Action? Application? What’s the Difference?

by: , August 18, 2020

Litigation comes with its own jargon which is not easy to decipher. In Ontario a lawsuit/court proceeding is categorized as either an action or an application. What’s the difference? The terms are defined in the Rules of Civil Procedure, but these definitions are not terribly useful at first blush; an action is defined as “a…read more

I do not like the estate trustee/executor – can I get rid of them?

by: , August 10, 2020

Can you apply for the removal of the estate trustee? Section 37(3) of the Trustee Act provides the court with legislative authority to grant an order removing an estate trustee upon the application of: -any executor or administrator desiring to be relieved from the duties of the office, or -any executor or administrator complaining of…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

The Revival of Unconscionable Procurement

by: , April 8, 2020

The administrations of some estates simply do not move forward smoothly. The Elias Gefen estate is one such estate. In Gefen v. Gaertner, 2019 ONSC 6015, Justice Kimmel addressed multiple issues which had stopped the administration from moving forward, ranging from mutual wills to secret trust agreements. Justice Kimmel also applied, for the first time…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

A Most Peculiar Charity

by: , December 31, 2015

The United Kingdom’s top 25 charities by investments include charities for the promotion of health, education and religion. Number 23 on the list stands out for its rather unusual purpose. The National Fund is dedicated to paying off the UK’s national debt. But there’s a catch: the assets of the National Fund can only be…read more

“On Title” Versus “Entitled”: The Doctrine of Resulting Trust

by: , June 3, 2015

A common estate planning technique to avoid probate tax is for a parent to transfer his or her house into joint tenancy with one of his or her children. That way, when the parent dies, the property passes by way of survivorship from the parent to the child without the need to go through probate…read more

Constructive Trusts and Tracing Funds

by: , September 8, 2014

The recent Ontario Superior Court case of Moody v Hirsh explores the issue of when a plaintiff is able to trace the money he or she paid to a defendant into the defendant’s own property. The decision demonstrates that the circumstances in which a court will make an order imposing a constructive trust over the defendant’s property…read more

Trust Created in Holograph Will Fails

by: , July 17, 2014

A recent Court of Appeal decision from Alberta dealt with the interpretation of a holograph will.  The Court of Appeal upheld a lower court’s decision that the testator intended to create a trust but the trust failed since the objects of the trust were uncertain resulting in an intestacy.  The case serves as a good reminder that…read more