In estate litigation this scenario comes up quite often. One family member stays in mom and dad’s house after their death and appears to be freeloading at the expense of the others. This can happen in estate litigation when a deceased person fails to adequately document their intentions with respect to the ongoing occupation of their home after their passing.
In Ontario, the current state of the law is such that a testator is free to exclude an adult, independent child from their will on the basis of their sexual orientation. The discriminatory intent may even be written into the will. For example, the following provision “I am excluding my only son from my will because he is homosexual” is, according to the principles set out by the Court of Appeal for Ontario in the 2016 Spence v. BMO Trust Company decision, presently considered to be an acceptable exercise of a testator’s testamentary autonomy.
While initiatives by lawmakers are being pursued to harmonize laws addressing the enforceability of capacity-related documents worldwide, this has not yet been finalized. Therefore, when issues regarding the enforceability of POAs arise, consultation with a litigation lawyer about what your options might be – potentially in coordination with a litigation lawyer in another jurisdiction – is recommended.
How do dependants rank in terms of priority over others with a claim or interest in an estate’s assets? Let’s get a running start with a quick review of the law. During their lifetime people often borrow money. Sometimes the loan is to buy a house or car, or even to invest in a business. When a person dies, one of the jobs of the executor is to pay off all the debts before dividing the estate amongst the beneficiaries. But, what about those people who relied on the deceased for support? Who gets paid first - the creditors or the dependants?
In this case, the children were fortunate that the judge found that the father’s residence was really held in trust for the children so it did not form part of the estate. Muna did not get much money. This time the children were lucky. Unfortunately, that is not always the case.
The author reviews Ontario’s laws of inheritance in the context of second marriages. He addresses the risk to implementing a person's testamentary intentions. For example, in Ontario, under certain circumstances a new marriage revokes previous wills, the failure to provide full and frank disclosure may invalidate a domestic contract and a court may still order a deceased’s estate to pay support to a dependant regardless of any agreement made to the contrary.
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
The fifth episode of the new Global TV series “Family Law” deals with family members who go to court to fight about who should be the attorney for personal care of Helen, the family matriarch. Helen suffers from Alzherimers. She resides in an assisted living facility and has struck up a sexual relationship with another resident. Helen’s husband, Ira, is fighting to stop the romantic relationship, for obvious reasons. Helen’s daughter wants her mother to be happy and therefore thinks she should be entitled to continue with her affair.
When Scholastic’s CEO Richardson Robinson Jr. died in June, he apparently shocked his family by giving control of the $1.2 billion company and his personal possessions to Scholastic’s Chief Strategy Officer, with whom he’d had a long-term relationship, rather than to his siblings, children, or ex-wife.
In Walker v. Farsijani (“Walker”), Peter Walker sought to recover $96,000 he claimed to have transferred to Maryam Farsijan (with whom he was in an intimate relationship at the time). Maryam refused to return the funds claiming that she had received the money as a gift. Peter said it was a loan.
Individuals who act as a trustee or an attorney for property are statutorily entitled to compensation for the time and effort they have expended in their respective roles. Notwithstanding the entitlement to compensation, courts will not reward individuals who fall below their common law or statutory obligations. The question then, is what actions or omissions must an individual do in order to disentitle themselves from their statutory entitlements to compensation.
Harry, 85, wants to marry 75-year-old Esther, but he does not want to lose his widower's pension. They agree not to obtain a marriage license or register the marriage, but instead to have only a ritual ceremony in a rabbi's office. Harry dies and his will leaves his assets to his children. Does only a religious marriage ceremony give Esther any rights to Harry's estate?