40oz. to Testamentary Freedom

by: , July 13, 2018

Is the fact that one is a chronic alcoholic enough to deprive them of their testamentary freedom? In Dujardin v. Dujardin, 2018 ONCA 597, the Court of Appeal for Ontario explored this issue when it was tasked with determining the validity of two wills that were executed by a known drunkard. Background Jacques Henry Dujardin…read more

A Touch of Modernity

by: , May 11, 2018

In its costs decision for Campbell v. Evert (previously blogged about here), the Ontario Superior Court of Justice further distilled the rationale and policy reasons informing the “modern approach” to fixing costs in estate litigation. Background As frequent readers of this blog may recall, Dr. Ewert (the “Deceased”) passed away in 2011. She left behind…read more

I Hate to be a Suspicious Aloysius on You – but Did the Deceased Have Testamentary Capacity?

by: , January 26, 2018

A recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision (Stekar v. Wilcox[1]) reinforces what is required to prove well-established grounds for challenging a will: suspicious circumstance and testamentary capacity. Background Jerald P. McNamara (the “Deceased”) died on June 18, 2012. His friend of over 40 years, Thomas, stood to inherit his entire estate under the terms of…read more

When is a Handwritten Will Valid?

by: , December 17, 2015

Linda was cleaning up her deceased sister-in-law Cynthia’s new apartment when she discovered a document inside a Sobeys bag. It was in the deceased’s handwriting and discussed distributing her property upon her death. It named Linda as executrix. As Linda continued to clean Cynthia’s residence she found another such handwritten document (this time, tucked away on…read more

Ontario Has Jurisdiction Over Invalid Italian Will

by: , March 11, 2015

Antonina’s father died during his vacation to Italy. She and her two siblings then received a purported handwritten will made just before his death which named their cousin Anna as a beneficiary. In Re Estate of Domenico Grillo, 2015 ONSC 1352, Justice Newbould found Ontario had jurisdiction over Antonina’s application to set aside this holograph…read more

Divisional Court Guidance on “Proper Support”

by: , February 26, 2015

Bonnie and Danny had a 12 year common law relationship. In a modern twist on the typical fact scenario, Bonnie was the older, successful business woman and Danny was the younger man who left his job at Bonnie’s car dealership to look after things at home. At trial, Justice Greer found that they were very…read more

Will Challenges by Estate Trustees – A Hard Sell

by: , January 13, 2015

If you take steps to administer an estate pursuant to a will or to otherwise behave as if a will is valid, you may lose the right to later challenge that will. In Neuberger v. York, a decision of Justice Greer released in November 2014, she considered a motion to dismiss a will challenge that…read more

Summary Judgment and Trotter Estate

by: , January 6, 2015

As expected, the Supreme Court of Canada’s major decision in Hyrniak v. Mauldin has led to an increased use of the summary judgement motion in Ontario. On a motion for summary judgement, a court disposes of a case without the need for a costly and time consuming hearing or trial. However, some recent court decisions…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

Alcoholism Alone Not Enough to Negate Testamentary Capacity

by: , November 17, 2014

In daBalinhard, the Saskatchewan Court found that a history of alcoholism, short term memory loss and unusual behavior was not enough to sustain a will challenge. After a forty-year marriage, the testator, John, and his wife, Shirley, separated on August 16, 2011.  Two months after their separation, John executed a new will on October 20,…read more