Listen to Accounting Under the Powers of Attorney
This week on Hull on Estates, Diane and Paul discuss accounting under the powers or attorney, the duty to account after the guarantor has passed away and the De Zorzi Estate v. Read case (2008, O.J. No. 944).
Listen to The Formal Passing of Accounts.
This week on Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana talk about the specifics of what happens when you have to go to court to formally pass accounts.
This week on Hull on Estates, Rick and David discuss procedure under the Substitution Decisions Act and review executor and attorney obligations as well as specific procedures permitting someone to compel an accounting.
Today’s blog is the last in my series addressing preparation for trial in a contested passing. The items discussed this week were certainly not meant to be, nor were they, exhaustive. Preparation necessary for a trial with narrow issues, few documents, few evidentiary concerns and an uncomplicated Estate will obviously be different than a case with numerous issues, voluminous documents, evidentiary issues and a complicated administration. The critical aspect of trial preparation is that it begins at the beginning of a case; not literally, but certainly in the sense of being mindful at pre-trial stages of the evidentiary considerations and how the evidence is to be marshalled and presented.
Today’s blog, which is part of my series this week addressing preparation for trial in a contested passing, deals with several issues regarding evidence at trial.
Rule 52.04 of the Rules of Civil Procedure deals with the marking and numbering of exhibits at trial. Where appropriate and practical, a joint book of documents simplifies the use of documents and the marking of exhibits during the trial. With a joint book of documents, the Judge, the Registrar, each counsel and the witnesses only need to refer to one set of documents, rather than to multiple sets of documents. Depending on issues of admissibility, exhibits can be dealt with by marking each volume as an exhibit or each specific document, within a volume, as it is dealt with.
Today’s blog is a continuation of my blogs this week addressing preparation for trial in a contested passing.
It is important in preparing for trial to prepare summaries of the transcripts of the examinations conducted to assist counsel with locating evidence in the transcripts during trial, including admissions and/or inconsistent statements made by a witness at trial. Having said that counsel should personally review the transcripts as part of trial preparation. By reviewing the transcripts, counsel can address issues involving: (i) the completeness and answers to undertakings/refusals, (ii) admissions made by the respective parties, (iii) incomplete answers provided by the respective parties to questions on the examinations, and (iv) whether additional discovery is needed before trial.
Listen to Preparing for Trials in the Context of Contested Passing of Accounts
In this podcast, Craig Vander Zee and Paul Trudelle discuss trial preparation considerations in the context of a contested passing of accounts.
While contentious passings of accounts are regularly resolved at a pre-trial stage such as mediation, and without the necessity for a hearing, in certain circumstances a contested passing of accounts may only be resolved by way of a trial. In many cases, a successful result at trial is the direct result of the trial preparation.
It is perhaps trite to say, but trial preparation does not begin between the pre-trial conference and the commencement of trial; rather, it begins with the formulation of a strategy for the case, the identification of the issues in dispute, the determination of the evidence required to prove the case and the marshalling of that evidence. As such, while the ultimate strategy for a trial cannot be finalized until the pre-trial stages of the passing have been completed, and counsel have the benefit of a thorough review of the case (before the pre-trial conference), parties ought to be mindful of the matters to be dealt with at trial throughout the litigation and how such matters can be dealt with or addressed during the pre-trial stages, including through documentary disclosure, examinations and by way of orders of the Court (such as an Order Giving Directions or otherwise).
Having said that, my blogs this week will include a series that considers preparation for a trial of a contested passing.
Have a great day.
It is widely assumed, and accepted for that matter, that a formal passing of accounts affords full protection to an estate trustee. The familiar mantra is that those with a financial interest in an estate are not only required to object to the accounts proffered, but must concurrently raise any other issue regarding the overall competency of the estate trustee (succinctly summed by the phrase “you snooze you lose”). However, I recently came across an Ontario Court of Appeal (“C.A.”) case that challenges that proposition.
By way of background, section 49(2) of the Estates Act states: “The judge, on passing the accounts of an executor… has jurisdiction to enter into and make full inquiry and accounting of … the whole property that the deceased was possessed of… [including] its administration and disbursement”. Section 49(3) authorizes a judge to order the estate trustee to pay damages if the estate trustee occasioned financial loss to the estate through misconduct, neglect, or default. It is worth noting that the language is permissive, not mandatory, seemingly providing a beneficiary with the opportunity to make a later complaint.