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The Sherman Estate case reaches the Supreme Court

The circumstances surrounding the tragic deaths of Barry and Honey Sherman remain a mystery; so too, do the heirs to their fortunes. This is because the estate trustees of Barry and Honey’s estates successfully applied to have their probate applications sealed, thus preventing the public from viewing their wills. In 2018, a reporter for the Toronto Star, Kevin Donovan, challenged the validity of the sealing order.
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In Terrorem Doctrine

The In Terrorem Doctrine and Litigation of No-Contest Clauses in Wills

There are certain situations in which one already knows that a Will is going to be challenged. It may be on the basis that there is some question about the testator’s capacity or his relationship with a new romantic partner who suddenly appeared or the bequests are unusual. Whatever the case might be, one might find yourself litigating in the face of a no-contest clause that appears within the Will that is having its validity challenged.
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Who Will Live And Who Will Die?

Who will live and who will die

Opposing counsel, Ron Bohm, was extremely effective in his responding submissions.  As I heard his arguments and saw the judge’s apparent receptiveness I feared the case was lost.  At issue was our respective clients’ arguments as to the validity of two different powers of attorney for personal care of a person I will refer to as (“Mr. G”).
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Aritificial Intellegence And Law Research

Can artificial intelligence make legal research more cost-effective without compromising quality?

The way in which legal research is conducted has evolved significantly in the past few decades with the advent of vast online directories such as Westlaw, LexisNexis, and CanLII. However, the process remains time-consuming, costly, and demanding, given the increasing complexity of the law and volume of information that must be gathered and synthesized. To address these challenges, new legal software products have been developed which apply artificial intelligence and machine learning to the process of legal research.
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Is Interim Support available?

Disinherited spouses & minor children (Dependants), with few resources, risk having their legitimate claims for support thwarted because they cannot afford to wait for their money. This video discusses how Ontario law allows Dependents to seek interim support to hold them over until their claims are adjudicated and to provide the wherewithal to prosecute their claims.
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Bad Behaviour

Will a Dependant be Denied Support for Misconduct?

Ontario’s courts and legislature offer an avenue for dependants to challenge how the estate of the deceased is distributed. While a testator generally has the right to dictate what happens to his/her assets upon death, certain relationships create responsibilities that limit this testamentary freedom, and a court might order that the estate pay the dependant support from the estate, over and above what the testator had intended. But what happens if the dependant mistreated the testator or, in the most egregious cases, caused the testator’s death?
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Court Order Capacity Assessment

Court Ordered Capacity Assessments

An individual who is determined to be incapable of managing their affairs may require a guardian to oversee and assist them. The Substitute Decisions Act 1992, (the “SDA”) provides that “An order appointing a guardian of property for a person shall include a finding that the person is incapable of managing property and that, as a result, it is necessary for decisions to be made on his or her behalf by a person who is authorized to do so.” But what happens if that individual refuses to have a capacity assessment to determine if they are in fact incapable?
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Can Technology Help Wills And Estates Practitioners Avoid Mistakes?

Can Technology Help Wills and Estates Practitioners Avoid Mistakes?

As litigators who often prosecute claims against lawyers accused of negligence, we have observed first-hand the types of mistakes that are often made by lawyers. These mistakes generally stem from a failure to stay informed about the relevant law and/or to adopt and follow best practices when carrying out their duties. Increasingly, we anticipate that best practices will include utilisation of technical innovations. In this blog, we explore some of the ways in which such innovations may assist lawyers in avoiding malpractice errors and thereby reduce negligence claims.
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