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

Can Secret Recordings be Effective Evidence in Litigation?

by: , September 27, 2021

In estate litigation, the practice of making secret or surreptitious recordings is not uncommon. It’s not unusual for tape recorders to be hidden around the home, or for phone calls to be recorded without the consent or knowledge of the other party. This begs three questions: (1) What do judges actually think of this practice?…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

The Cost Consequences of Our Conduct

by: , June 28, 2021

One of the first questions clients often raise at the outset of a retainer is how much the litigation is going to cost them. While many know that going to court is an expense endeavour, the parties’ conduct in a proceeding can have a great impact upon the ultimate costs ordered to be paid. By…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

Involving the PGT in Guardianship and Estate Matters

by: , May 4, 2021

Guardianship and estate disputes often present complex family dynamics touching upon a myriad of issues. Where the interests of an incapable adult are involved in litigation, the office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (the “PGT”) becomes involved. By way of background, the PGT functions in accordance with the Public Guardian and Trustee Act and…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

A Tale of Two Suicide Notes

by: , March 8, 2021

2020 was an unusual year. Not only was there a global pandemic, but by sheer coincidence there was not one, but two estates applications in different provinces to determine whether a suicide note was a valid will. While the suicide note in Ontario was not found to be a valid Will, the one in British…read more