Insolvent and Bankrupt Estates

by: , May 26, 2015

Estate trustees and beneficiaries often focus on the positive – the many and varied assets of an estate which will soon be distributed to the beneficiaries. It is only after the estate administration is underway that the full financial picture emerges – an estate that appeared flush may actually have more debts than there are…read more

Can Late-Stage Alzheimer’s Patients Change Their Minds About Their Care?

by: , May 8, 2015

The British Columbia Court of Appeal recently released its decision in Bentley v. Maplewood Seniors Care Society. The closely watched case involved a late-stage Alzheimer’s patient who was supposedly “consenting” to being fed. Her “consent” consisted of opening her mouth when a spoon or glass was placed on her lower lip. The case raises difficult…read more

Mandatory Mediation – A Binding Success

by: , April 29, 2015

In 1999, a pilot program was implemented in Toronto requiring mandatory mediation for all estates, trusts, and substitute decisions matters.  In 2002, mandatory mediation was expanded to Windsor and Ottawa.  The pilot program was considered a success and mandatory mediation has been enshrined in rule 75.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure (see the Ministry…read more

End of Life Decisions and the Substitute Decision Maker

by: , April 22, 2015

When the end is near, decisions regarding food are up to the substitute decision maker In a recent article for the New York Times, Theresa Brown, a hospice nurse and author, described the story of an Italian grandmother who was caring for her dying husband. Her husband was long past the point of being able…read more

Marriage Contracts and Nursing Care

by: , April 21, 2015

Caring for your aging spouse may be difficult and stressful without a support network. When the “healthy” spouse is too old and fragile to provide care, additional support or alternate accommodations for the ailing spouse must be found. Unfortunately, when one 80-year old wife made it clear to her children and step-children that she was…read more

Warring Trustees: More Isn’t Always Better

by: , April 13, 2015

Two recent court cases look at the perils of choosing multiple estate trustees and attorneys for property.  Often a testator will choose two or more of their children to act as co-estate trustees.   They may feel that it would offend one of their children to not appoint them as an estate trustee or that…read more

When is an expert witness not an expert witness?

by: , April 2, 2015

In Westerhof v. Gee Estate, 2015 ONCA 206, the Court of Appeal for Ontario heard appeals from Westerhof v. Gee Estate and McCallum v. Baker, two car crash cases which explored the nature of expert witnesses. The Court of Appeal concluded that witnesses with special expertise who give opinion evidence not formed for the purposes…read more

Unregistered Transfer of Property Can Be Valid

by: and , March 25, 2015

A recent decision in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice held that a deed of transfer of land can still be valid even if the deed wasn’t registered until after the transferor died. In the case, Sproul Estate v. Sproul, the testatrix, Ann Sproul, had purchased a house in 1989 with her husband, Leonard, together…read more

Physician-Assisted Suicide and the Right to Die

by: , March 19, 2015

Could Canadians one day be able to make a power of attorney that authorizes their death? In a Charter decision that may already rank among its most significant, the Supreme Court of Canada unanimously struck down the criminal offences that prohibit aiding or abetting a person to commit suicide this past month. The ruling, in…read more

Corroborative Evidence of Deceased’s Actions

by: , March 16, 2015

In P.M. v. Evangelista 2015 ONSC 1419 (CanLII), the court grappled with the requirement of corroboration in sexual assault claims where the defendant had died during the course of the litigation. P.M. claimed damages against the defendant Livia Evangelista, who was the administrator of the Estate of Luigi Evangelista, for sexual assaults, threatening, and harassment….read more