My Sister Died Without a Will – What Happens Now?

by: , June 15, 2020

A will allows an individual to decide in advance who will administer her estate and who will receive her assets when she dies. Testamentary freedom is guaranteed to all Canadians, meaning we are free to choose who will benefit from our estates: family members, friends, pets, charities, or our favourite sports team. (Note that most…read more

The Risks of Being an Estate Trustee

by: , June 8, 2020

A recent news story highlighted one estate trustee’s regretful experience administering an estate.  Due to lengthy litigation involving the validity of the Will and an unsuccessful result for the estate trustees, the estate trustee was ordered to personally pay over $100,000.00 in legal fees.  While the personal cost order was a result of a unique…read more

How Much Compensation Is An Estate Executor Entitled To?

by: , May 11, 2020

After being appointed as estate trustee or executor of an estate, it can be unclear how much compensation can be claimed for administering the estate. In addition, beneficiaries often object to the amount claimed. How is executor compensation determined? In some cases, the will itself outlines the amount of compensation that may be claimed or…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

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 Tax Clearance Certificate, Demystified

by: , October 28, 2019

As legal representative of an estate, the estate trustee’s obligations are varied. One of their duties is to bring the deceased’s taxes up to date and to file all estate tax returns before the estate is wound up. To exonerate their potential liability to outstanding tax issues pursuant to subsection 159(3)(a) of the Income Tax…read more

Stuart v. Stuart: When Spouses “Separate” Due to Changing Medical Needs

by: , September 4, 2019

Separation for medical reason affects married spouses whom are forced to live apart due to one’s changing medical needs or deteriorating health. In Stuart v. Stuart, 2019 ONSC 4328, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice was asked to assess how a physical separation due to a spouse’s admission to a long-term care facility impacts the…read more

Testamentary Freedom – A Fundamental Right?

by: , June 17, 2019

Whether testamentary autonomy is a constitutionally protected right has not been considered by the courts … until now. The rules of testamentary succession (i.e. wills and estates) are governed by provincial law. While each province and territory has its own set of statutes, most have imposed some requirements that the deceased make “adequate provision” for…read more

Sealing One’s Fate: The Sherman Murders, Probate and Perseverance

by: , May 15, 2019

The Sherman murders remain famously unresolved and still generate headlines and notoriety. But, for better or worse, life moves on and Barry’s and Honey’s respective estates (collectively the “Sherman Estates”), however mundane, need to be probated and administered. In that regard, the Court of Appeal for Ontario (“OCA”) recently released a decision on an appeal…read more

To Remove or Not to Remove … That is the Question

by: , February 6, 2019

Estates tell a million stories and the case of Ford v Mazman, 2019 ONSC 542, is just one of them. Mary died on April 3, 2017. Mary’s 2004 Will named her two nieces, Laura and Carleen, as sole beneficiaries. Mary appointed her close friend, Seta, as her estate trustee/executor. Laura had travelled to Ontario from…read more