Estates & Wills & Trusts

Can you bequeath Twitter followers and other digital assets?

Facebook anticipates that by 2098 there will be more profiles for deceased users than for the living, and that highlights the importance of getting digital assets in order, says Toronto estates and trusts lawyer Suzana Popovic-Montag . Read more

Ontario Court of Appeal sticks estate litigants with the tab

A decision by the Ontario Court of Appeal declining to award legal costs to litigants in an estate dispute is a cautionary tale for squabbling families, says Toronto estate litigator and mediator Charles B. Ticker. Read more

Inspecting property held by an estate

By Ian Hull . One of the primary duties of an estate trustee is to ascertain the assets of the estate. Sometimes, at the time of death, property of another person may be left at the deceased’s place of residence or otherwise in their possession. This property, unsurprisingly, can be assumed to be the deceased’s. However, if property entitlement is in dispute, when and how does a claimant to property go about inspecting the property? Read more

Removing an estate trustee for conflict of interest

By Suzana Popovic-Montag . Estate trustees play a critical role in administering an estate. Their role can give them great decision- making power. Yet this power can be abused. A conflict of interest may arise between the estate trustee in their role as representing the estate and their personal interests. This conflict risks favouring their personal interests over the estate, to which they owe fiduciary obligations. Conflicts of interest, actual or potential, raise significant concerns. An application to remove a trustee may be warranted in circumstances where there are significant allegations made. Read more

Will challenge failure results in sum going to group founder

By Charles Ticker. I recently came across an interesting story that illustrates some of the problems that may occur if a will challenge fails. This story is also a reminder that a will challenge must be driven by sound legal reasoning, not the discontent of beneficiaries that believe they should have received more from the estate. If there is no legal basis for a will challenge, the courts will respect the last wishes of the testator. The original story is found here. Read more

Detailed notes important in case of will challenge

Toronto estate litigator Sean Lawler says lawyers drafting wills should take careful notes in the event there is a challenge later on. Read more

Felice Kirsh endorsed in 2016 Legal Lexpert Directory

Toronto trust and estate litigator Felice Kirsh is named in the 2016 Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory as one of the most consistently recommended practitioners for her expertise in estate litigation. Read more

An update on statutory wills

By Suzana Popovic-Montag . Testamentary capacity is a prerequisite to the creation of a valid will. For those who do not possess testamentary capacity, either due to a change in cognitive abilities or because they never possessed it to begin with, this means they are unable to make, change, or revoke a will. Read more

Wills basics: revocation, revival, republication

By Ian Hull . The nature of a will is that it is revocable, meaning that testators can change their mind, cause their will to no longer be in effect, and make a new will at any time. However, just as there are requirements for executing a will , there are specific rules in place that govern how a will may be revoked. Read more

OCA: lower court erred in finding woman had no money of her own

Toronto wills and estates lawyer Daniel Bernstein says a recent decision by the Court of Appeal is “insightful” in its take on beneficial ownership of a house through a resulting trust – but he stresses the importance of documenting similar intentions. Read more

OCA orders litigant to pay $282,000 after 20-year dispute

Toronto wills and estates lawyer Patrick J. Aulis says before a litigant advances a position in the courts, they should make sure their position is reasonable on the facts and tenable in the law or risk bearing the costs of litigation. Read more

Stay organized, network when starting law firm

The learning curve can be steep for lawyers going out on their own — making resiliency, flexibility and organization essential steps to success, Toronto real estate and wills and estates lawyer Lisa Laredo tells Lawyers Weekly . Read more

Eviction from castle estate may follow nasty sibling dispute

By Charles Ticker . A recent story published in The Telegraph (found here ), shows the kind of hostility that can occur in a sibling estate dispute. One of the parties in this dispute is Simon Howard who has been running Castle Howard in Yorkshire, England. The castle has appeared in cinema and numerous TV shows. It has been the home of the Carlisle branch of the Howard family for more than 300 years. Simon Howard and his wife Rebecca are facing eviction from the estate. Read more

The legal effect of death during litigation

By Ian Hull . The hockey legend, Gordie Howe, died this past Friday. He leaves behind four children and nine grandchildren. The details of his estate are not yet known. The day before he died, the Michigan Court of Appeal upheld a verdict in his favour where he was awarded approximately $3,000,000 in damages. The defendants in that proceeding were found liable for destruction of some of Gordie Howe’s personal memorabilia. The timing of his passing favours his estate. While unusual, parties do die during litigation. If Howe had died during an ongoing proceeding, it could have been the cause of some confusion. It is important to remember that the Rules of Civil Procedure offer guidance on this issue. Read more

Lawyers must consider FLA when drafting wills

Toronto wills and estates lawyer Anar Dewshi says it’s imperative lawyers not overlook the Family Law Act (FLA) when drafting wills, particularly when the testator’s estate includes a matrimonial home. Read more