in Sinclair v. Harris, 2018 ONSC 5718, “[n]o one likes to see a limitation period applied to dismiss a case”. That being said, and as we will soon learn, even if they result in less than satisfactory conclusions, there are good reasons…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

The Open Court Principle Against Protecting the Dignity and Privacy of the Victims of Crime: Quite the Balancing Act

by: , August 27, 2018

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice was recently tasked with balancing two rather weighty legal principles in Toronto Star Newspapers Ltd. v. Sherman Estate, 2018 ONSC 4706. The particular facts of this case also afforded the Court with the opportunity to reflect on the particular nature of estate files more generally. Background Barry Sherman and…read more

Let’s Talk About Court Ordered Capacity Assessments

by: , August 10, 2018

Can one’s capacity be assessed against their will? The recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision in Erlich v. Erlich, 2018 ONSC 2911 sets out a useful overview for how and under what circumstances a court may order a person to undergo a capacity assessment, be they willing or otherwise. Background Robert Erlich (“Robert”) is…read more