Digital Assets Remain a Puzzling Subject in Estates

by: , January 18, 2016

Peggy Bush, a 72-year-old Victoria B.C. resident, lost her husband David to cancer in August. Peggy, who David left his entire estate to, was able to transfer the title of their house and car to her name without issue by using a notarized death certificate and a copy of the will. The only asset Peggy…read more

A Judge’s Three Tips to Improve Scheduling Appointments

by: , November 26, 2015

I had the privilege of hearing the Honourable Justice Thomas McEwen of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice speak at The Advocates’ Society’s Estates Litigation Networking Reception on November 23, 2015. Justice McEwen sits in Toronto and is currently the Civil Team Leader. Justice McEwen noted that the system of 9:30 a.m. scheduling appointments on the…read more

Ontario Court of Appeal Endorses Tougher Approach for Vexatious Litigants

by: , November 11, 2015

Ontario officially added Rule 2.1 to its Rules of Civil Procedure on July 1, 2014. The rule gives the courts a general power to stay or dismiss proceedings if they are “frivolous or vexatious or otherwise an abuse of the process of the court.” The court may do so on its own initiative, although any…read more

Supreme Court Dismisses Expert Witness Appeal

by: , November 9, 2015

As I previously blogged, the Court of Appeal for Ontario held in Westerhof v. Gee Estate, 2015 ONCA 206 that witnesses with special expertise who give opinion evidence not formed for the purposes of litigation do not have to comply with the strict procedural requirements for expert witnesses. The losing party sought leave to appeal…read more

Actions to be Dismissed for Delay on January 1, 2017

by: , August 17, 2015

A doomsday cult believes the world will end on January 1, 2017 (at least according to the British press). If the earth somehow survives, we will need to face the consequences of another event occurring on that date: the dismissal for delay of numerous actions without notice. Rule 48.14 of the Rules of Civil Procedure…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

Mandatory Mediation – A Binding Success

by: , April 29, 2015

In 1999, a pilot program was implemented in Toronto requiring mandatory mediation for all estates, trusts, and substitute decisions matters.  In 2002, mandatory mediation was expanded to Windsor and Ottawa.  The pilot program was considered a success and mandatory mediation has been enshrined in rule 75.1 of the Rules of Civil Procedure (see the Ministry…read more

End of Life Decisions and the Substitute Decision Maker

by: , April 22, 2015

When the end is near, decisions regarding food are up to the substitute decision maker In a recent article for the New York Times, Theresa Brown, a hospice nurse and author, described the story of an Italian grandmother who was caring for her dying husband. Her husband was long past the point of being able…read more

Marriage Contracts and Nursing Care

by: , April 21, 2015

Caring for your aging spouse may be difficult and stressful without a support network. When the “healthy” spouse is too old and fragile to provide care, additional support or alternate accommodations for the ailing spouse must be found. Unfortunately, when one 80-year old wife made it clear to her children and step-children that she was…read more

Warring Trustees: More Isn’t Always Better

by: , April 13, 2015

Two recent court cases look at the perils of choosing multiple estate trustees and attorneys for property.  Often a testator will choose two or more of their children to act as co-estate trustees.   They may feel that it would offend one of their children to not appoint them as an estate trustee or that…read more