Legal Papers

Order for Directions and Pleadings: Laying the Groundwork for Successful Will and POA Challenges

by: , June 3, 2013

Will and Power of Attorney (“POA”) challenges are becoming more common. Whether it is the result of the much-vaunted and long-heralded wealth transfer between generations, the aging of society, or an American inspired litigious approach to sorting out life’s inevitable disputes, these court challenges will likely only increase in quantity and complexity. Laying the groundwork…read more

Handwriting Experts and Trustee Indemnification

by: , May 13, 2013

Fraud is not restricted to the living.  Occasionally, a fraudulent testamentary document makes an appearance and the question of validity becomes paramount.  In that context, the issue of whether to retain a “handwriting expert” is raised. Read the full paper here: Handwriting Experts and Trustee Indemnification by Justin de Vries

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

Managing The Self-Represented Litigant: A Lawyer’s Tool Kit

by: , April 24, 2012

It is now generally accepted that unrepresented or self-represented litigants are becoming more and more common in the court system. It is widely agreed that unrepresented or self-represented litigants present unique challenges and difficulties – ones that can often be frustrating, time consuming and expensive. I have opted to take a somewhat unorthodox approach in…read more

Contested Passing Of Accounts – Tips, Traps and Pitfalls

by: , February 16, 2012

Most people feel honoured and/or touched when they learn for the first time (they are rarely asked beforehand) that they are named as an executor or a trustee. However, the honeymoon quickly wears thin when it becomes apparent to the newly appointed executor or trustee how much work is often required. The prospects darken further…read more

Making Sense of Cost Awards in Estate and Guardianship Litigation: A Witch’s Brew?

by: , November 18, 2011

As noted by one jurist[1], to the extent that it was not clear prior, the Ontario Court of Appeal made it abundantly clear in McDougald Estate v. Gooderham[2] that the modern approach to fixing costs in estate litigation is to carefully scrutinize the litigation and, unless the court finds that some public policy consideration applies,…read more

Common Privilege Issues Faced by Estates Practitioners

by: and , April 27, 2011

Common Privilege Issues Faced by Estates Practitioners by Justin de Vries and Angela Casey

Brave New World: The Cost of Proportionality in Will Challenges and Guardianship Disputes

by: and , April 14, 2010

Recent amendments to Ontario’s Rules of Civil Procedure (“Rules”) have introduced sweeping changes meant to make the civil justice system more affordable and accessible. The changes are the most significant in a generation; litigation in Ontario will not be the same. Among the changes is the addition of the proportionality rule as an overarching principle…read more

Filing Estate Tax Returns

Under the Income Tax Act, it is the responsibility of the legal representative (such as an estate trustee, or the administrator of the estate if probate is not required) to file all required returns for the deceased on a timely basis, pay all tax owing, and advise the beneficiaries whether the amount they receive from…read more