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Category Archives: TOPICS

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Tis the season … to have a conversation about your estate plan

Posted in Estate Planning
As estate litigators we see a fair number of family disagreements arising after the death of a loved one over the deceased’s financial assets and/or personal property. A death in the family can cause a great deal of stress for surviving family members. Uncertainty surrounding the deceased’s wishes only exacerbates this stress, leading to tension … Continue Reading

‘Tis the Season of Giving

Posted in Charities, Estate Planning
As the holidays quickly approach, Canadians begin to turn their minds to everything the holiday season brings – parties, food and drink, and quality time with others. During the holidays, people also think about charity- giving their time and money to the cause or causes they hold dear. As the year draws to a close, … Continue Reading

A Cautionary Tale on Separating Legal Costs

Posted in Ethical Issues, Executors and Trustees, Trustees
The recent decision in Georganes v. Bludd 2014 ONSC 4655 (CanLII) addresses the issue of the entitlement of an Estate Trustee (in defending litigation) to have their legal fees paid by the Estate, despite having a personal interest in the litigation. The background litigation involved the ownership of real property in Georgetown, Ontario.  Pursuant to … Continue Reading

Take Stock – Stock Options and Your Estate Plan

Posted in Estate Planning
Because stock options tie employee compensation to overall corporate performance they are being used as long-term employee incentive vehicles with ever increasing frequency. A stock option is essentially an agreement entered into between an employer and an employee, whereby the employee will have an option to buy the employer’s corporate shares at a price that … Continue Reading

The Legacy of Alfred Nobel

Posted in General Interest, Wills
This week, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to its youngest ever recipient, seventeen-year-old Malala Yousafzai.  Many people know that the Nobel Prizes are named after their founder, Alfred Nobel, who died in 1896.  Fewer are familiar with the story behind the creation of the prestigious awards that almost never came into existence. Earlier this … Continue Reading

POA Abuse Affects All Ages

Posted in In the News, Power of Attorney
When one thinks about the abuse and misuse of Powers of Attorney (“POAs“), the scenario that typically comes to mind involves an older, incapable adult falling victim to younger neighbours or family members.  However, a recent story in the news highlights that POA abuse can affect individuals of all ages and levels of mental capacity. … Continue Reading

Maintaining Adequate Insurance Coverage

Posted in Elder Law Insurance Issues, RRSPs/Insurance Policies, Support After Death
A recent study by the Bank of Montreal Insurance Company reveals that Canadians, on average, believe that they require life insurance coverage in the amount of at least $265,607.00 to satisfy their debts, funeral expenses, and to fund financial support for dependants after their death.  Our of all provinces, residents of Ontario feel that they … Continue Reading

Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer … He’ll Go Down in (Estate Royalty) History!

Posted in Estate Planning, General Interest
The Estates of writers, musicians and other artists often generate revenue – sometimes in the hundreds of millions of dollars – through intellectual property rights (royalties). The Estate of Johnny Marks is one such example. While Marks died in 1985, the royalty rights on his hits, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, “Silver and Gold”, “A Holly … Continue Reading

Pro Forma No?

Posted in General Interest, Litigation
The Advocates Journal recently wrote about a very interesting issue that arose in Elgner v. Freedman Estate in respect of a lawyer’s affidavit that was submitted in support of a client’s motion. In Elgner v. Freedman, Justice Morgan of the Superior Court of Justice was asked to consider the extent to which privilege is waived … Continue Reading

Some Considerations with Foreign Assets

Posted in Estate Planning
As the Canadian winter quickly approaches, more and more of us yearn for sunshine and palm trees. With increasing mobility came an increase in foreign property purchases by Canadians, which in turn can complicate modestly-sized estates. The following are some things to keep in mind when it comes to foreign assets: Jargon: the vocabulary used … Continue Reading

Where in the World is Casey Kasem?

Posted in Executors and Trustees, Funerals, General Interest, In the News
The legendary Top 40 Countdown DJ, Casey Kasem, passed away in June, 2014 after a dramatic Hollywood style guardianship dispute between Casey’s wife, Jean Kasem, and his daughter from a prior relationship, Kerri Kasem.  The “dad-knapping” of this famous American from California to Seattle while he was still alive has already been covered by our … Continue Reading

Estate Planning for Business Owners

Posted in Estate Planning
A recent article published in the Financial Post titled, ‘Successful businesses need more than just one plan to survive’, highlights several estate planning considerations for business owners. All businesses require a thoughtfully considered estate plan, however, sole practitioner businesses and family-owned businesses present several unique estate planning issues for consideration. In many cases, these businesses are … Continue Reading

The Powers of Attorney Registry that Wasn’t

Posted in Power of Attorney
In 2011, a bill was put forward for first reading in the Ontario legislature called Bill 21, Protection of Vulnerable and Elderly People from Abuse Act (Powers of Attorney), 2011.  Bill 21 never made it past this stage, but it would have made amendments to Ontario’s Substitute Decisions Act, 1992, the legislation that governs continuing … Continue Reading

Family Tensions with Wills and Estates

Posted in Elder Law, In the News
This past Sunday’s episode of CBC’s Sunday Edition, which aired on November 23, featured a discussion on family feuds over wills and estates. The discussion focused around the reality and consequences of the inter-generational transfer of wealth between Canadians. The program’s guests, Jan Goddard and Laura Tamblyn Watts, highlighted some areas of note that can … Continue Reading

Hot-Tubbing Experts

Posted in General Interest, Litigation
‘Hot tubbing’– or ‘concurrent evidence’ as it is more formally known, is a means of eliciting expert evidence at trial, whereby the expert witnesses give their evidence in chief together and by engaging in discussion directly with the trial judge and each other. This approach is significantly different from the traditional model of cross-examination, in … Continue Reading

Trial Strategies

Posted in Litigation
I attended a very helpful CLE yesterday on trial strategies.  While a large amount of material was covered addressing preparation for trial, I particularly identified with the following points made by various speakers about events during trial:  Ensure the tone and style of your presentation suits the case; A great advocate is a master story-teller … Continue Reading

Is the Date to Determine Adequate Provision for a Claimant a Moving Target?

Posted in Common Law Spouses, Litigation, Support After Death
In wills variation proceedings in British Columbia, the date for determining whether a testator made adequate provision for a claimant is the date of death. However, in Eckford v. Vanderwood the British Columbia Court of Appeal considered the situation where the claimant’s circumstances changed after death, and whether that should impact upon the date to … Continue Reading

Mirror v. Mutual Wills

Posted in Estate Planning, Wills
Mirror wills are made by two people to benefit one another. If one should predecease, an alternate beneficiary, agreed upon by both testators is to benefit. Mirror wills are often made by spouses and designate their children as the alternate beneficiaries. Mutual wills are a similar, yet clearly distinguishable, estate planning vehicle. The doctrine, described … Continue Reading

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Posted in Capacity, Litigation
At the recent Estates and Trust Summit, Ian M. Hull spoke about the difficult legal consideration of testamentary capacity, and the impact of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NDP) on one’s soundness of mind.  In Mr. Hull’s paper, the medical information cited refers to persons with NPD as viewing themselves in grandiose terms, believing themselves to be … Continue Reading