Legal Papers

Hotchpot Clauses: What Happens to Debts on Death?

by: and , October 25, 2021

In this paper co-authored by Justin de Vries and Tyler Lin, the authors deal with the “hotchpot clause”, a common estate planning tool. Part I of this paper addresses what is, and is not meant by this term with multiple meanings. Part II of this paper examines the three reasons for why, in the current…read more

Moore v Sweet: Unjust Enrichment and Constructive Trusts

The Supreme Court of Canada’s recent decision in Moore v. Sweet provides meaningful clarification on the Canadian law of unjust enrichment and the equitable concept of constructive trusts.

Is the Right to Privacy Lost on Incapacity?

by: , February 6, 2015

Everyone has a fundamental right to privacy. However, once a person becomes incapable of managing their own finances or health care decisions, their lives are inevitably made public to the person(s) stepping in to fill the role of decision-maker. Even for those not appointed a substitute decision-maker, it is common for family members and other…read more

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

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

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

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

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