New Small Estate Probate Procedure Proposed for Estates Below $50,000

by: , November 20, 2015

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) has released its final report on a proposal for a new simplified probate procedure for small estates. The LCO’s report, which includes 15 different recommendations, envisions the creation of a process for estates valued at up to $50,000. In effect, the new system would be a simpler probate system that…read more

Happy 65th Birthday from the Canadian Government

by: , May 26, 2015

Canadians can rejoice at turning 65 – you are now eligible for the government benefits offered to seniors. In order to spend more time eating cake and less time searching for the benefits that apply to you, provincial and federal benefits are listed in one convenient website. The list briefly summarizes the different benefits available,…read more

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

Gifting Your House to Your Caregiver

by: , March 5, 2015

It is not uncommon for an aging parent to want to give an extra benefit to the child who is looking after her. However, where this means favouring one child over another, litigation is often not far behind. Such was the case of Donis v Georgopoulous. In the well-written reasons of Justice Firestone, the court…read more

Passing of Accounts: Adjusting An Estate Trustee’s Compensation

by: , January 5, 2015

In a recent passing of accounts case, the court reduced the estate trustee’s compensation for the following reasons: – No compensation should be charged on investment losses listed as capital disbursements; – The costs connected to the sale of real property (real estate commission, property taxes, and legal fees) are not to be included when…read more

Can You Give A Cottage Back?

by: , December 3, 2014

It is common to find a provision in a will which allows the estate trustee to distribute assets in specie – meaning instead of selling all the estate assets and dividing the proceeds between the beneficiaries, the estate trustee may transfer the assets directly to the beneficiaries as payment in kind. Giving the estate trustee…read more

Being Removed or Renouncing as Estate Trustee?

by: and , November 4, 2014

Although they sound similar, there are important procedural differences between “removing” an estate trustee and “renouncing” the right to act as an estate trustee. Where the named estate trustee has not yet begun acting in her role as estate trustee (i.e. she has not yet undertaken any work administering the estate), she may “resign” or…read more

Beneficiaries Left Paying for Estate Trustee’s Mortgage

by: and , October 24, 2014

Can an estate trustee’s ability to mortgage an estate property be limited by s. 9 of the Estates Administration Act? This was the question recently addressed by the court in Di Michele v. Di Michele. Section 9 of the Estates Administration Act allows for real property to automatically vest in the beneficiaries of an estate…read more

Passing of Accounts: A Math Problem Explained

by: , August 14, 2014

In a recent blog post entitled “Things Lawyers Know,” I laughed out loud when I read #13:  “Lawyers are word, not number people.  If their fee went up 10%, few lawyers would know how much extra they received.” Math often comes into play in an estates litigation practice, particularly in the context of a contested passing of…read more

Foreign Executors Must Be Careful to Follow the Rules

by: , June 12, 2014

A recent decision of Justice D. M. Brown, Re Estate of Albert Applegath III, provides an overview of the necessary steps a foreign executor must take to have her authority recognized in Ontario. Albert Applegath III died a resident of New Mexico. His will appointed his wife, Clavis, as executor of his estate. After applying…read more