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Category Archives: In the News

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Mickey Rooney’s Legacy

Posted in Elder Law, In the News, Litigation
Most readers will already be aware that Mickey Rooney died on April 6, 2014, at the age of 93.  Last week, the late Mickey Rooney’s family appeared in court to dispute the ultimate disposition of Mr. Rooney’s remains. Mr. Rooney’s ex-wife, Jan Chamberlain, claims that Rooney would have wanted to be buried in a cemetery … Continue Reading

Toronto Lawyer Makes a Posthumous Argument for Assisted Suicide

Posted in Ethical Issues, In the News
A Toronto criminal lawyer suffering from ALS, a terminal, incurable disease, sent a letter to his friends and colleagues before he died arguing posthumously for assisted suicide.  Edward Hung, who travelled to Switzerland for assistance in ending his life, argued that Canada’s laws against assisted suicide are “unjust.” In his letter, titled Approaching Death, Mr. … Continue Reading

Law Society of England and Wales Accepts Sharia-Compliant Wills

Posted in Estate Planning, In the News, Wills
The Law Society of England and Wales recently published a practice direction with respect to the drafting of Sharia-compliant wills.  There are 2.7 million Muslims living in the United Kingdom, many who wish to obtain a Sharia-compliant will for religious purposes. If an individual living in England chooses to distribute his or her assets according … Continue Reading

Blood Testing: The New Crystal Ball for Dementia

Posted in Capacity, Estate Planning, General Interest, Health / Medical, In the News, Power of Attorney
Last week on our blog, Josh Eisen blogged about a death test which uses blood samples to identify people with higher short-term risk of dying.  There appears to be a pattern developing in the scientific community with regard to the use of blood tests as the new crystal ball for our fate. A new study … Continue Reading

Inaccessibility of Digital Assets

Posted in Estate Planning, In the News
Digital estate planning is becoming an increasingly common practice.  However, security measures of internet and technology corporations have the potential to disrupt the implementation of a testator’s plans. A recent news article tells the story of a woman named Anthea Grant, who purchased an iPad for use during two years of cancer treatment. The device … Continue Reading

Medically Assisted Suicide Heats Up At Federal Liberal Party Convention

Posted in Ethical Issues, Health / Medical, In the News
On February 23, 2014, the Federal Liberal party of Canada passed a resolution which aims to de-criminalize medically assisted suicide. The resolution was passed during the party’s biennial policy convention, echoing the Quebec legislatures current legislative reform proposals and foreshadowing the Supreme Court of Canada’s vow to revisit the controversial issue for the first time … Continue Reading

FATCA: A Global Wealth Shift:

Posted in Estate Planning, In the News
This month, the Canadian government entered into an intergovernmental agreement (IGA) with the U.S. regarding compliance with the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA). This IGA will require financial institutions in Canada to begin to report to the CRA, which will subsequently report to the IRS in the U.S. starting in July of 2014 regarding … Continue Reading

A Better Way of Dividing Estate Assets?

Posted in In the News
When dividing estate assets that are easily divisible between the deceased’s survivors, equal division is relatively simple.  However, when dealing with indivisible items that only one party can receive, distributing assets equally becomes more complicated, with the potential to give rise to disputes and subsequent litigation. A recent paper by professors at Wilfrid Laurier University … Continue Reading

A Smorgasbord of Technology

Posted in General Interest, In the News
We continue to see the interconnection between estates and technology.  I recently came across two articles, both from the west coast, which further advance this relationship. Crowdsourcing in California California is in the process of amending their probate code, and has asked individual citizens for their comments.  However, the manner in which the State is … Continue Reading

The Expert Opinion

Posted in In the News, Litigation
In the field of Estate litigation, we often rely on expert opinion with respect to various issues including mental capacity, and the authenticity of handwriting.  Although not an Estates case, the recent 2014 Ontario Superior Court of Justice decision in Moore v. Getahun, provides important clarification regarding the review of expert reports by counsel. At … Continue Reading

Out of this World Estate Planning

Posted in In the News, Uncategorized
Mars One, is a not-for-profit foundation planning to establish a permanent human settlement on Mars. As described on the Mars One website, the goal is to train human crews for life on Mars, and begin sending crews of people every two years starting in 2024. Mars One launched its Astronaut Selection Program in April 2013 … Continue Reading

Music Can Help Protect Against Dementia

Posted in In the News
A recent CBC report discusses a new research study that will change the way we think about health, the mind, and music. The study suggests that learning to play music may play a significant role in increasing memory and may even decrease the chances of forming dementia later in life. These positive effects on the … Continue Reading

Brain Death: Two Tragic Cases at the Junction of Medicine and the Law

Posted in Ethical Issues, Health / Medical, In the News
Sorrow makes us all children again — destroys all differences of intellect. The wisest know nothing.         - Ralph Waldo Emerson, American author On December 9, 2013, 13 year old Jahi McMath underwent complex surgery at Children’s Hospital Oakland to remove her tonsils, adenoids, uvula and bony structures in her nose in an … Continue Reading

Beyond-the-Grave Parenting

Posted in In the News
Early last month, twin boys were born to a Vietnamese woman, despite the fact that her husband, and father of the twins, died three years ago. The man’s wife, Hoang Thi Kim Dung, directed that sperm samples be taken and preserved immediately after her husband had died in a railway accident.  In March 2013, in … Continue Reading

Thousands of Seniors Still Left In The Cold

Posted in In the News
This past week, many Torontonians were left without heat, electricity or warm water. The destructive ice storm cut power to thousands of households on Sunday and some of the city’s most vulnerable residents were left in the dark. An article in the Toronto Star discusses how the ice storm affected Toronto’s Community Housing and how … Continue Reading

Asthma Inhalers in the Principal’s Office: Rampant Rulitis

Posted in Estate & Trust, General Interest, Health / Medical, In the News
At present, there is no legal framework in Ontario governing the storage of asthma inhalers within schools. The absence of such a framework shifts the decision-making into the hands of the individual school administrators and/or school boards. What has evolved as a result of this legal vacuum is a patchwork of asthma management plans.  Many … Continue Reading

A Charity by Another Name

Posted in In the News
A case recently heard by the Royal Court of Jersey may serve as a reminder to take the time to double-check the names of charities when bequests are made within a will.  In the Matter of the Estate of Nicholas Turquand-Young, the Royal Court dealt with a will, which named the same charity by two … Continue Reading

J. D. Salinger: A Public Battle for Privacy:

Posted in In the News
After a solitary life brought about by an aversion to media attention over his highly proclaimed The Catcher and the Rye, J. D. Salinger passed away in 2010, remaining unpublished for nearly 50 years. In keeping with his desire to stay out of the press, the renowned author left several completed works written between 1965 … Continue Reading

Disney Family Feud: Estate Litigation in the Magic Kingdom

Posted in In the News
Walt Disney’s twin grandchildren are currently involved in a dispute surrounding a testamentary trust worth well over three hundred million dollars.  The Will of Sharon Disney, the twins’ mother and Walt’s daughter, grants her trustees the discretion to withhold payment to either of her children if they appear to lack the “maturity or financial ability” … Continue Reading