skip to Main Content
2021-2022

Second marriages and protecting your children

Joseph was 60 years old when he lost his wife to cancer. Online he met an Israeli named Rebecca, a 40-year-old widow. They emailed each other, grew to care for one another and decided to marry. Rebecca and her children moved into Joseph's home. The adult children from Joseph's first marriage feared that Rebecca and her children were going to take away their inheritance. Joseph assured his children that Rebecca signed an agreement under which she gave up all her claims under the Family Law Act and could not claim support against his estate when Joseph died. Joseph assured them they he left his children all of his money. Should the children have relaxed? Maybe – Maybe not.
Read More
Toronto Island

What is a “child” Part II – Clash of the Toronto Islanders

To most Torontonians, the Toronto Islands (the “Islands”) are known as a calm refuge away from the city,  featuring beaches and picnic areas with picturesque views of the city skyline a short ferry ride from the downtown core. Some may also be aware that the Islands are home to a small, tight knit community of artists, intellectuals, and others drawn to the attractions of island living. It therefore may come as a surprise to many that the Islands were recently the site of a divisive property dispute that escalated to litigation between a resident and the trust that governs property ownership on the Islands.
Read More
Creditors Versus Beneficiaries

Who Gets Priority? Beneficiaries vs. Creditors of an Estate

Significant debts owing by a deceased will often impact the gifts that were bequeathed to the estate’s beneficiaries. Sometimes, creditors’ priority over the estate’s assets means that beneficiaries only receive a fraction of what the deceased bequeathed to them. Other times, if the estate is insolvent or bankrupt, beneficiaries will receive nothing. It is important that beneficiaries and estate planners are aware of what priority creditors have over the estate’s assets, and how each testamentary gift is impacted.
Read More
Intestacy Rules

Rights of spouses and children during an intestacy

What rights does the family have when the deceased has no will? Ontario law has evolved both in terms of the common law and the legislation to provide a structure for the inheritance rights of legally married spouses, children and common law spouses. There is some overlap in those rights and some big differences.
Read More
Golddigger Spouse

The Predatory Marriage Phenomenon

Allegations that younger women sometimes marry older men for their money are nothing new. But with people living longer and the transfer of one trillion dollars from one generation to the next, it appears as if the concern about financial predators is more commonplace. In part, it’s because the Baby Boomer generation has considerable wealth, and while medical science has increased the average lifespan it has not made comparable progress in reducing the cognitive impairment associated with the aging process. More wealthy elderly people with heightened vulnerability are easier prey for the financial predator.
Read More
Prove It

Does Expert Evidence Impact the Onus of Proving a Will’s Validity?

Persons seeking to prove the validity of a will (i.e. the “propounders”) bear the onus of proving that the will was formally executed. The formal requirements are set out in section 4(2) of Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act, which states that, for a will to be valid, the testator must make or acknowledge his signature on the will in the presence of two or more attesting witnesses present at the same time, and two or more attesting witnesses must subscribe the will in the presence of the testator.
Read More
Interim Court Costs

The Sighting of a Rare Beast: Interim Costs

Costs are the bane of the losing litigant and a constant concern for litigation counsel. Under our “loser pays” principle the threat of paying a winning opponent’s legal costs in addition to one’s own is a bitter pill to swallow; more so as predicting a costs award is notoriously difficult given the inherently discretionary nature of the court’s jurisdiction to award costs.
Read More
Accountant ETDL

Estate Trustee During Litigation: A Primer for Accountants and Lawyers

Trust companies and banks are often appointed by the courts to act as an Estate Trustee During Litigation (“ETDL”). They are sometimes considered the “best choice” because of their experience, resources, objectivity and integrity. However, in recent years many accountants and solicitors have taken on ETDL appointments. Given that they do not have the experience of the banks, this blog post seeks to provide practical advice and consideration for those who are contemplating taking on the role of an ETDL.
Read More
Disaster Planning For Estate Law

Common disaster planning and the Estates of Barry and Honey Sherman

While the Shermans’ estate planning remains largely a mystery at this point, the unknown circumstances of their deaths give rise to a further legal issue which may or may not be consequential depending on the manner in which their will(s) were drafted. Where two or more people die at the same time or in circumstances where it is uncertain which of them survived the other, there are certain complications that may arise in the administration of their estates. This issue is discussed in more detail in this blog.
Read More
Back To Top