Holographic Wills and Incorporation by Reference

by: , January 20, 2022

In Re Lacroix Estate, 2021 ONSC 2919, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice considered whether a testator’s handwritten note could incorporate by reference the testator’s unsigned but initialed typewritten Will. Facts On May 19, 2020, during the height of the COVID-19 lockdown, Rebecca Stephanie Lacroix contacted a solicitor, Margaret Opatovsky. Ms. Lacroix advised that she…read more

Can Pets Inherit Million Dollar Trusts?

by: , December 15, 2021

Recently, a German shepherd named Gunther VI made headlines worldwide by purportedly selling a $31.7 million dollar Miami mansion which used to belong to Madonna. As the story goes, Gunther VI’s great-grandfather, Gunther III, was gifted a multi-million-dollar trust from late owner German countess Karlotta Liebenstein when she passed in 1992. The fund was well…read more

Estate Trustee Compensation

by: , December 6, 2021

An estate trustee is entitled to compensation for work performed in that capacity on behalf of an estate. Subject to any fee or compensation agreement, the general rule in Ontario is that an estate trustee is entitled to compensation in the amounts of 2.5% of all capital receipts and disbursements, and 2.5% of all revenue…read more

When Death Interrupts a Court Case

by: , November 24, 2021

No one wants to think that a party to litigation could pass away before the litigation settles or is resolved by the court. But, unfortunately, it does happen. The death of one of the parties in the litigation has an immediate impact on the proceeding. Rule 11.01 of the Rules of Civil Procedure provides, in…read more

The Role of the OCL

by: , October 4, 2021

de VRIES LITIGATION LLP often acts as agent lawyers for the office of the children’s lawyer (the “OCL”) in various proceedings. Generally, the OCL represents the interests of a child under the age of 18 in cases in Ontario. Minors’ interests are often at play in estate and trusts matters. For example, a minor may…read more

Can Secret Recordings be Effective Evidence in Litigation?

by: , September 27, 2021

In estate litigation, the practice of making secret or surreptitious recordings is not uncommon. It’s not unusual for tape recorders to be hidden around the home, or for phone calls to be recorded without the consent or knowledge of the other party. This begs three questions: (1) What do judges actually think of this practice?…read more

Notice of Objection to Accounts

by: , August 16, 2021

A passing of accounts refers to the process whereby the court approves of the estate trustee’s accounts. The accounts provide, among other things, details relating to the estate’s capital and revenue receipts and disbursements. While an estate trustee can voluntarily bring an application to pass accounts or be compelled to do so by the court,…read more

How Can a Beneficiary Get Information About an Estate?

by: , August 3, 2021

Sometimes a beneficiary can feel powerless during the process of an estate administration. A beneficiary may not know anything beyond that he or she is a beneficiary. Sometimes even confirmation of a gift is difficult to obtain. The relationship between an estate trustee and a beneficiary does not have to be a challenging one. The…read more

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