Tag: Paul Trudelle

24 Apr

Zombies and Severed Parts

Paul Emile Trudelle Estate & Trust Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

“This is a case about a ‘zombie’ deed.”

So begins the decision in Thompson v. Elliott Estate, 2020 ONSC 1004, a decision of Justice MacLeod-Beliveau.

The case addresses the effect of “zombie” deeds, and whether such a deed can result in the severance of a joint tenancy.

Justice MacLeod explains that a “zombie” is a folklore reference to a person who is reanimated through magic after their death. A “zombie deed” is a transfer of an interest of land that is registered after the death of the grantor as if the grantor was alive.

In the case in question, Husband and Wife owned a home as joint tenants. Wife signed an Acknowledgement and Direction, transferring her interest in the home to herself, for the purposes of severing the joint tenancy. However, through lawyer inadvertence, the transfer was not registered with the Land Registry Office until after Wife’s death.

If the joint tenancy was severed, Wife’s half-interest in the home would pass through her estate to her children from a prior marriage. If the joint tenancy was not severed, it would pass to Husband.

Husband argued that the registration was improper, and therefore did not sever the joint tenancy.

The court agreed that the registration of the transfer after Wife’s death was improper. The lawyer should not have registered it. In many cases, the registration would be rejected by the Land Registry Office. However, the LRO is often not able to determine whether the registration is improper. In the case before the court, the lawyer registering the transfer had falsified many of the “law statements” required when registering the transfer.

Although the transfer was improperly registered, the court found that the joint tenancy was, however, actually severed. A joint tenancy can be severed by a transfer of a joint interest to oneself. Whether a joint tenancy is severed is a question of fact based on the evidence.

Of note is the holding that it is the “delivery” of the transfer and not the actual registration of the transfer that determines whether the joint tenancy is severed. The court held that there was sufficient evidence to establish that Wife clearly intended to sever the joint tenancy by signing the Acknowledgment and Direction and by giving immediate and unconditional instructions to her lawyer to register the transfer.

Zombie deeds are sometimes used to avoid probate taxes and fees. The deceased signs the Acknowledgment and Direction before death, but, on title, remains owner of the property. After death, the deed is registered to transfer title to intended beneficiaries. This practice is improper.

Thanks for reading. Have a great weekend.

Paul Trudelle

03 Mar

Hull on Estates #590 – Substantial Compliance vs. Strict Compliance

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In today’s podcast, Paul Trudelle and Kira Domratchev discuss the British Columbia Supreme Court’s decision in Hubschi Estate (Re), 2019 BCSC 2040, and the factors considered by the Court in holding that the document found on the deceased’s computer was a Will in accordance with the curative provisions of the relevant legislation.

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08 Oct

Hull on Estates #581 – Minimal Evidentiary Threshold in Will Challenges

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On today’s podcast, Paul Trudelle and Rebecca Rauws discuss the recent decision of Naismith v Clarke, 2019 ONSC 5280, and the minimal evidentiary threshold test for will challenges.

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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).

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21 May

Hull on Estates #572 – Will Challenges and Mistake of Fact

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This week on Hull on Estates, Paul Trudelle and Christina Canestraro discuss Cavanagh et al. v Sutherland et al., in which the Ontario Superior Court of Justice addresses questions of fact and law related to motions for summary judgment and mistake of fact.

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05 Mar

Hull on Estates #567 – The decision of Kot v Kot

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This week on Hull on Estates, Paul Trudelle and Kira Domratchev discuss the decision of Kot v Kot, 2018 SKQB 338, and the evidence required to be demonstrated by the party challenging a Will.

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24 Dec

Hull on Estates #562 – Revisiting the Pecore Principles: Tiedemann v Tiedemann

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In today’s podcast, Paul and Garrett discuss the decision in Tiedemann v Tiedemann and revisit some legal principles from the Pecore decision that are often overlooked in light of the well-known analysis on the presumption of resulting trust.

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16 Oct

Hull on Estates #557 – Milne Estate and the Validity of Multiple Wills

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In today’s podcast, Paul Trudelle and Sayuri Kagami discuss the recent decision of Re Milne Estate, 2018 ONSC 4174, where Justice Dunphy of the Ontario Superior Court found a Will to be invalid where it provided the Estate Trustee with the discretion to determine whether assets might fall under the Will or not. At the time of recording, it was unknown whether the decision would be appealed. It is now confirmed that the decision is under appeal.

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07 Aug

Hull on Estates #552 – Distribution in light of a number of potential Wills

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In today’s podcast, Paul Trudelle and Rebecca Rauws discuss the recent decision of Eissmann v Kuntz, 2018 ONSC 3650 and the distribution of an estate in light of a number of potential Wills.

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29 May

Hull on Estates #547 – Test for Mutual Wills

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This week on Hull on Estates, Paul Trudelle and Doreen So discuss the test for mutual wills in the decision of Rammage v. Estate of Roussel.

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