What I’m Reading: Interesting Estate Litigation Articles for August 2021

The following is a roundup of noteworthy articles published this month on estate litigation and related issues:

  1. Sanaya Mistry at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) writes about a recent Ontario decision involving guardianship of an elderly person and validity of powers of attorney in a pair of posts, one of which has a useful discussion on the admissibility of audio recordings: https://hullandhull.com/2021/08/are-audio-recordings-admissible/ and https://hullandhull.com/2021/08/considerations-for-determining-the-validity-of-powers-of-attorney-and-appointing-guardians-for-property-and-personal-care/
  2. James Steele at Robertson Stromberg (Saskatchewan) notes that every irregularity in a will does not amount to lack of capacity or undue influence of the will-maker, in the context of a recent Saskatchewan decision: https://skestatelaw.ca/2021/08/25/saskatchewan-estate-litigation-update-fraser-v-mountstephen-2021-skqb-192/
  3. Stephen Mulrain at Miller Thomson discusses what happens when there is a dispute over how to handle a deceased’s remains: https://www.millerthomson.com/en/blog/mt-estate-litigation-blog/thoughts-on-final-resting-places/
  4. Arielle Di Iulio (also at Hull & Hull LLP, Toronto) discusses an interesting Federal Court decision, in which a claimant sought to claim the CPP survivor’s pension on two separate occasions, and argued that the inability to due so would infringe upon her charter rights: https://hullandhull.com/2021/08/survivors-pension-rights-of-the-twice-widowed-woman/

Happy reading!

What I’m Reading: Interesting Estate Litigation Articles for July 2021

The following is a roundup of noteworthy articles published this month on estate litigation and related issues:

  1. Suzana Popovic-Montag at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) discusses the considerations for a beneficiary if they are asked to sign a release before they receive a distribution from the estate: https://hullandhull.com/2021/07/if-you-have-valid-concerns-dont-sign-a-beneficiary-release/
  2. Janis Ko at Onyx Law discusses an important case in which the B.C. Courts recognized a third legal parent in polyamorous relationships: https://onyxlaw.ca/bc-court-recognizes-third-legal-parent-in-polyamorous-relationship/
  3. James Jacuta at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) writes about the British Columbia Unclaimed Property Society, which returns unclaimed funds to individuals in B.C.: https://hullandhull.com/2021/07/thousands-have-unclaimed-funds-waiting-for-them/
  4. Trevor Todd at Disinherited.com discusses the test for a beneficiary to obtain standing to bring a claim on behalf of an estate, in the context of a reason B.C. Supreme Court decision: https://disinherited.com/uncategorized/s-151-wesa-leave-to-bring-action-on-behalf-of-estate/

Happy reading!

What I’m Reading: Interesting Estate Litigation Articles for June 2021

The following is a roundup of noteworthy articles published this month on estate litigation and related issues:

  1. Stan Rule at Sabey Rule comments on a case from the Nova Scotia Court of Appeal which held that allowing independent adult children to apply to vary their parents’ wills (which you can do in British Columbia) does not offend the s. 7 of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (overturning the lower court’s decision): http://rulelaw.blogspot.com/2021/06/nova-scotia-court-of-appeal-allows.html
  2. Suzana Popovic-Montag at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) identifies the dangers of using an online will kit to write your will: https://hullandhull.com/2021/06/the-simplicity-of-online-will-kits-is-their-biggest-shortcoming/
  3. Janis Ko at Onyx Law discusses when the court may order an interim distribution to a beneficiary from an estate where there is an ongoing wills variation proceeding: https://onyxlaw.ca/can-beneficiaries-receive-interim-distribution-pending-wills-variation-claim/
  4. Kimberley A. Whaley at WEL Partners (Toronto) posts a link to a paper that she co-authored on the role of the medical expert in estate litigation, with a focus on claims of undue influence. A link to the blog post can be found here: https://welpartners.com/blog/2021/06/published-paper-susceptibility-to-undue-influence-the-role-of-the-medical-expert-in-estate-litigation/ The paper can be found here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/10.1177/07067437211020616
  5. Joanna Lindenberg at de Vries Litigation LLP (Ontario) considers an Ontario case where beneficiaries acted unreasonably by raising over 300 objections to a trustee’s accounts, and as a result the trustee was awarded $325,000 in costs: https://devrieslitigation.com/cost-consequences-of-conduct/

Happy reading!

