Tag: Ontario Bar Association

09 Nov

November is “Make a Will Month”

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The Ontario Bar Association (“OBA”) has once again designated November as “Make a Will Month”. Approximately 56% of Canadians do not have a will. This issue first arose in a 2012 LawPRO survey and has been confirmed as an ongoing concern according to a CIBC survey in August 2015.

Furthermore, according to this article in the Law Times, the percentage of lawyers who do not yet have wills is about the same as in the general population. According to Jordan Atin, many of the factors that might discourage someone from taking the time to make a will, apply equally to lawyers. Among the various factors, the most obvious is the perception that making a will is a long, complicated process and that having that conversation is not an easy thing to do.

However, the estate planning process does not have to be something awful. Mr. Atin’s experience is that clients almost always feel relieved after they finally make their will. Despite the time and potential stress involved in the will-making process, the peace of mind that will come afterward should serve as a motivating factor.

This year’s “Make a Will Month” may be even more important than it has been in the past. Notwithstanding the fact that everyone should have a will regardless of the month, as of January 1, 2016, there will be some changes to the rules governing testamentary trusts, as has been discussed on this blog before . Going forward, tax treatment of testamentary trusts will be much different than in the past. Graduated Rate Estates (GREs) will no longer be available for testamentary trusts that continue past the first three years following a testator’s death. There will also be a shift in responsibility for income tax to a surviving spouse’s estate rather than a deceased spouse’s estate.

If you have not already made your will, consider participating in the OBA’s “Make a Will Month”, as well as seeking advice with respect to the upcoming changes to the rules.


Thanks for reading.

Ian Hull

11 Mar

Assisted Reproductive Technology and Succession Law – Hull on Estates Podcast #101

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Listen to Assisted Reproductive Technology and Succession Law

In this episode of Hull on Estates, Megan Connolly and Rick Bickhram discuss some interesting legal issues that surround assisted reproductive technology and succession law.

Comments? Leave us a message on our comment line at 206-350-6636, send us an email at hull.lawyers@gmail.com or you can post a comment on our blog at http://estatelaw.hullandhull.com/.


06 Jun

Ode to Brian at the OBA Trusts & Estates Section Year End Dinner

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In Paul Trudelle’s blog of May 31, 2007, Paul commented on the tribute to Brian Schnurr at the Ontario Bar Association Trusts & Estates Section Year End Dinner held on May 30, 2007.  At the Dinner, Brian received the OBA’s Award of Excellence for Trusts & Estates.

Aside from speeches regaling and praising Brian’s accomplishments there was also a surprise tribute written by Rodney Hull Q.C. LSM (with apologies to Gilbert and Sullivan) which was sung by Duncan Miller:


He is the very model of a Chancery practitioner
And knows the subtle difference ‘twixt respondent and petitioner
As well he knows that naught with wills is elementary
Except it’s clear that intention must be testamentary
He draws his wills in language incomprehensible
And fobs them off on clients as meaningful and sensible
Although his fees are oft described in terms such as rapacious
They are always paid on time with thanks from clients most gracious
He knows as well to draft his wills with very great acuity
He also knows to stay away from gifts in perpetuity
Unless of course the wish is to benefit some charity
In which case he must specify intent with greater clarity
With words he often tends to convolute
To change a gift from contingent to absolute
At home of little else they talk but the rule in Browne and Moody
To do otherwise it would be a breach of his clear duty
Interpretation of his wills he leaves for the courts to unravel
Which provides an ample and extensive fund for his extensive travel

Duncan did a very charming job of bringing the verse to life and capping a wonderful evening.



04 Jun

Ontario Bar Association, Trusts and Estates Section Executive for 2007-2008

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Last week, Paul Trudelle commented in two of his blogs on the well-deserved awards presented at the Ontario Bar Association, Trusts and Estates Section Year End Dinner that was held on Wednesday, May 30, 2007 at the Royal York Hotel. Specifically, Brian Schnurr was awarded the Award of Excellence, Jordan Atin the Hoffstein Book Prize and Peter Lawson the Widdifield Award.

In addition, Corina Weigl, the Chair of the 2006-2007 Section Executive presented a report on the past year’s activities undertaken, and dealt with, by the Section Executive.

Following Ms. Weigl’s report, the slate for the 2007-2008 Section Executive was dealt with and confirmed.

