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Category Archives: Wills

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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

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

The Physical Inability to Sign a Will

Posted in Wills
A remedy may exist where an individual has left a document expressing testamentary wishes that does not comply with the formalities imposed by the Succession Law Reform Act, if it appears that the testator was  physically incapable of executing a will before death. In Godman v. Godman, [1920] P. 261 at 281 and other English … Continue Reading


Posted in Wills
People are spending much of their time living life through the screens of their smartphones.  We talk to friends, write to our families, take photos and share them, manage our investments, read books, watch movies, shop, do research, and listen to music through these small but astonishing devices.  The seemingly endless list of uses for … Continue Reading

Animus Testandi: a “Gray” Area

Posted in Wills
My previous blog post dealt with the subject of substantial compliance provisions in effect in the legislation of a number of provinces, and soon to be introduced into British Columbia.  In determining whether a document that does not meet the formal requirements of a Will can be admitted to probate, the key question is whether … Continue Reading

Bequests to Witnesses Void

Posted in Litigation, Wills
Several years ago, my neighbour asked me to witness the execution of his will. I was glad to help, but at the same time, a little disappointed. This is because of s. 12(1) of the Succession Law Reform Act. This section provides that, in effect, a bequest to a witness, the witness’s spouse, or a person claiming … Continue Reading

Formal Style – No Longer Black Tie

Posted in Wills
Denim was once relegated to farm land and signified hard work. You wouldn’t dream of wearing it to dinner or a friend’s house. Now, if you go out to a decent restaurant or lounge on a weekend, chances are that 80% of the patrons are wearing jeans. Some of those jeans may have even cost in the upwards … Continue Reading

WILL You Marry Me?

Posted in Wills
  Weddings are joyous occasions.  They are often marked with ceremony and celebration.  A wedding represents the beginning of a new marriage, a new family unit and a new life together for the happy couple.  A wedding may also celebrate endings, such as the end of living single, the end of courtship or the end … Continue Reading

Safe Keeping

Posted in Wills
Have you ever had something that was special, that you wanted to put in a special place to make sure nothing bad happened to it? You find the perfect spot for it and put it away. Only to have to go looking for it days, months or years later and fail to remember where that ‘perfect spot’ … Continue Reading

Your Honour, My Dog Ate the Will

Posted in Wills
  The problem of lost or destroyed wills is nothing to bark at.  Wills are very important documents that are often prepared years, and sometimes decades, in advance of when they will be needed.  In today’s world of photocopiers, PDFs, and email attachments, a scan or copy of a document will suffice for most purposes, … Continue Reading

Google Searching for Answers to Digital Legacy Problems

Posted in Wills
  The digital legacy that a deceased person leaves behind has been a much-talked-about subject in the estates world in recent years.  See, for example, blogs on the subject by Moira Visoiu, Saman Jaffery or Nadia Harasymowycz.  There’s a March Hull on Estates podcast about this, and another from July 2011.  While there have been … Continue Reading

Famous Estates: William Randolph Hearst

Posted in Wills
Friends of mine recently visited the Hearst Castle during a road trip along the Californian coast.  When I spoke to them upon their return, they mentioned that the property has an interesting link to wills, trusts and estates, which immediately got me interested. William Randolph Hearst was an American media magnate who, during his lifetime, … Continue Reading

Wills in Times of War

Posted in Wills
  When troops march off to war, not all of them come home. Earlier this month, on Remembrance Day, we took some time to honour our veterans and we mourn and celebrate those who sacrificed everything for our country. Paul Trudelle’s recent blog eloquently details the lives and deaths of three veterans who all lived on Pine … Continue Reading

It’s a Small World: International Wills

Posted in Wills
  As technology improves and the way we live changes, people move around more often than they ever have. They may move overseas, spend a few years away for school, travel for work, marry internationally, spend winters in a warmer climate, and move home again. It is no wonder that Estate assets, with increasing frequency, can be … Continue Reading

The International Estate: Ancillary Grants and Re-Sealing

Posted in Wills
Today’s blog deals with two alternatives to seeking primary probate of a foreign Will in Ontario: ancillary grants and re-sealing.  If the Deceased was domiciled in another jurisdiction, and most of his or her assets are located there, it will usually make more sense to first obtain a grant of probate in the place of domicile and … Continue Reading

Failure of a Charitable Gift

Posted in Estate & Trust, Wills
In the recent case of McDougall Estate, 2011 ONSC 4189 (CanLII) the deceased passed away leaving a handwritten will and codicil that together constituted a valid holograph will. The deceased had one surviving relative, his 83-year-old sister who lived in Florida.   The will did not name an estate trustee and so the deceased’s close friend … Continue Reading

Reminder – 2011 Award of Excellence Nominations

Posted in Estate & Trust, Litigation, Wills
Each year the Ontario Bar Association (OBA), Trusts and Estates Section, considers candidates for its Award of Excellence. Last year, the Section paid tribute to Hilary Laidlaw as the recipient.  The Award for Excellence was created to recognize exceptional contributions and achievements by members of the OBA to the area of trusts and estates. Any Trusts and … Continue Reading