Category: Hull on Estate and Succession Planning

10 Sep

Hull on Estates #580 – Elder Law Issues

76admin Elder Law, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates, Hull on Estates, Podcasts Tags: , , , 0 Comments

On today’s podcast, Natalia Angelini and Rebecca Rauws discuss elder law issues, including the increasing prevalence of such issues in our practice, the different viewpoints on damages, and the need for more case law in this area.

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Natalia Angelini.

Click here for more information on Rebecca Rauws.

27 Aug

Hull on Estates #579 – Webb v Belway: dependant support and misbehaving spouses

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In today’s podcast, Noah Weisberg and Sydney Osmar discuss Webb v Belway, 2019 ONSC 4602, a recent case from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, where the court had to consider whether a common law spouse’s conduct towards the end of the deceased’s life, which included misappropriating funds as attorney for property, should be taken into consideration in determining whether she is entitled to support.

If you would like to read more about the case, see Natalia Angelini’s recent blog here.

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Noah Weisberg.

Click here for more information on Sydney Osmar.

13 Aug

Hull on Estates #578 – Grewal v Litt: The Issue of Testamentary Freedom and Potential Discrimination

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In today’s podcast, Jonathon Kappy and Sayuri Kagami discuss Grewal v Litt, 2019 BCSC 1154, a recent case out of BC where 4 sisters sought to have the court vary their parents wills that left almost 96% of the parents’ estates to the applicants’ 2 brothers. The applicants claimed that the parents failed to make adequate provision for their proper maintenance and support as a result of cultural discrimination that favoured sons over daughters.

If you’d like to read more about the case, see Garrett Horrock’s recent blog here.

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Jonathon Kappy.

Click here for more information on Sayuri Kagami.

30 Jul

Hull on Estates #577 – Hearsay Evidence and Summary Judgment

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In this week’s episode of Hull on Estates, Paul Trudelle and Garrett Horrocks discuss the use of hearsay evidence in a motion for summary judgment, and the Ontario Court of Appeal  decision of Drummond v. Cadillac Fairview Corporation Limited, 2019 ONCA 447 (CanLII).

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Paul Trudelle.

Click here for more information on Garrett Horrocks.

16 Jul

Hull on Estates #576 – Mutual Wills and Legal Obligations

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This week on Hull on Estates, Stuart Clark and Kira Domratchev discuss the decision of Nelson v Trottier, 2019 ONSC 1657, and the legal obligations of the survivor in circumstances where there is a mutual wills agreement.

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Stuart Clark.

Click here for more information on Kira Domratchev.

02 Jul

Hull on Estates #575 – Life Insurance and Separation Agreements in Estates

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Today on Hull on Estates, Natalia Angelini and Doreen So discuss life insurance policies, separation agreements, and the limits to section 72 of the Succession Law Reform Act in Birnie v Birnie, 2019 ONSC 2152.

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Natalia Angelini.

Click here for more information on Doreen So.

20 Jun

Lost Wills, Will Registries and the new Canada Will Registry

Charlotte McGee Estate & Trust, Executors and Trustees, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Tags: 0 Comments

 There is no shortage of complications, stress and potential expense that can occur when a will cannot be located following a party’s death. This is particularly true in Ontario, where the law provides for a presumption of revocation with respect to lost wills: namely, a will will be presumed to be revoked by destruction when the original will cannot be located after the death of the deceased.

Pursuant to Rule 75.02 of the Rules of Civil Procedure, the validity and contents of a will that has been lost or destroyed must be proved by way of an Application before the Court. As the Ontario Court of Appeal held in Sorkos v Cowderoy, [2006] O.J. No. 3652, a party who seeks to prove a lost will bears the onus to prove due execution of the will; provide particulars tracing possession of the will to the date of the testator’s death; provide proof of the contents of the will; and rebut the presumption that the will was destroyed by the testator with the intention to revoke it.

