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Category Archives: Executors and Trustees

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What Happens If The Assets Are Not Enough?

Posted in Estate Planning, Executors and Trustees, Wills
When there is a shortfall between what payments an estate is required to pay and the value of the estate, some problems can arise. Two such situations include: (i) when the estate assets are insufficient to satisfy the debts and (ii) when the estate assets are insufficient to distribute specific bequests. Firstly, sometimes a deceased’s … Continue Reading

Judge Decides the Sale of the L.A. Clippers

Posted in Capacity, Executors and Trustees, General Interest, In the News, Litigation, Trustees, Uncategorized
In the latest high profile trust dispute to hit the courts, the Los Angeles County Superior Court has ruled in favour of Rochelle “Shelley” Sterling thereby giving her the authority to sell the Los Angeles Clippers to Steve Ballmer for a ground breaking amount of $2 billion dollars on July 28, 2014. Our in-house sports … Continue Reading

Drafting Solicitors Still Able to Act as Estate Trustees

Posted in Estate Planning, Executors and Trustees
On October 1, 2014, amendments to the Law Society of Upper Canada’s Rules of Professional Conduct will come into effect.  The new Rules of Professional Conduct specifically address professional obligations of estate planning lawyers, providing new guidance and restrictions. One of the new provisions prohibits a lawyer from drafting a will in which he or … Continue Reading

Extreme Burials

Posted in Executors and Trustees, Funerals, Wills
The Last Will of Napoleon Bonaparte states, “…It is my wish that my ashes may repose on the banks of the Seine, in the midst of the French people, whom I have loved so well”.  It is interesting to note that Napoleon wishes, and not instructs, this type of burial.  In Ontario, there is no … Continue Reading

The King of Estate Trustees

Posted in Executors and Trustees
It is well known that Michael Jackson lived a captivating lifestyle.  From successful records, to extraordinary pets, to palatial mansions, he was undoubtedly the King of Pop.  It therefore came to me as no surprise to learn that his Estate is as equally entertaining.  An article by Forbes highlights the top legal challenges facing the … Continue Reading

Renunciation, Resignation, Passing Over And Removal of Estate Trustees

Posted in Executors and Trustees, Litigation
A recent decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal, Chambers Estate v. Chambers, 2013 ONCA 511, deals with the concepts of renunciation, resignation, removal and passing over of an estate trustee, and the sometimes subtle distinctions amongst the concepts. There, a “renunciation” is defined as the “formal act whereby an executor entitled to a grant of probate … Continue Reading

Show Me the…Creditor

Posted in Executors and Trustees
Although one of the key duties of an estate trustee is to distribute estate assets to beneficiaries,  before getting caught up with any such distribution, estate trustees must also fulfill another key duty – paying any debts owed by the deceased. In fulfilling this latter duty, it is now considered prudent behaviour for an estate … Continue Reading

Care, Pains and Trouble: Compensation of Estate Trustees

Posted in Executors and Trustees
  A recent article on Legal Feeds, a blog supported by Canadian Lawyer and Law Times, highlighted some recent developments in the case law regarding the compensation of estate trustees and legal fees. In particular, it focused on an endorsement in Hooke Estate, in which strict adherence the “percentages” approach was criticized by the Court. The … Continue Reading

Personal Property, Personal Risk

Posted in Executors and Trustees
A story out of Shreveport, La., should serve as a lesson to Estate Trustees dealing with the administration of personal property.  In 2009, Trisha McNeal bought a painting for $2.00 at a garage sale which appeared to the seller to be worthless, but had the word "Picasso" written on the back.  The seller was a friend … Continue Reading

Costs Against co-Estate Trustee

Posted in Executors and Trustees
In 2012, the Court of the Queen’s Bench of Alberta released a costs decision in which a co-Estate Trustee was ordered to personally pay a substantial indemnity costs award for bringing a series of unsuccessful applications and motions primarily aimed at removing his sister as co-Estate Trustee.  In Bizon v. Bizon, a brother and sister … Continue Reading

Death and Taxes

Posted in Executors and Trustees
While everyone has heard the refrain that the only two guarantees in life are death and taxes, how these two things interrelate is often a source of stress and confusion. I am often asked about the timing for filing of a deceased’s taxes and therefore thought it might be useful to provide a brief overview. … Continue Reading

Going Out With a Bang

Posted in Executors and Trustees
  The movies are filled with gun-wielding maniacs. If they are in Schwarzenegger’s way, more often than not, the maniacs don’t make it to the end of the film. This led me to ask myself an interesting legal question of the sort that only an estates lawyer could be inspired to ask from watching spies, … Continue Reading

A Cautionary Tale for Estate Trustees

Posted in Executors and Trustees
While estate trustees can be criticized by courts for their conduct, and in some instances, made to compensate the estate for their inappropriate behaviour, sometimes, that just isn’t enough. On December 13, 2012, Saman Jaffery blogged about the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decision in Bizon Estate, 2012 ABQB 605, wherein the court ordered one … Continue Reading

Determining Estate Trustee Compensation

Posted in Executors and Trustees
According to section 61(1) of the Trustee Act, “A trustee, guardian or personal representative is entitled to such fair and reasonable allowance for the care, pains and trouble, and the time expended in and about the estate, as may be allowed by a judge of the Superior Court of Justice”.  Historically, there have been two … Continue Reading

“You Decide How to Divide My Estate”

Posted in Executors and Trustees
Normally, the Will Maker specifies exactly who gets their assets. In some circumstances, the Will Maker can give someone else the right to choose the beneficiary. This is called a power of appointment.  Black’s Law Dictionary defines a general power of appointment as a “power of appointment by which the donee can appoint – that … Continue Reading

Release for Passing Accounts

Posted in Executors and Trustees
As was mentioned in my blog last week on Renunciation, fulfilling the duties as estate trustee may be a time consuming task, and that as a result a certain few may not be up for the endeavour.  However, for those who are appointed as estate trustee, one on-going duty that arises is that of passing … Continue Reading