The Rights of a Surviving Spouse – Spousal Election

by: , July 6, 2020

I just finished watching Mrs. America, the recent TV series that chronicles the fight by women in the 1970s to enshrine the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the US Constitution. First proposed in 1921, the ERA sought to mandate equality between men and woman. In 1972, Congress passed the ERA, but they could not obtain…read more

Mediation vs. Arbitration – What’s the Difference?

by: , May 25, 2020

I am often asked what is the difference between mediation and arbitration. That question is usually followed by another: is one better than the other? In this blog, I will examine the differences between mediation and arbitration and outline some of the advantages of each. Mediation Mediation is a form of alternative dispute resolution. It…read more

A Not So Pleasant Dispute: Is Mount Pleasant A Charitable Trust?

by: , May 18, 2020

Despite Mount Pleasant’s bucolic name, some of the issues surrounding the cemetery recently have been less than… pleasant. The decision to close for Mother’s Day (and the previous closure) due to COVID-19 was controversial. While maintaining social distancing is important, giving residents the ability to use midtown Toronto’s “Central Park” (as one city councilor referred…read more

Paying Funds Into and Out of Court

by: , May 3, 2020

During the course of litigation, you may run into a situation where money is “paid into court.” Paying money into court is a way of protecting funds while the litigation is ongoing or until a minor reaches the age of majority. For example, where there is a dispute about who is entitled to insurance proceeds,…read more

Am I a Dependant? Can I Receive Support From the Estate?

by: , April 20, 2020

Generally speaking, everyone is free to decide who will inherit their property after their death. This is called testamentary freedom. However, this right is not absolute; the law in Ontario (and elsewhere in Canada) imposes limits on testamentary freedom in certain circumstances, and in particular, where the will of the deceased excludes or fails to…read more

The Costs of Litigation and the Loser Pays Principle

by: , April 14, 2020

When new clients embarks on litigation (to challenge a will or to remove an executor, for example), one of the first questions I am asked is whether they can recover their legal fees or costs from the estate or trust (as we all know, litigation can be expensive). The expectation is that the estate or…read more

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

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

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

A Touch of Modernity

by: , May 11, 2018

In its costs decision for Campbell v. Evert (previously blogged about here), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice further distilled the rationale and policy reasons informing the “modern approach” to fixing costs in estate litigation. Background As frequent readers of this blog may recall, Dr. Ewert (the “Deceased”) passed away in 2011. She left behind…read more