What I’m Reading: Interesting Estate Litigation Articles for May 2021

The following is a roundup of noteworthy articles published this month on estate litigation and related issues:

  1. Sydney Osmar at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) discusses a recent Ontario case estate which applied the public policy doctrine that a person who has committed murder cannot benefit from his or her crime (including from the estate of the person they have murdered): https://hullandhull.com/2021/05/the-criminal-forfeiture-rule-and-the-doctrine-of-acceleration/.  Stan Rule at Sabey Rule LLP (Kelowna) also commented upon this case: http://rulelaw.blogspot.com/2021/05/the-bank-of-nova-scotia-trust-company-v.html
  2. Debra Curcio Lister and Jordon Magico at Miller Thomson discuss the importance of obtaining competent legal advice, with reference to recent decisions of the courts in Alberta: https://www.millerthomson.com/en/blog/mt-estate-litigation-blog/why-competent-legal-advice-is-fundamental/
  3. Lauren Liang and Polly Storey at Clark Wilson discuss rectification of a will when it does not appear to accomplish the intentions of the deceased’s person: https://www.cwilson.com/rectifying-wills-under-s-59-jamt-estate/
  4. Kira Domratchev at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) writes about the doctrine of righteousness, the circumstances in which a concern arises where a person who is instrumental in drafting a will also is to receive a benefit under that will: https://hullandhull.com/2021/05/the-doctrine-of-righteousness-and-its-place-in-estate-litigation/
  5. Janis Ko at Onyx Law wrote about entitlement to costs in contested committeeship proceedings under the Patients Property Act, in the context of a recent decision of the B.C. Supreme Court: https://onyxlaw.ca/punitive-special-costs-in-bc-committeeship-proceedings/

Happy reading!

What I’m Reading: Interesting Estate Litigation Articles for April 2021

The following is a roundup of noteworthy articles published this month on estate litigation and related issues:

  1. Trevor Todd at Disinherited.com discussed a recent case in which the B.C. Supreme Court varied a will to make provision for two twins who were abandoned by their father and were explicitly disinherited in his will.  The twins were awarded 70% of the residue of the estate (which was valued at approximately $880,000):  https://disinherited.com/wills-variation/wills-variation-abandoned-twins-awarded-70-estate/
  2. Janis Ko at Onyx Law wrote about elder abuse and financial predators, with reference to a recent B.C. Supreme Court decision on these issues: https://onyxlaw.ca/family-of-bc-senior-with-dementia-sues-alleged-financial-predator/
  3. James Steele at Robertson Stromberg in Saskatchewan discussed an article and case comment on the issue of liability of an executor for failing to supervise their co-executor: https://skestatelaw.ca/2021/04/07/can-someone-be-held-liable-for-the-misdeeds-of-a-co-executor/
  4. Gillian Fournie at de Vries Litigation LLP (Ontario) discussed the issue of occupational rent – whether an estate can charge rent to the occupant of an estate asset until it is sold or otherwise distributed: https://devrieslitigation.com/occupation-rent/
  5. Ian Hull at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) wrote about potential liabilities that you may assume when you agree to be an executor or trustee:  https://hullandhull.com/2021/04/an-estate-trustee-executor-role-comes-with-some-liability/

Happy Reading!