As we have blogged on previously, will registries are a mechanism which may help parties avoid a missing will debacle altogether. One such registry is the new Canada Will Registry, launched this past May 2019 by NoticeConnect. While NoticeConnect has previously specialized in assisting estate practitioners and trustees to advertise for creditors, and to publish notices looking for missing wills, their blog advises that the development of the Canada Will Registry will aim to provide a comprehensive, Canada-wide system for finding wills.

 

Once the Canada Will Registry amasses 100,000 wills, the program will enable the ability for will searches to be submitted.

According to the NoticeConnect website, the Canada Will Registry will enable lawyers and firms to upload the basic information about wills they are storing, and to organize, transfer and receive related digital records. Once the Canada Will Registry amasses 100,000 wills, the program will enable the ability for will searches to be submitted.

When someone is searching for a will, NoticeConnect will publish a Knowledge of a Will notice and its system will compare and cross-reference the search terms against the system’s registered wills. If the terms match with a registered will, the registry will notify the registering firm or company, and provide them with the searcher’s contact information. The platform is used by lawyers, trustees, banks, and government.

Other pre-existing will registries include Will Check in Ontario, and the BC Wills Registry, maintained by the Vital Statistics Agency in BC.

It will be interesting to see how technology will continue to develop and assist the legal community, and how effective the advancement of will registries will be in combating the challenges of lost or missing wills.

Thanks for reading!

Charlotte McGee

18 Jun

Hull on Estates #574 – Social Media in the Context of Estate Litigation

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Today on Hull on Estates, Noah Weisberg and Nick Esterbauer discuss the role of social media in the context of Estate Litigation.

Should you have any questions, please email us at webmaster@hullandhull.com or leave a comment on our blog.

Click here for more information on Noah Weisberg.

Click here for more information on Nick Esterbauer.

18 Jun

Common Law Spouses in Ontario and Intestacy

Charlotte McGee Common Law Spouses, Estate & Trust, Estate Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estates Tags: 0 Comments

In my previous blog on the benefits of estate planning for millennials, I canvassed some of the ways in which today’s young adult generation differs from the young adults of generations past. One such difference is the increased prevalence of common law relationships in today’s millennial cohort. In a wide-ranging public opinion poll conducted in 2018 by the Angus Reid Institute, 53% of Canadian adults expressed feeling that marriage is “simply not necessary.” This attitude is reflected in rising rates of common law marriage in Canada: as Global News reports, while only 6.3% of Canadians were in common law relationships in 1981, this figure jumped to 21.1% by 2016.

While common law couples may feel no emotional difference from any formally married couple, there are significant differences between some of the legal rights that common law and married couples enjoy. In the estates context in Ontario, for example, common law spouses are treated differently than married spouses when one spouse dies without a Last Will – also known as dying “intestate”. This blog summarizes the relevant law and difference in treatment, below.

There are significant differences between some of the legal rights that common law and married couples enjoy

Common Law Spouses Have No Entitlement on Intestacy

In Ontario, Part II of the Succession Law Reform Act RSO 1990, c S 26 (the “SLRA”) governs how one’s assets will be divided if a person dies intestate.

Pursuant to sections 44 and 45 of the SLRA, when a person dies intestate and leaves behind a surviving spouse and no children (or “issue”), the surviving spouse will be entitled to the entirety of the deceased’s estate.

If the deceased leaves behind a surviving spouse and any children, the surviving spouse will get the first $200,000.00 of the estate (being the current SLRA “preferential share” value). If there is one child, the remainder of any residue is divided equally between the surviving spouse and child. If there is more than one child, the spouse will receive a third of the balance of any residue, while the remaining children will share the other two-thirds equally.

If the estate’s net value after debts, funeral and administration expenses is less than the present SLRA’s “preferential share” value, the surviving spouse is wholly entitled to the deceased spouse’s estate, irrespective of whether there are any surviving children.

