Legal Papers

What to do on the Death of a Business Owner

by: and , May 12, 2014

An executor faces unique challenges in administering an estate where the deceased owned a business before death.  The executor should keep the following steps should be kept in mind: • Find the will • Determine the estate assets and liabilities. Understand where the estate ends and the business begins • Determine the scope of the…read more

Production of Estate Documents in Contested Beneficiary Litigation

by: and , May 1, 2014

When an estate is involved in litigation against its beneficiaries, the production of estate documents is often a highly emotional subject, not to mention legally complex.  The complexity is due to the convergence of multiple forms of disclosure obligations and privileges, some of which are unique to estates litigation.  These include: –  A trustee’s obligation…read more

Duty and Standard of Care of Solicitors Practicing in Estates

by: and , February 19, 2014

A solicitor owes a duty of care to his or her client.  This duty arises in contract (under the terms of the retainer agreement) and as a professional duty imposed on all lawyers to act with skill and competence when serving their client. The appropriate standard of varies with the circumstances and type of legal…read more

Passing the Trustee’s Accounts When There Are Business Assets

by: and , January 23, 2014

At the beneficiaries’ insistence, or at his own initiation, a trustee may apply to court to pass his accounts. Once in court passing format, the accounts will list the deceased’s assets as of date of death, and trace any subsequent disposition of those assets. However, where the estate assets include one or more businesses, the…read more

Unusual Will Clauses & Oddball Estate Cases

by: and , November 11, 2013

As the estates bar knows all too well, a last will and testament can be the final chance for a person to communicate his or her thoughts, wishes and desires to the world.  It is no surprise then that a will often reflects the idiosyncrasies of its author, whether in form or in content. Some…read more

Trustee Indemnification – Recent Developments

by: and , April 24, 2013

It is a fundamental principle that every trustee has the right to be indemnified out of the trust property for all expenses properly incurred in the administration of the trust. The trust instrument itself does not have to guarantee that the trustee will be indemnified; the trustee’s right to be reimbursed for expenses is a…read more

The Herculean Task Of Proving Undue Influence

by: and , November 14, 2012

Undue influence is a well-established and popular ground for challenging a will. However, proving undue influence is notoriously difficult. Although best described as murky, many clients often believe the existence of undue influence is obvious in their situation: their evil stepmother pressured their vulnerable father, their conniving cousin insinuated himself into the heart of their…read more