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Bully Lawyer

How to deal with lawyers who are bullies

We only litigate. In our collective experience, the lawyers at our firm have witnessed a great deal of conduct by lawyers toward other lawyers that falls far short of what the Rules of Professional Conduct require. We have also witnessed individuals representing themselves who appear to feel licensed to insult and verbally abuse opposing counsel and even the court.
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Why We Created the Estates and Trusts Group at B’nai Brith

Some 17 years ago I approached Frank Dimant, the then CEO of B’nai Brith with an idea. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could be part of the continuing legal education process for accountants and lawyers servicing our community? At that point in time there were few programs around that brought in first-tier professionals at a kosher venue that address both issues of interest from both a Jewish and secular law prospective.
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How Disgruntled Beneficiaries Might attack an Estate Freeze

There is an interesting piece in this week’s CJN. It is about the CLE B’Nai Brith Seminar on May 30, 2018, and features prominent accountants and lawyers who are presenters at this seminar. They are Clare Burns, Craig Vander Zee, Jonathan Hames, Jordan Atin, Melanie Yach, Nikolay Chserbinin and our own Brendan Donovan.
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Undue Influence

Confusion about the test for Undue Influence

In this case the daughters of the deceased challenged their father’s will. He left the bulk of his estate to his common law wife. The daughters alleged that the common law wife exerted undue influence on their father and that coercion was the reason he changed his will.
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Limitation Period

POA Compensation and Limitation Periods

One might expect that an attorney for property would have to pursue unpaid compensation that s/he may be entitled to within 2 years or the incapable person or his estate would a limitation period defence against the claim. Let’s see what the Court of Appeal for Ontario had to say on this issue in Armitage v. Salvation Army.
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Hunt v. Worrod: Capacity to Marry – Has the test changed?

Arguably, Justice Koke’s decision to set aside the marriage of Kevin Hunt to Kathleen Anne Worrod has changed the test for determining the requisite capacity to marry. Before analyzing the case, let’s take a moment to review the law prior to the Ontario Superior Court decision in Hunt v. Worrod
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Notice Of Objection

What is the minimal evidentiary threshold in Will Challenges?

The current system allows anyone who appears to have a financial interest in an estate to challenge a will for minimal costs by giving notice of their objection. All that is required is the filing of a one page document called a “notice of objection”. This is often a boiler plate document alleging that the will-maker did not have capacity, did not know or approve of the contents of a will or was unduly influenced. At this stage, no evidence has to be provided and the application for probate will be temporarily derailed.
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Court Costs

Liability for Legal Fees in Estate Matters

It is said that there are two certainties in life: death and taxes. For those involved in litigation, there is a third: legal fees. Who should bear the often-exorbitant cost of these fees at the conclusion of litigation? Although legal costs have traditionally been paid out of the Estate, modern Ontario courts follow the “loser pays” rule in estates matters. A recent ruling from the Court of Appeal for Ontario[1. Welton Estate v. Haugrud, 2017 ONCA 831] demonstrates that the court has flexibility even when operating within this rule. Specifically, the court can apportion costs between the litigants in a way that respects the importance of giving effect to valid wills while also discouraging parties from taking unreasonable positions.
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Revoke Will

Lost Wills and the Presumption of Revocation

In Ontario a person is entitled to change his/her mind and revoke his/her will. There are a number of ways to revoke a Will. One such way is for the testator to burn, tear up or otherwise destroy it or by having some other person do so in his or her presence and by his or her direction with the intention of revoking the Will. But, sometimes there is no witness or proof that any such destruction took place. That begs the question - what happens if after the testator dies no one can find the Will and no one has knowledge that it was destroyed?
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Mediation and the Deemed Disposition

Experienced lawyers prepare for mediation by exploring how estate assets can be divided on a tax efficient basis. Why? Because as a general rule, the bigger the net amount of the estate the better chance at achieving a settlement as there is more money to divide between the litigants. Woe unto the lawyer who advises a client to accept a settlement without advising the net amount to be received after deduction of tax. That is why people who specialize in tax are often consulted prior to mediation.
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