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

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

When does a house automatically go to a beneficiary?

by: , July 5, 2021

Just because you are a beneficiary of someone’s estate does not mean you automatically receive your entitlement. Instead, you will have to wait until it is transferred to you. However, in certain circumstances you may receive real property (e.g., a home) directly three years after the deceased’s passing. When someone dies, their property vests in…read more

What is a Fiduciary?

by: , June 21, 2021

The term “fiduciary” does not get thrown around frequently outside of some advertisements for investment services. However, fiduciary relationships are at the heart of estate and trust law. What follows is a “Fiduciary FAQ.” What is a fiduciary? A fiduciary is a person who holds some right, power, or authority which, when exercised, impacts the…read more

The Man with Two Lives: a complicated intestacy

by: , May 10, 2021

Background – The Man with Two Lives   The deceased, Michael Widner, died unexpectedly in 2017. He was the victim of a homicide. In the words of Duncan J., he left behind a “complicated legacy”. At the time of his death, he was married to both the defendant, Sabrina Widner, and was also in a…read more

Can I Charge My Brother Rent For Living in Dad’s Home?

by: , April 26, 2021

In many estates, the family home is the most valuable asset. It can also be the most costly to maintain – mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes, and insurance all have to be kept current until the house is sold. Unfortunately, selling the deceased’s house is a lot more complicated when there is someone living in…read more

20 Notable Cases of 2020

by: , April 25, 2021

It’s that time of year again. Birds are singing, trees are blossoming, and spring is just around the corner. With 2020 fully in the rear-view mirror, now is the perfect time for a review of 20 notable cases decided in that year. (Okay, it’s technically 23 cases, but who’s counting?) The Sherman Estate trilogy: Our…read more

Part II – Best Practices on Digital Estate Asset Planning

by: , March 22, 2021

Dear Readers, As you might recall, last Monday’s blog was about cautionary tales which demonstrate the need for prudent estate planning regarding one’s digital assets. I ended that blog on the suggestion that until Ontario accepts the changes proposed by the Canadian Uniform Law Commission’s  Uniform Access to Digital Assets by Fiduciaries Act, it is…read more