What I’m Reading: Interesting Estate Litigation Articles for March 2021

The following is a roundup of noteworthy articles published this month on estate litigation and related issues:

  1. WEL Partners (Toronto) provided a checklist of red flags and indicators of undue influence.  While the checklist is intended primarily for lawyers watching out for clients who may be unduly influenced, it is also of assistance generally when there may be a concern of undue influence:  https://welpartners.com/blog/2021/03/solicitors-negligence-in-estates-and-trusts-context-no-14-a-lawyers-checklist-red-flags-and-indicators-of-undue-influence/
  2. Arielle Di Iulio at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) commented on a recent Ontario court decision in which an award of costs was made against estate trustees as a result of unreasonable conduct: https://hullandhull.com/2021/03/dewaele-v-roobroeck-the-costs-of-bad-conduct/
  3. Trevor Todd at Disinherited.com listed the ten considerations when assessing the strength of an adult independent child’s wills variation claim:  https://disinherited.com/wills-variation/wills-variaiton-the-ten-considerations/
  4. Janis Ko at Onyx Law wrote about a recent case which held that it was too late for a mother to change her mind and undo the gifting of her house to her daughter: https://onyxlaw.ca/too-late-for-mother-to-change-her-mind-after-gifting-house-to-daughter/
  5. Tyler Lin at de Vries Litigation LLP (Ontario) commented on two court decisions (one from Ontario, and one from British Columbia), which considered whether a suicide note constituted a valid will:  https://devrieslitigation.com/tale-two-suicide-notes/

Happy Reading!

What I’m Reading: Interesting Estate Litigation Articles for February 2021

The following is a roundup of noteworthy articles published this month on estate litigation and related issues:

  1. Stan Rule at Sabey Rule discusses the use of multiple wills in British Columbia to minimize probate fees, and identifies potential pitfalls to avoid:  http://rulelaw.blogspot.com/2021/02/using-two-wills-to-minimize-british.html
  2. Janis Ko at Onyx Law posted two articles on the use of mutual wills in British Columbia:  https://onyxlaw.ca/mutual-wills-clear-evidence-needed-for-binding-agreement-not-to-revoke-a-will/ and https://onyxlaw.ca/mutual-wills-clear-evidence-needed-for-binding-agreement-not-to-revoke-a-will-2/
  3. Garrett Horracks at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) writes about the “prudent investor rule” which applies to trustees managing trust assets, in the context of the recent GameStop share fluctuation.  Part 2 can be found here:  https://hullandhull.com/2021/02/the-gamestop-saga-part-ii-prudent-investing/
  4. James Steele at Robertson Stromberg in Saskatchewan discusses a recent decision of the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench, in which the court refused to summarily cure what appeared to be relatively minor deficiencies in a testamentary document because there were greater concerns about whether the document reflected the deceased’s testamentary intentions:  https://skestatelaw.ca/2021/02/05/estate-litigation-update-thorne-v-thorne/
  5.  Rebecca Rauws at Hull & Hull LLP comments on a recent Ontario decision which found that a gift in a will was void for uncertainty:  https://hullandhull.com/2021/02/estate-interest-void-for-uncertainty/

Happy Reading!

What I’m Reading: Interesting Estate Litigation Articles for January 2021

The following is a roundup of noteworthy articles published this month on estate litigation and related issues:

  1. Doreen So at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) authored a two part post on a recent Ontario decision where the public guardian and trustee sought to remove an attorney (acting under a power of attorney), and set aside a $250,000 transfer to the attorney along with various other transfers totaling $350,000. The attorney breached her fiduciary duty by accepting the money: Part 1: https://hullandhull.com/2021/01/pgt-vs-cherneyko-part-1-context-and-timing-is-everything/ Part 2: https://hullandhull.com/2021/01/pgt-vs-cherneyko-part-2-breaches-of-fiduciary-duty-in-the-time-of-covid/
  2. WEL Partners (Toronto) continued their series on solicitor negligence in estates and trusts with several posts on the issue this month, including no. 8 – a review of a couple of cases on this issue: https://welpartners.com/blog/2021/01/solicitors-negligence-in-estates-and-trusts-context-no-8-case-review-mccullough-v-riffert-barbulov-v-huston-2010/
  3. Hull & Hull (Ontario) posted two articles about less common potential causes of lack of capacity:  lack of sleep (https://hullandhull.com/2021/01/can-sleeping-too-little-affect-ones-capacity/ by Suzana Popovic-Montag and Tori Joseph), and medication (https://hullandhull.com/2021/01/medication-and-mental-capacity/ by Nick Esterbauer)
  4. Janis Ko at Onyx Law discusses a case that serves as a reminder that an executor must remain neutral in a wills variation claim, https://onyxlaw.ca/bc-executors-fees-not-allowed-for-opposing-wills-variation-claim/
  5. Trevor Todd at Disinherited.com has compiled some pointers (with case references) for removal of a trustee: https://disinherited.com/removing-executors/removal-of-a-trustee-pointers/

Happy Reading!

