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

Matrimonial Homes and Resulting Trusts

by: , June 30, 2020

When a parent transfers property to a capable adult child without getting anything in return, the law does not assume this is a gift. Instead there is a (rebuttable) presumption that the child holds this property in trust for the parent (called a resulting trust). But what happens when that property is a matrimonial home…read more

Can an Attorney for Personal Care be Compensated?

by: , June 22, 2020

When the issue of compensation is not specifically addressed in the Power of Attorney for Personal Care, a guardian for personal care may be wondering whether they are entitled to compensation. Legislation, however, does not provide a clear answer. While under the Substitute Decisions Act an attorney for property is expressly allowed to take compensation,…read more

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

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

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

Who makes decisions for me if I become incapable and have not made plans?

by: , April 29, 2020

Before COVID-19, many of us had earmarked 2020 as the year we would get our affairs in order, including preparing powers of attorney for personal care and property. Unfortunately we may have not gotten around to it.  The pandemic has accelerated discussions about intubation, CPR and end of life care.  Additionally, many people, especially those…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