Keep the Trains Running: The Importance of a Status Hearing

by: , July 30, 2013

In a recent decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal, the court turned its attention to a frequently encountered issue in civil litigation: under what circumstances should an action be dismissed  for delay by the court following a status hearing?  The appellant (plaintiff) appealed a lower court order dismissing the action for delay after a status hearing….read more

Do You Need A Lawyer to Make a Will?

by: , July 22, 2013

Among the general public, there is a perception that despite being a legal document, creating a will does not require the services of an estate solicitor.  There are numerous do-it yourself kits and online services that offer a “fill in the blanks” approach to creating a will.  As an estate litigator, I usually see when…read more

Powers of Attorney – Ensuring Access to a Loved One

by: , December 28, 2008

In our rapidly aging society, powers of attorney for personal care and property are now widespread and their importance is recognized by the general public. A family member or friend can also apply to the court to be appointed guardian of the person or the person’s property if powers of attorney have not been executed. …read more

The Paul Penna Estate: Summary Judgment Appealed

by: , December 16, 2008

Introduction In an earlier edition of Deadbeat,[1] I wrote a case comment on the decision of Greer J. granting partial summary judgment in the Estate of Paul Penna.[2]  The decision was appealed.  As recently reported in the Ontario Reports, the Court of Appeal (“C.A.”) dismissed the appeal.[3]  What follow is a consideration of the C.A.’s…read more

The Importance of Documenting a Settlement

by: , February 27, 2007

In the context of estate litigation, mediation, as well as pre-trial conferences, often leads to settlements.  The importance of carefully documenting a settlement should not be overlooked.  Where required, a Rule 7 motion (court approval of a settlement where a party is under a disability) will have the effect of forcing the parties to document…read more

When to Mediate

by: , February 27, 2007

I recently attended a client meeting where the issue of mediation was hotly debated.  My client expressed reluctance in participating in a process with a party that my client regarded as intransigent and obstinate.  My client also thought that proposing mediation would suggest to the other side that our case was weak and we were…read more

Choosing a Mediator

by: , February 27, 2007

Mediation is a common occurrence in estate litigation.  Mediation is also popular in other areas, including family law and even commercial litigation.  When choosing a mediator, I look for the following characteristics: Knowledgeable (has to know the law) Experienced at mediating (too many “wannabes”) Litigation savvy (knows the true costs and challenges of litigation) Empathetic…read more

The Doctrine of Abuse of Process

by: and , February 27, 2007

The Supreme Court of Canada had this to say about abuse of process: The doctrine of abuse of process engages the inherent power of the court to prevent the misuse of its procedure in a way that would be manifestly unfair to a party to the litigation before it or would in some other way…read more

Assessing Testamentary Capacity

by: , February 27, 2007

An article was published in the American Journal of Psychiatry in May 2007 and can be found at  www.ajp.psychiatryonline.org. Among other things, the article considered the common cognitive screening tests used by the medical profession to assess testamentary capacity. By way of introduction, the article states: Clinicians and legal experts must understand that cognitive tests…read more

A Child’s Interest in the Family Cottage

by: , January 27, 2007

Recently, a client came to me regarding the purchase of a family cottage.  The client was obviously excited about his new purchase, and wanted advice as to whether he should include his minor children on title.  As his children would ultimately inherit the cottage, he thought it would be a good idea to include them…read more