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Tag Archives: will

Hull on Estates Episode #311 – Beneficiary Designations When a Will Is Revoked

Posted in Hull on Estates, PODCASTS / AUDIO, Show Notes, Show Notes
 Listen to: Hull on Estates Episode #311 – Beneficiary Designations When a Will Is Revoked    This week on Hull on Estates, Paul Trudelle and Holly LeValliant discuss beneficiary designations when a will is revoked. More specifically, they discuss a recent decision made by the Ontario Superior Court of Justice: Petch v. Kuivila, 2012 ONSC… Continue Reading

Show Me the “Money”

Posted in Estate & Trust, Litigation
In Thiemer Estate, a decision of the B.C. Supreme Court, 2012 BCSC 629 (CanLII), the deceased left an estate having a value of $20m. He left a will that provided for various specific legacies. The will also included a clause that directed the payment of “the balance of any money which I may have at the time… Continue Reading

The Importance of Having a Will

Posted in Estate & Trust
It was Benjamin Franklin who famously stated, "The only thing certain in life are death and taxes".  Beyond these two certainties, surely is another certainty, that is, upon the death of an individual, the remains of their property, however big or small, are to be distributed.  This means that a will plays an integral role… Continue Reading

Didn’t Get the Memo?

Posted in Estate Planning, Litigation
Wills often deal with personal property by referring to a memorandum that sets out how the personal property is to be distributed. Usually, the memorandum is not executed in accordance with the requirements of the Succession Law Reform Act, or similar legislation. How effective is such a memo? A memorandum, even if not properly executed, will… Continue Reading

The “Why and What” of Leaving an Inheritance

Posted in Estate & Trust
A British professional advice website,, has published some intriguing statistical data as part of its ‘Write a Will Week’ campaign, which is ongoing this week.. More than one in four (27%) UK adults hope to leave enough money for their family or pets to live comfortably after they’re gone. The more specific stats are as follows: Enough… Continue Reading

What happens if you do not have a Will?

Posted in Estate Planning
In our modern society more and more people choose to remain in common law relationships rather than to marry. Certainly many think that few differences distinguish a common law relationship from a married one as society has responded to practical reality by making common law spouses eligible for pension benefits, family insurance benefits and spousal support. No wonder… Continue Reading

Considering Wills Where No Strict Compliance with Execution Requirements: Part 1

Posted in Estate & Trust, Litigation
We have blogged and podcasted in the past on the formal requirements of Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act, and the effect of non-compliance. In Ontario, there is no provision for “substantial compliance”, and a Will not executed in accordance with the strict requirements will not be accepted: see Sills v. Daley, [2002] O.J. No. 5318 (however,… Continue Reading

The Importance of Having a Will

Posted in Estate & Trust
For my final blog for the week, I want to discuss an article recently featured in, which considers the importance of having a Will.  If an individual dies without a Will, he is said to have died intestate. When a person dies intestate, their assets are distributed pursuant to the intestate provisions contained in the… Continue Reading

The Need to Plan our Estates

Posted in Estate & Trust
I recently read an article named “The Lessons of Famously Bad Estate Planning”, authored by Steven Morelli. This article looks at disasters that have followed celebrities because of the absence of a properly planned Will. Jimi Hendrix died without a Will which started a family war that would end up in court for more than… Continue Reading

Another Family War

Posted in Estate & Trust
As I have been practising in the area of estate litigation for a few years, I occasionally think that I have seen it all; that every recurring story I hear about a family war tends to lose its originality. Not true. Take for instance a recent story that was posted online in the Telegraph, involving a U.S.… Continue Reading

The Grim Toll of Alzheimer’s

Posted in Capacity, Estate & Trust, Litigation
The Toronto Star recently reported on Alzheimer’s disease, stating that “cases of the mind-robbing disease will more than double to 1.25 million within 30 years as baby boomers age”.  With the numbers pointing upward as the population grays, a recent report by the Alzheimer Society, entitled Rising Tide: The Impact of Dementia on Canadian Society… Continue Reading

Checkmate? Fight over Chess Master’s Estate

Posted in In the News
Bobby Fischer died in 2008 in Iceland at the age of 64. The tawdry details of his life often overshadowed the genius of his game – he was a child prodigy, a teenage grandmaster and — before age 30 — a world champion who triumphed in a Cold War showdown with Soviet champion, Boris Spassky. Since his… Continue Reading

The Fight Over Boxer Gatti’s Estate

Posted in In the News
 In a recent Québec decision, the young widow of the late boxing champion, Arturo Gatti, and mother to his son, has been awarded $40,000 to cover her legal fees and child care costs. Ms. Rodrigues had asked for a $150,000 advance and their dog. She had also sought to have an earlier Will in which she did… Continue Reading

Ontario’s Unforgiving Formal Execution Requirements for Wills

Posted in Estate & Trust
The formal requirements for execution of a will, or any testamentary instrument in Ontario, are governed by Part I of the Succession Law Reform Act ("SLRA").  The definition of "will" in s. 1 of the SLRA includes a testament, codicil, will, or other testamentary disposition.  The most critical form requirements are that the will must be in writing, signed by the testator and two witnesses. … Continue Reading

On the Big Screen: Challenging Dr. Barnes’ Wishes

Posted in Estate & Trust, In the News, Litigation, News & Events
The Toronto International Film Festival brought stars to town and brought an estate issue into focus. The Art of the Steal  received accolades as a “thrilling whodunit” about the world-renowned Barnes art collection, valued in the “billions and billions.” Dr. Albert Barnes assembled art in the twenties and housed it in the suburb of Merion, Pennsylvania.… Continue Reading

Scrutinizing Evidence in a Will Challenge

Posted in Capacity, Estate & Trust, Litigation
The recent case of Re Henry (2009) CanLII 12329 (ON S.C.) is an excellent illustration of how a court scrutinizes evidence in a will challenge.  In Re Henry, the deceased died on May 28, 2005.  Two weeks earlier, on May 12, 2005, he had made a Will designating his second wife as his sole beneficiary.  The deceased’s son from a prior marriage challenged… Continue Reading

The Executor as “Spokesman of the Soul”; Revisiting the Will of Alfred Nobel

Posted in Estate & Trust, General Interest, In the News
"I regard large inherited wealth as a misfortune, which merely serves to dull men’s faculties. A man who possesses great wealth should, therefore, allow only a small portion to descend to his relatives. Even if he has children, I consider it a mistake to hand over to them considerable sums of money beyond what is… Continue Reading

A Will Challenge under the Indian Act

Posted in Estate & Trust
In keeping with yesterday’s blog on a British Columbia real estate matter, today I focus on another BC case – Albas v. Gabriel 2009 BCSC 198 – that involves the Indian Act, a federal statute.  For a quick recap of the interplay between provincial and federal jurisdiction regarding estate matters and First Nations people living… Continue Reading

The Millionaire, His Mistress, His Will & the ex-Governor

Posted in Capacity, Estate & Trust, In the News, Litigation
A current Georgia case vividly illustrates the legal, emotional and moral complexity often involved in estates litigation.  According to the reports, Harvey Strother died at age 78, having succumbed to progressively severe alcoholism brought on by the tragic death of his daughter at age 23.  Strother had built up a formidable nest of car dealerships… Continue Reading