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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.
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Limitation Period And Professionals

Limitation Periods and Professional Advisors: the ‘appropriate’ time to take action

Clients place a considerable amount of trust and confidence in their professional advisors (hereafter referred to simply as “professionals”) in the belief that, with their professional expertise, a particular outcome may be achieved. When the professional’s acts or omissions cause the client to suffer loss, the client is often faced with the following choice: sue the professional and pursue their legal rights through the courts, or allow the professional to take steps to try and remediate the issue.
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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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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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