Clash of the Limitation Periods

by: , February 21, 2020

The Limitations Act, 2002, SO 2002, c 24, Sch B, brought order and clarity to limitation periods in Ontario. However, the Limitations Act did not displace all existing limitation periods established by statute. Several carve-outs which are particularly relevant to estates litigators includes the Real Property Limitations Act, RSO 1990, c L.15 and s. 38(3)…read more

Minimum Evidentiary Threshold for Will Challenges

by: , November 19, 2019

What is the minimum level of evidence to be met before a court allows a will challenge to proceed? The recent Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision in Naismith v. Clarke, 2019 ONSC 5280 (“Naismith”) sets out a useful overview for the circumstances under which a court may allow a will challenge to move forward….read more

The Tax Clearance Certificate, Demystified

by: , October 28, 2019

As legal representative of an estate, the estate trustee’s obligations are varied. One of their duties is to bring the deceased’s taxes up to date and to file all estate tax returns before the estate is wound up. To exonerate their potential liability to outstanding tax issues pursuant to subsection 159(3)(a) of the Income Tax…read more

Stuart v. Stuart: When Spouses “Separate” Due to Changing Medical Needs

by: , September 4, 2019

Separation for medical reason affects married spouses whom are forced to live apart due to one’s changing medical needs or deteriorating health. In Stuart v. Stuart, 2019 ONSC 4328, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was asked to assess how a physical separation due to a spouse’s admission to a long-term care facility impacts the…read more

Testamentary Freedom – A Fundamental Right?

by: , June 17, 2019

Whether testamentary autonomy is a constitutionally protected right has not been considered by the courts … until now. The rules of testamentary succession (i.e. wills and estates) are governed by provincial law. While each province and territory has its own set of statutes, most have imposed some requirements that the deceased make “adequate provision” for…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

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 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

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