The 2007-2008 Section Executive is: Jordan Atin (Chair), Kimberly Whaley (Vice-Chair), Corina Weigl (Past-Chair) and Suzana Popovic-Montag (Secretary), together with the following Members-at-Large: Ann Elise Alexander, Robert Coates, Ed Esposto, Jan Goddard, Susan Heakes, Danielle Joel, Sean Lawler, Mitchell Leitman, Joanna Ringrose, Susan Stamm, Sender Tator, Craig Vander Zee, Mary Wahbi and Melanie Yach.

I thoroughly enjoyed working with this past year’s Section Executive and look forward to working with the 2007-2008 Section Executive and Jordan, its new Chair.

Thanks for reading,


26 Apr

Keeping the Court Informed

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Typically, at the beginning of each day in motions courts, the sitting Judge purges the list of matters scheduled to be heard that day; that is the Judge goes through the list to see which matters are on consent, those that are not opposed and those in which the parties wish to proceed. With the latter matters, the Judge may inquire as to the amount of the time the parties anticipate for their respective submissions. The Judge then usually hears the consent matters and those that are not opposed first because they may be able to be heard quite quickly and minimize the time in Court for the lawyers on those matters.

Before appearing in Court on a date, counsel are required to file with the Court, either two or three days (depending on the respective Court office) before the hearing date, a Confirmation of Motion form, confirming if the matter is proceeding, and if so, on what basis and in respect of what issues. The Court files pertaining to the matters proceeding on a given day are, generally speaking, given to the sitting Judge the day before.

Often matters which were confirmed on the Confirmation of Motion form as proceeding end up getting adjourned on consent, or proceed on fewer issues than indicated. Judges become frustrated when such situations arise if counsel, knowing that the status of a matter has changed, did not advise the Court as soon as possible with the result that the Judge needlessly spent significant time reviewing a file which in the end was not proceeding, in whole or in part.

On March 27, 2007, at an Ontario Bar Association, Trusts & Estates section meeting attended by a panel of several Justices, Justice Perell noted that to assist Judges in preparing for the next day’s matters, counsel can do the following:

(i) specifically list on the Confirmation of Motion form the materials that are being relied upon by the parties,

(ii) if the file is extensive, have someone attend at Court the day before the hearing date to organize the Court file and determine if all of the materials necessary for the hearing are in the file and, if not, to file a copy

(iii) write to the Court office should the status of the matter change between the filing of the Confirmation of Motion form and the hearing date, and

(iv) write to the Court office, if necessary, to advise as to the materials that are required for the hearing.

By following these suggestions we all benefit as the Court will be able spend less time on the matters that need less time and more on the substantive ones that justifiably need more time and due consideration.

Have a good day.

29 Mar

Tips From the Bench – Ontario Bar Association Trust & Estates Section Meeting

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On Tuesday, March 27, 2007, I attended the Ontario Bar Association Trust & Estates Section Meeting. Kathryn Bennett opened the meeting with a discussion 2007 federal budget and how it affects individuals from an estate planning point of view. Some of these points were touched upon in our earlier blogs.

The meeting continued with presentations by Justices Greer, Croll, Perell and Spies of the estates list. They addressed what the estates bench and bar can do better. The judges touched upon the following matters:

  • The Estates court will be sitting every week this summer;  
  • "1 1/2" judges will be sitting every week (1 in the summer months);  
  • At some point, an initiative will be put in place whereby the first appearance for long applications will be a 15 minute timetabling appointment;  
  • The judges stressed the importance of advising the estates office early if a motion or application is not proceeding, or if it is to be proceeding on consent;  
  • An e-scheduling pilot project will be put in place soon;  
  • The judges emphasized the advisability of filing a family tree as part of the record;
  • In guardianship applications, where the Public Guardian and Trustee has sent a letter raising issues, it may be advisable for a supplementary affidavit to be filed setting out how the issues raised by the Public Guardian and Trustee have been addressed; 
  • Counsel should try to simplify matters by setting out in the confirmation form what materials are to be reviewed by the judge, and, possibly, by attending at the court office the day before the proceeding in order to tag what materials are to be reviewed;
  • Counsel should consider the advisability of having a case management judge appointed in certain proceedings; 
  • When submitting an "unusual" over the counter motion, counsel should consider sending an explanatory covering letter, and requesting that the matter be put before a judge.
  • Mr. Justice Perell referred to a recent work which noted that in an information economy, what is scarce or valuable is attention. Applying this to advocacy, counsel should ensure that their message is effectively and efficiently packaged so that judicial attention is captured and focused. Counsel should have this in mind when considering the procedures to be used to determine the issues, and when preparing materials.

Until tomorrow,

Paul Trudelle 


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