Notably, however, the definition of “spouse” in this section does not encompass couples who are not formally married. For the purposes of intestacy, the SLRA adopts the definition of spouse found in section 1 of the Family Law Act, RSO 1990, c F 3, which reads:

“spouse” means either of two persons who:

(a) are married to each other, or

(b) have together entered into a marriage that is voidable or void, in good faith on the part of a person relying on this clause to assert any right. (“conjoint”)

As such, only married spouses are entitled to benefit under the intestacy regime. While a common law spouse may potentially seek redress by making a dependant’s support claim against their deceased spouse’s estate, for example, they are not entitled to a share of their deceased partner’s estate pursuant to the laws of intestacy.

Given the above, it is all the more important for common law spouses to turn their minds toward formulating an estate plan wherein they provide for their partner accordingly.

Thank you for reading!

Charlotte McGee

17 Jun

We the North: Some Thoughts on Domicile

Charlotte McGee Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Wills Tags: , , 0 Comments

Die-hard Raptors fans, band-wagon followers, and even sport-neutral citizens alike could not deny the energy in the Toronto air this past Friday, June 14. This day followed the Raptors’ historic four-point defeat of the Golden State Warriors in game six of the 2019 NBA playoffs the night prior, as well as the raucous, joyful celebrations which rang through the city until the early hours of the morning. The Raptor’s win marks the first time in their 24-season history that the Raptors will be graced with the title of NBA Champion.

In my view, one of the most interesting parts of the Raptors’ championship is the sense of community, togetherness and connectedness to Toronto which the team’s journey has inspired. On Friday morning, the CBC broadcasted clips of fans who had tuned in to cheer the Raptors to victory during game six, both in Toronto, across Canada and internationally. While some of the interviewed  members of the Raptors’ diverse group of fans and followers were born in Toronto, many had since moved to reside permanently in other cities in Canada and across the world. Despite this, these fans still felt a strong patriotism to Toronto inspired by the team’s fight to the top. The diversity in the team’s fan network is also reflected in the Raptors’ own varied makeup: the team itself is comprised of players from several different countries, including Canada, the United States, England, Spain and Cameroon.

The diversity both in the team’s fans and in its members brought my mind to the legal concept of domicile.

The diversity both in the team’s fans and in its members brought my mind to the legal concept of domicile. In an Estates context, there are two types of domicile: one’s “domicile of origin” is where they are born, whereas one’s “domicile of choice” connotes a new place where a party takes residence, with the definitive intention of residing there permanently. One may also abandon their domicile of choice. In Canada, domicile is determined on a province-to-province basis.

In an Estates context, there are two types of domicile: one’s “domicile of origin” and one’s “domicile of choice”

One’s domicile will determine which jurisdiction’s laws will be applicable in particular situations, such as in a dependant’s support claim circumstance, or when one seeks a grant of probate to administrate an Estate, for example. As my colleague Stuart Clark wrote about previously, however, two Canadian cases – Tyrell v Tyrell 2017 ONSC 4063 and Re: Foote Estate 2011 ABCA 1 – seem to suggest conflicting rules surrounding how domicile impacts the administration of one’s Estate. While the Alberta Court of Appeal in Re: Foote Estate stated that the domicile of the Deceased “determines the applicable law for estate administration purposes” – suggesting that it is the testator’s domicile that determines which jurisdiction’s laws are to govern the administration of an estate – the  Ontario Court in Tyrell v. Tyrell stated that “for the purpose of administering the Will, the most significant connecting factor is the residence of the estate trustee.” In Tyrell, notwithstanding that the testator died domiciled in a foreign jurisdiction, the laws of Ontario governed the administration of the estate as the Estate Trustee was located in Ontario. Currently, there are no reported cases which cite Tyrell v. Tyrell has been cited to support this rationale. It will be interesting to see how the legal concept of domicile develops in this respect going forward.

In the meantime, we will see how sports, diversity, and the law intersect when the Raptors parade passes by the Hull & Hull offices this Monday.

Thanks for reading!

Charlotte McGee

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