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Posted in In the News
Obituaries attempt to summarize a life in a few short paragraphs in print or online.  They may describe a person’s occupation and place of residence, list the person’s family and close friends, and set out the funeral or memorial arrangements that have been made.  They might also set out the cause of death. Stephen Merrill,… Continue Reading

Digging Around for the Will

Posted in In the News, Wills
In a grisly news story, it was reported that a woman recently pleaded guilty to digging up her late father’s casket to look for a will. The late Eddie Nash died in 2004.  He had prepared a will in 1995.  Unfortunately, one of his daughters felt that she didn’t receive a fair share of her… Continue Reading

Community Foundations

Posted in Charities, Estate Planning
I attended a very informative seminar this week hosted by our firm, and the presenters were Anne Brayley and Aneil Gokhale from the Toronto Foundation.  Through their talk, we learned more about our role as estates counsel in philanthropic giving, as well as about Community Foundations generally.  The concept of Community Foundations came to Canada… Continue Reading

Reform of the Substitute Decisions Act (SDA)

Posted in Beneficiary Designations, Estate Planning, Power of Attorney
The SDA came into effect in 1995, and created significant change to Ontario’s consent and capacity laws.  This year the SDA celebrates its 20-year anniversary of governing planning for mental incapacity and substitute decision-making for incapable adults.   At the recent Law Society of Upper Canada course given on the topic of the Annotated Power of… Continue Reading

No Monkeying Around Here!

Posted in General Interest, In the News, Pets
Our blog has covered the topic of pets on a number of occasions, most recently the extravagant tale of Bella Mia Bolasny, a pampered Maltese who is set to inherit from her wealthy owner, or “mother”, Rose Ann Bolasny. There’s no question that pets become a part of the family, but is considering them children… Continue Reading

Planning for Incapacity

Posted in Capacity, Estate Planning, Power of Attorney
According to the World Health Organization (the “WHO”), approximately 35.6 million people around the globe are currently living with dementia. Given the aging boomer population, the WHO estimates this number will double by 2030 and more than triple by 2050. Yet, despite the increased prevalence of dementia, many people still fail to consider and/or adequately plan… Continue Reading

Who Should Manage Your Facebook Account When You Die?

Posted in Estate Planning, New Media Observations
The online social media giant Facebook has taken steps to respond to the concerns about one’s personal account management upon death. Up until recently, the accounts of members that passed away were either “memorialized” or entrance into the accounts were locked. On Thursday, February 12, 2015, Facebook introduced a feature entitled “legacy contact” that allows… Continue Reading

Some Challenges for Estate Trustees

Posted in Executors and Trustees
When selecting an estate trustee, you want to choose someone competent, readily available and, above all, trustworthy. This is because estate trustees are assigned power and responsibility to administer an estate. Accordingly, testators generally choose a close friend or family member to carry out their wishes after they die. Whether you designate someone close to… Continue Reading

Fundamental Changes to Assisted Suicide in Canada: Carter v. Canada, 2015 SCC 5

Posted in Estate Planning, In the News
The Supreme Court of Canada has unanimously struck down s. 241(b) of the Criminal Code, which imposes a legal ban on doctor-assisted suicide in Canada. On February 6, 2015, the SCC released its decision in Carter v. Canada, finding that doctors should be allowed to assist patients hasten death in certain circumstances; namely, situations in which… Continue Reading

Equestrian Estoppel

Posted in Estate & Trust
The doctrine of proprietary estoppel was recently revisited by the British Columbia Court of Appeal in Sabey v. Rommel. Mr. Sabey had been interested in learning the sport of dressage, a sort of “horse ballet”, since he was young.  He was given an opportunity to work and study the sport on a farm belonging to… Continue Reading

Intolerance for Intolerance

Posted in In the News, Wills
A recent decision of the Superior Court of Justice has made been making headlines.  In Spence v. BMO Trust Company, the Court was faced with the challenging question of whether or not to set aside a will based on a finding that the deceased had disinherited his daughter for racist reasons. In the Spence case,… Continue Reading

Moore v. Getahun 2015 ONCA 55: Appropriate Communication Between Counsel and Experts

Posted in General Interest, In the News, Litigation
The highly anticipated Court of Appeal decision in Moore v. Getahun was finally released on January 29, 2015.  Moore v. Getahun is an important appellate decision that dealt with the preparation and use of expert reports in the context of civil litigation. To make a long story short, the Court of Appeal has rejected the… Continue Reading

Planning for the Family Ski Chalet

Posted in Estate Planning
Recreational properties like, ski chalets and cottages, present a variety of tax and estate planning considerations that, if not properly planned for, can end up costing you and ultimately your heirs, a significant sum. The following are a few things to consider if you wish to keep your ski chalet in the family: Taxes payable… Continue Reading

Back From the Dead

Posted in Estate & Trust, In the News, Pets
Earlier this month, a cat living in Tampa, Florida was hit by a car.  Unfortunately, collisions between pets and motor vehicles are not in themselves uncommon.  What is unique about this particular case is that Bart the cat, who was declared dead and buried on January 16, 2015, emerged from his grave five days later,… Continue Reading

An Estate Going to the Dogs

Posted in Charities, Pets, Wills
Two charities are proceeding to an Irish High Court for the adjudication of a dispute over the charitable bequest made pursuant to a Last Will and Testament. The Will in question, executed by Elizabeth Burke of Limerick, Ireland, provided that five hundred thousand of an Estate valued in excess of twelve million euros would be… Continue Reading

New Power of Attorney Legislation Introduced in Saskatchewan

Posted in Elder Law, Power of Attorney
At the beginning of the month, Saskatchewan introduced new rules with respect to Powers of Attorney to help protect aging individuals, specifically those with diminished mental capacity. The amendments introduced within the Powers of Attorney Amendment Act, 2014, are most notably as follows: An attorney for property must now provide a final accounting when he… Continue Reading