What Happens to My Pet When I Die?

by: , December 14, 2020

For many, the greatest loves of their lives are their furry (or scaly) friends. As a result, there is often a strong desire to make sure they are properly cared for after the testator’s death. How to accomplish this is not always straightforward. In Ontario, animals are considered personal property. This means that you can…read more

Ten Things to Remember When Selecting Your Estate Trustee

by: , November 26, 2020

Much has been written about the importance of making a Will to ensure your estate is administered in accordance with your wishes, and benefits those whom you wish to inherit your property. However, your choice of executor, or estate trustee, as the role is now called in Ontario, is just as critical. Your estate trustee…read more

The Sherman Murders At the Supreme Court: Balancing Privacy with Openness

by: , November 10, 2020

Almost three years ago today, billionaire couple Barry and Honey Sherman were found murdered in their North York mansion. Their murderer(s) remain at large. In an unusual move, their probate files were sealed to protect the safety, privacy and dignity of the trustees and beneficiaries of their estates. This decision was appealed and now the…read more

The Father of My Children: Court-Ordered Paternity Testing

by: , November 2, 2020

This blog was written by Tyler Lin, student-at-law In the Quebec case of Adoption – 091, Dubois J. made reference to the Latin maxim: “Mater semper certa est, pater incertus,” which means: the mother is always certain, but the father, uncertain. This phrase sums up the historical treatment of paternity before the relatively recent advent…read more

‘Leave Them A Buck And They Can’t Challenge Your Will’ – Nope, Not That Simple

by: , October 5, 2020

A common myth about estate planning is that if you leave a nominal amount (say $1.00) to someone it prevents them from challenging your will. Like most urban legends, there is a grain of truth here – but it’s still a myth. This grain of truth is that one of the grounds to challenge a…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

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

Supreme Court Blesses Henson Trusts

by: , February 13, 2019

The Supreme Court of Canada has given its blessing to Henson Trusts (fully discretionary trusts set up to not impact the beneficiary’s social assistance benefits) in S.A. v. Metro Vancouver Housing Corp., 2019 SCC 4. I previously blogged about this case when it was before the Court of Appeal. The Metro Vancouver Housing Corporation (the…read more

Milne Estate (Re)visited

by: and , November 20, 2018

The decision of Milne Estate (Re) (“Milne”) caused a stir among the members of the estates bar and solicitors who draft wills, going so far as to illicit an alert from LawPRO. While the Milne decision (which is under appeal) has garnered a great deal of attention and commentary from lawyers (including Justin de Vries’…read more