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Bad Behaviour

Will a Dependant be Denied Support for Misconduct?

Ontario’s courts and legislature offer an avenue for dependants to challenge how the estate of the deceased is distributed. While a testator generally has the right to dictate what happens to his/her assets upon death, certain relationships create responsibilities that limit this testamentary freedom, and a court might order that the estate pay the dependant support from the estate, over and above what the testator had intended. But what happens if the dependant mistreated the testator or, in the most egregious cases, caused the testator’s death?
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Definition Of Child

What is a “child”?

What is a child? In everyday life, this is an innocuous question with a simple answer – you kind of know one when you see one. Whether you’re going to the movies, dining at a buffet, or riding the subway, what most people consider to be a “child” is clear, give or take a couple of years.
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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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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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Elder Abuse

Evidence in dependant’s relief claims –“…by a very thin margin…”

When an elderly person initiates a new relationship it can sometimes plant the seeds of litigation. Perhaps the elderly person needs a caregiver. Or maybe they strike up a friendship with a contemporary for companionship. Perchance, in an effort to reduce expenses, they take on boarders or tenants. But at death, those seeds can bloom into full-fledged litigation. The adult children of the elderly person might be caught off guard when the caregiver/companion or tenant/boarder claims to be a common law spouse. That is exactly what happened in Prelorentzos v. Havaris.1 For those involved in this type of litigation, the case is a worthwhile read on the issue of how the court goes about reviewing and weighing the evidence presented.

  1.   2015 ONSC 2844. This case is available on-line at For another interesting case commentary on this case, see Joanne Hwang’s blog (of Whaley Estate Litigation) at
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