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Can The Execution Of A Will Be Witnessed Over The Phone? – How Far Will The Court Go In Adapting The Formalities Of Execution During Covid-19

Covid-19 has forced all of us and our institutions to adapt in unprecedented ways. The laws governing wills and estates are no exception. This blog explores some of the changes that Ontario has enacted, some temporary and others permanent, to allow for video conferencing during the execution of testamentary documents.
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Dividing Estate When Intestate

Who is in charge here?

McQuoid v. Patterson is a very interesting case that raises a number of different issues.  The late Arthur Marvin Patterson Junior (“Arthur”) died intestate. Had he made a Will, Arthur could have chosen an estate trustee whose responsibility it would be to gather in his assets, pay his liabilities, and distribute Arthur’s assets as provided for on his Will.
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Multiple Wives And Estate Distribution

The Rights of Larry King’s Seven Wives

It was recently announced that Larry King, the famous talk show host known for interviewing movie stars, musicians, authors, and world leaders, has passed away at the age of 87. King’s show “Larry King Live” was CNN’s longest standing program of 25 years, with over one million viewers per episode. King amassed a significant fortune over the course of his illustrious career, and is estimated to have had a net worth of approximately $50 million USD at the time of his passing. In addition, King’s professional career was matched by what some may call an equally eventful personal life. He was married eight times, to seven different women, and had five children. As Larry King said himself “I’m not good at marriage, but I’m a great  boyfriend.” As a result, there has been considerable interest regarding who may stand to inherit King’s sizeable estate.
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Half-kin And Intestate

Ontario Intestacy and the Half-Blood Kin

In the Harry Potter series, Professor Severus Snape appears to be one of Harry's nemeses, while it is later revealed that he was secretly one of Harry's staunchest allies and protectors.  As the story progresses, Harry and his friends also learn that Snape was in fact a "half-blood", born with a Muggle (non-magic) father, while his mother was a witch. In the real world however, the concept of being a "half-blood" very much exists and can still play a significant role in an estate where the deceased dies without making a valid will, resulting in what is called an "intestacy".
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Can someone be held liable for the misdeeds of a co-executor?

There are times when one executor can be held liable for the misdeeds of another. In Cahill v. Cahill the Court dealt with this issue. This educational video highlights whether all estate trustees have a responsibility to fully participate in the administration of the trust and under what circumstances liability flows from delegation and failure to supervise their co-executor.
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Delays in Distribution: What can beneficiaries do?

There are times where an executor unduly delays in both the administration and distribution of the estate. While a simple estate should be distributed within the first year following the death of the testator, some estates are far more complicated and take a great deal longer. When the executor takes too long the beneficiaries have legal options. This educational video highlights the issues faced by the executors, beneficiaries and the lawyers who represent them.
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Undue Influence

Suspicious of Undue Influence

Lawyers are often the first and most important line of defence in ensuring that a client is able to express their testamentary wishes freely in an estate plan and Will. Moreover, a lawyer who does not take reasonable steps to protect his or her client against undue influence may become personally liable (and subject to professional discipline).
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Majority Rules

Majority-Rules & Exculpation Clauses

Majority-Rules Clauses are designed to avoid deadlock in executors’ decision making. Exculpation Clauses seek to protect executors from liability. The purpose of this paper is to examine how these two clauses sometimes, independently or in combination, produce unexpected negative consequences leading to litigation.
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The Public Guardian and Trustee and Charities

The Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee (the “PGT”) has wide jurisdiction over protecting the interests of charities and charitable property. That jurisdiction includes restating charitable purpose trusts through court order without appearing before a judge, and conducting investigations into the misallocation of charitable property. This article discusses these powers of the PGT, and provides best practice tips to those engaging with the PGT in these situations.
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