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Drafting Will

Are lawyers liable to intended beneficiaries?

Imagine a client comes into a lawyer’s office and instructs the lawyer to draft a will. The lawyer makes a mistake and one of the beneficiaries in the previous will who was supposed to inherit some money in the new will got left out. Does that beneficiary have a right to sue the lawyer? Let’s take a look at the law.
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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.
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Torah Law

Is Litigating In The Civil Court System A Rejection Of Torah Law?

By Charles B. Wagner, Gregory M. Sidlofsky and Rachael Kwan For lawyers who represent Orthodox Jews in litigious proceedings it is important to understand their worldview. It is a fundamental belief of Orthodox Judaism that G-d gave the Jewish people the Torah at Mount Sinai and that those holy laws govern every…

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Power Of Attorney

A Power Of Attorney Primer

My friend Moe was appointed an attorney. He took on the role with the attitude – “how hard could it be?” He then asked me where he could find a Power of Attorney for Dummies book. I could not find one. So in honour of my friend Moe I wrote this primer on what to do once you have been named as a power of attorney for property.
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Advising The Orthodox Jewish Litigant

The purpose of this paper is to provide litigation lawyers and other interested parties with insight into the specific needs of Orthodox Jewish clients. It is important in developing a litigation strategy for those clients to understand how some of the tenets of their faith impact on the litigation of disputes and the financial and personal risk that the clients may be placed in as a result.
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Taking The Money

Taking all the money out of the joint account?

What happens when two people have a joint bank account and one of them decides to withdraw all the money? That’s one of the questions that the British Columbia Court of Appeal (“BCCA”) addressed in Zeligs v. Janes]. The case is a good case to read for those who want to better understand the law of joint tenancy, tenancy in common and joint bank accounts. For the purposes of this blog our focus is on just one question – when one joint tenant empties out the account, what are the rights of the other joint tenant? Let’s review the case and then discuss the BCCA’s conclusions on this point.
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Supreme Court Of Canada

Right to Refuse to Refer Patients to Physicians For Assisted Suicide?

Do Canadian doctors have a right to refuse to refer patients to physicians who will assist them to commit suicide?

The unanimous decision in Carter v. Canada (Attorney General), released on February 6, 2015, drastically changed the landscape of Canadian law with respect to physician-assisted death (“PAD”).

The Supreme Court of Canada (“SCC”) set aside those provisions in the Criminal Code that criminalized PAD. The Carter decision specifically does not impose any obligation on doctors to participate in any way in PAD and leaves the balancing of patients’ and doctors’ rights to first be addressed by the legislature and regulating bodies. In its newly introduced legislation, Bill C-14, Prime Minister Trudeau’s Liberal government chose not to address the issue. The College of Physicians and Surgeons (the “College”) wants to impose an obligation on physicians to make referrals to patients seeking PAD.

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Entitlement to Support Despite Prenuptial Agreement

When wealthy people marry, their lawyers often advise them to ensure that their fiancé signs a prenuptial agreement. The goal is to protect the wealthy person’s family in case, the marriage breaks up and/or the wealthy spouse dies. So, if the couple each hire good lawyers and the prenuptial contract clearly spells out their agreement, is that ‘pre-nup’ still open to challenge? Maybe. Let’s look at the law.
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Power Of Attorney

Still Don’t Have a Power of Attorney for Healthcare?

No one likes talking about getting sick or dying. But in today’s world, choosing a Power of Attorney (POA) is a difficult conversation we need to have with our loved ones. A Power of Attorney grants a person of your choosing the power to make important financial and medical decisions on your behalf, should you be unable to. However, studies show that 56% of Canadians have not written their will or powers of attorney. As a result, there are a growing number of families that have had to deal with difficult, stressful situations when a family member becomes ill or incapacitated.
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Attempted Suicide Is Not A Quasi Advanced Directive!

According to a recent news report, certain doctors in Quebec declined to revive patients who attempted suicide. Their rationale? The attempt to kill oneself constituted an advanced directive. I specifically am not commenting on any possible criminal liability, if any, because criminal law is not my expertise. But, as a lawyer who is certified as a specialist in estates and trusts law, I wholly disagree with the characterization of a suicide attempt as constituting an advanced directive. As a person who believes in the sanctity of life I take exception to the conduct of those doctors in Quebec.
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Discrimination Because Of Sexual Orientation

Is it legal to disinherit someone because of his or her sexual orientation?

There are those who would argue that in Ontario, testamentary freedom is paramount. That means that, when making his will, the father had every right to be prejudiced, mean, whimsical or even cruel. After all, the argument goes, it’s the father’s money and he can do whatever he wants with it. Why should the law interfere with a person’s will if the law would permit the father to do what he wanted to do with his money during his lifetime? The father could have donated all of his money to charity before dying, or spent it all at the casino. There are many lawyers and academics who take this view. There are others who disagree.
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