Estates & Wills & Trusts

Discriminatory wills worthy of judicial intervention

Although testamentary freedom is the general rule in modern succession law, as a matter of public policy, courts should not condone wills where the testator's motives are racially discriminatory, Toronto estates and trusts lawyers Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag write in the Fall 2016 Advocates’ Journal . Read more

Beneficiary nurse stands to receive almost $1 million

By Charles Ticker . A recent story from Australia published online on The Age illustrates some of the difficulties seniors and their caregivers may face as a result of late life will changes. In this scenario, a nurse from Melbourne, Australia was made executor and the sole beneficiary of an elderly man’s estate that is estimated to be worth close to $1 million. The nurse in question is Abha Anuradha Kumar and the testator was Lionel Markey Cox. In the winter of 2015, Cox became frail and had to be move to a nursing home, the Cambridge House. Cox was 92 years old and did not have close family. People who knew Cox have said that he could be suspicious of his caretakers as he thought they were trying to get written into his will. Some of his neighbours were also told by him that he intended to leave his property to the state or various institutions that had cared for him. Read more

Life-tenants, remaindermen and home expenses

By Suzana Popovic-Montag . A life-interest allows a testator to gift the ultimate benefit of real property, while providing in the interim for a loved one during their lifetime. For example, a woman may want to allow her common law spouse to live in her home for his lifetime but ultimately want her children from a previous relationship to receive it. In order to accomplish this, the woman would give her common law spouse a life-interest in the house; after his death, the house would belong to her children, the ultimate beneficiaries. The person with the life-interest is called the life-tenant; the ultimate beneficiaries are known as the remaindermen. Read more

Successful parties can't always count on recouping fees

A judge's decision to spare two disinherited family members a costs award following a failed attempt to challenge their stepfather's will is a useful reminder to lawyers and their clients that they can't always count on recouping legal fees, even if the trial verdict goes their way, says Toronto estate litigator Felice Kirsh . Read more

Hull to present at 19th Annual Estates and Trusts Summit

Toronto trusts and estates litigator Ian Hull will share his insights with attendees on Day One of this year’s 19 th Annual Estates and Trusts Summit, presented by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Read more

Hull named to Chambers Canada 2017 guide

Toronto estates and trusts lawyer Ian Hull has been recognized in the Chambers Canada 2017 guide for his expertise in contentious estates. Read more

Hull, Popovic-Montag to discuss mediation at CBA event

Toronto estates and trusts lawyers Ian Hull and Suzana Popovic-Montag will be among the expert faculty at this year’s ‘Will, Estate and Trust Fundamentals for Estate Practitioners’ event, presented by the Canadian Bar Association (CBA). Read more

Law places some limits on testamentary freedom

By Matthias Duensing . Many people assume that a properly drafted and signed will is not at risk of being invalidated, but as the recent ruling in Poitras Estate v Poitras , 2016 ONSC 5049 (CanLII) reveals, the circumstances surrounding a will’s creation can affect its validity. Read more

Invalid marriage incentive for potential beneficiaries to challenge will

Couples married by an unlicensed officiant may need to go to court to validate their unions in order to minimize the risk of a challenge to their wills further down the line, says Toronto-area estate litigator Charles Ticker. Read more

Too young to plan?

By Ian Hull . The death of a celebrity will sometimes cause the media to focus enquiry on estate planning. We recently blogged about the circumstances surrounding Prince’s intestacy and the possible heirs of his estate. Anton Yelchin, a 27-year-old actor best known for his role in the Star Trek movies, has passed away. His death has raised a number of interesting points. Read more

Personal injury settlements and ODSP benefits

Ottawa disabilities and estate planning lawyer Kenneth Pope says before signing off on the terms of settlement, plaintiff personal injury lawyers should ensure their clients won’t be disqualified from receiving Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP) benefits. Read more

Siblings pursue lawyer who drafted questionable will

By Charles Ticker . A recent story published in the Santa Fe, New Mexican online reports of an estate dispute where siblings have alleged malpractice by the lawyer drafting their deceased mother’s will. The siblings have also come after their stepfather contesting the will. The estate in question is the estate of the late artist Margarete Bagshaw (November 11, 1964 – March 19, 2015.) She had a stroke in early 2015 before being diagnosed with brain cancer. She was 50 years old when she passed away. Bagshaw is related to several Native American artists, including her mother, Helen Hardin and her grandmother, painter Pablita Velarde. Bagshaw is survived by her children, Helen and Forrest Tindel. Read more

Ticker, The Faded Genes, to play at fundraising event

Toronto-area estate litigator Charles Ticker ’s ’60s and ’70s rock band, The Faded Genes , will be providing entertainment for the upcoming Parkinson SuperWalk in North York. Read more

Appropriate match key to successful family business handover

When it comes to passing down a family business to the next generation, simply wanting to work together is not always enough to ensure a smooth transition — the successor also needs to have business-specific interests and knowledge, Toronto estates and trusts lawyer Suzana Popovic-Montag tells Succession Planning , a special supplement published by The Bottom Line and Lawyers Weekly. Read more

Barnes estate illustrates dangers of late-life will changes

By Charles Ticker . A recent story in the Kitsap Sun , a Bremerton, Washington newspaper, caught my attention. The full story is found here . The scenario is about the estate of Eva Rova Barnes and it illustrates some of the challenges faced by the various parties involved in late-life will changes. Barnes was a Poulsbo-area woman who passed away in 2011. She was almost 95 years old at the time of her death. Her estate included a substantial stake in 46 acres of land, real estate, and other property. Read more