Tag: video

09 Apr

E-Courts during Covid-19 – What happens to the “open court” principle?

Stuart Clark General Interest Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

The way that we practice law has shifted rapidly over these past couple of weeks as we social distance ourselves. This includes the adoption of electronic means of communication such as video conferencing for things that would have seemed impossible only a couple of weeks ago such as the witnessing of Wills or the commissioning of affidavits. There has also been a significant expansion of the courts hearing matters virtually, with the court currently hearing urgent matters virtually through the use of  video conferencing or conference calls with the scope of what is being heard appearing to be expanded.

Although, generally speaking, I believe that most legal practitioners would likely be in agreement that the court and/or the various administrative bodies have responded fairly quickly to implementing new electronic methods and means of practicing law under trying times, this does not necessarily mean that the shift to the more virtual form of practicing law is not without its hiccups or concerns.

One of the areas that may need further consideration is the application of the “open court” principle if hearings are to shift to being heard virtually. It is generally accepted that a fundamental principle of our justice system is that the courts are open to being attended by anyone in the general public, with the court only restricting the general public’s access to attend and/or review a matter under very limited circumstances. As matters shift to being heard virtually, with a potential attendee to a video and/or telephone conference likely needing an access code to attend the matter, is there the risk that the “open court” principle could be impacted?

The Toronto Star recently reported about the steps and efforts that they were having to take to still be provided with electronic access to matters before the court during the pandemic. Although the article notes that they were having difficulty being provided with access for certain matters, it noted that they had been successful in obtaining electronic access to matters in others. Hopefully as time progresses any issues are able to be worked out.

One unknown element is whether any of these changes will become permanent after the pandemic has subsided. If elements such as virtual hearings should become more permanent steps will likely need to be taken to ensure that as part of the more permanent shift to virtual and electronic hearings that the “open court” principle is not lost.

Thank you for reading and stay safe and healthy.

Stuart Clark

27 Aug

Are Oral and/or Videotaped Wills Valid?

Nick Esterbauer Estate Planning, In the News, Wills Tags: , , , , , , 0 Comments

A recent news article refers to the struggle of father of accused killer Bryer Schmegelsky to obtain video footage from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The father’s lawyer has referred to the video as the accused’s “last will and testament.”  It was apparently recorded very shortly before death and expresses funeral and burial preferences.

Oral wills (also known as nuncupative wills) are recognized in select jurisdictions, including some American states:

  • New York law provides that an oral will, heard by at least two witnesses and made by a member of the active military or a mariner while at sea can be valid and will expire one year after discharge from the armed forces or three years after a sailor, if the testator survives the situation of peril;
  • In North Carolina, an oral will made while the testator’s death is imminent and in circumstances where the testator does not survive in the presence of two or more witnesses may be valid;
  • In Texas, oral wills made in the presence of three or more witnesses on the testator’s deathbed before September 2007 are valid in respect of personal property of limited value.

As most state legislation is silent on the issue of videotaped wills, if the testator’s oral wishes are videotaped, they must generally meet the criteria for a valid oral will to be effective.

However, in Canada, a will must be in writing, signed by the testator, and witnessed by two people.  Alternatively, a will that is entirely in the testator’s handwriting and unwitnessed may be valid.  Because Ontario is a strict compliance jurisdiction, any inconsistency with the formal requirements, as set out in the Succession Law Reform Act, renders a will invalid.

While a videotaped statement intended to be viewed posthumously may not be a valid will in Ontario and other Canadian provinces, it can nevertheless be used to express the deceased’s final wishes, for example with respect to the disposition of his or her remains (which are typically precatory rather than enforceable, even if appearing within a written document), and may assist a family in finding closure following an unexpected loss.

Thank you for reading.

Nick Esterbauer

11 Apr

New Practice Advisory for Video Conferencing in the Toronto Estates List: Effective March 8, 2017

Doreen So Continuing Legal Education, Estate & Trust, General Interest, In the News, Litigation, News & Events Tags: , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Our firm attended the OBA Professional Development Dinner With Your Honourable Estates List Judges on April 5, 2017.  The topic of the new practice advisory on video conferencing, and its intended use, was one of the topics that were discussed that evening.