What I’m Reading: Interesting Estate Litigation Articles for December 2020

The following is a roundup of noteworthy articles published this month on estate litigation and related issues:

  1. The suspension of limitation periods in B.C. as a result of Covid-19 ends on March 25, 2021. Stan Rule discussed some of the implications for estate litigation: http://rulelaw.blogspot.com/2020/12/suspension-of-limitation-periods-in.html
  2. WEL Partners (Toronto) published a series of posts on elder law this month, identifying potential scams and available resources. A post on a concerning case of elder abuse reported in the media can be found here: https://welpartners.com/blog/2020/12/elder-law-series-woman-with-power-of-attorney-takes-thousands-from-97-year-old-with-dementia/. A post with various resources for victims of elder abuse (or their concerned family members) can be found here: https://welpartners.com/blog/2020/12/elder-law-series-stay-safe-resources-should-you-or-your-loved-ones-become-a-victim-of-elder-abuse/
  3. Ian Hull and Daniel Enright of Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) discussed the Slayer Rule – a general rule of public policy that forbids a criminal from profiting from his or her own wrongdoing: https://hullandhull.com/2020/12/murder-insurance-money-and-the-slayer-rule/
  4. Ian Hull and Daniel Enright also wrote about an interesting case in which new homeowners found $600,000 in cash hidden in their house, presumably left there by the previous (and now deceased) owner. The personal representative of the estate of the deceased prior owner sought the return of the monies to the estate. The judge refused to grant summary judgment, concluding that more evidence was required to determine the matter. This means that the unusual case may return to the courts in the future. The post can be found here: https://hullandhull.com/2020/11/finders-and-keepers-and-the-hidden-half-million-dollars/

Happy reading, and Happy New Year.

What I’m Reading: Interesting Estate Litigation Articles for November 2020

The following is a roundup of noteworthy articles published this month on estate litigation and related issues:

1. Trevor Todd at disinherited.com observes that one of the top reasons for disinheritance of a child is alleged estrangement, and he considers various B.C. cases on this issue: https://disinherited.com/uncategorized/wills-variation-overcoming-estrangement/

2. Janis Ko at Onyx Law provides a case comment which also deals with the issue of alleged estrangement of a child leading to disinheritance: https://onyxlaw.ca/spite-not-a-valid-and-rational-reason-to-disinherit-a-child/

3. The court will sometimes uphold the disinheritance of an estranged child, as Janis Ko at Onyx Law observes in a case comment found here: https://onyxlaw.ca/bc-court-finds-father-had-good-reason-to-disinherit-two-sons/

4. Stan Rule provides a useful and detailed discussion of some of the issues to be considered when granting a power of attorney: http://rulelaw.blogspot.com/2020/11/powers-of-attorney-consider-allowing.html

5. In advance of U.S election, Paul Trudelle at Hull & Hull LLP (in Ontario) considered the issue of whether an attorney under a power of attorney can vote on behalf of the grantor: https://hullandhull.com/2020/11/voting-and-powers-of-attorney/

6. Polly Storey at Clark Wilson provides a detailed update on medical assistance in dying (“MAID”) in Canada: https://www.cwilson.com/medical-assistance-in-dying-a-step-forward-in-ottawa/

7. Finally, Suzana Popovic-Montag and Tori Joseph at Hull & Hull LLP (Ontario) also provide an update on MAID, and go on to discuss the difficulty of accessing these services during the Covid-19 pandemic: https://hullandhull.com/2020/11/maid-accessibility/

Happy Reading!