This particular practice advisory is applicable only to 9:30 scheduling appointments on the Toronto Estates List and it was made in accordance with Rule 1.08 of the Rules of Civil Procedure.  The new practice advisory is clear that, unless otherwise directed by the court, video conferencing is available in consent matters, unopposed matters, and scheduling matters.  Parties or counsel who chose to appear by video conference must make their own arrangements and they may use CourtCall without prior Court approval.  An appearance by CourtCall should be communicated to the Court in either the request or confirmation form filed for the appearance.  As a matter of convenience, the Order, once issue and entered, will be sent to you by CourtCall.
For those who are interested, further details with respect to what CourtCall is and how it works are available on their website, https://courtcall.com.
Any other arrangements with alternative technologies for this purpose will require prior Court approval.

According to the Honourable Estates List Judges who were present during the Dinner, regardless of whether a matter is on consent or unopposed, video conference may still be less than ideal in situations where substantive relief is sought, such as an unopposed guardianship application.

For future OBA Trusts and Estates Law events like the Dinner, please check out the section group here.

Thanks for reading,

Doreen So

16 Sep

Will Challenge Litigation – Part 5 – Hull on Estate and Succession Planning

Hull & Hull LLP Capacity, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Litigation, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Or, listen to the audio version of Will Challenge Litigation – Part 5

This week on Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana continue their discussion on the Will Challenge Process, step by step.

They continue to discuss the process of will challenges in closer detail. What makes a good case? They talk about the five different grounds upon which a will can be challenged:

  1. Lack of testamentary capacity
  2. Existence of suspicious circumstances
  3. Will not having been properly executed
  4. Existence of undue influence
  5. Possibility of fraud

If you have any comments, send us an email at hullandhull@gmail.com or call us on the comment line at 206-457-1985 or leave a comment on our blog.

10 Sep

Will Challenge Litigation – Part 4 – Hull on Estate and Succession Planning Video Podcast #129

Hull & Hull LLP Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Litigation, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

 

This week on Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana continue their discussion on the Will Challenge Process, step by step.

They continue to discuss the value of the discovery process and intense investigation. The goal is to get to the mediation process as soon as possible. New evidence may lead to the next stage: the pre-trial. Ian and Suzana talk about the pre-trial process and what you can expect during this stage.

If you have any comments, send us an email at hullandhull@gmail.com or call us on the comment line at 206-457-1985 or leave a comment on our blog.

15 Jul

Strategies to Prevent Estate Litigation – Hull on Estates #119

Hull & Hull LLP Hull on Estates, Hull on Estates, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes, Show Notes Tags: , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Listen to Strategies to Prevent Estate Litigation

This week on Hull on Estates, Natalia Angelini and Rick Bickhram discuss tools and strategies to prevent estate litigation.

Comments? Send us an email at hull.lawyers@gmail.com, call us on the comment line at 206-350-6636, or leave us a comment on the Hull on Estates blog.

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08 Apr

Administration of the Assets of the Estate – Hull on Estates and Succession Planning #107

Hull & Hull LLP Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Podcasts Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Listen to Administration of the Assets of the Estate

This week on Hull on Estates and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana discuss things to consider when administrating the assets of an estate and point out burdens of being and executor.

Comments? Send us an email at hullandhull@gmail.com, call us on the comment line at 206-457-1985 or leave us a comment on the Hull on Estates and Succession Planning blog.

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05 Feb

Asset Particulars – Hull on Estate and Succession Planning #98

Hull & Hull LLP Estate & Trust, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Podcasts, PODCASTS / TRANSCRIBED, Show Notes Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , 0 Comments

Listen to Asset Particulars

This week on Hull on Estate and Succession Planning, Ian and Suzana talk about the importance of keeping track of asset details.

Comments? Send us an email at hullandhull@gmail.com, call us on the comment line at 206-457-1985, or leave us a comment on the Hull on Estate and Succession Planning blog.

 

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