All About Estates

Gillian Fournie

Total 62 Posts Website
Gillian is a lawyer with de VRIES LITIGATION LLP. Her practice focuses on the area of trusts and estates litigation. gfournie@devrieslitigation.com

The Judicial Preference for Non-Intervention in Guardianship Disputes

Guardianship disputes can be stressful and costly. Though each party wishes to do what is in the best interests of their incapable loved one, they struggle to reach an agreement about how to manage the incapable person’s personal care or property. These conflicts often make their way to the courts for resolution. But should they?

Continue Reading

Suspicious Circumstances – For Wills Only

Because the doctrine of suspicious circumstances was developed in respect of probate and wills, it cannot easily be exported into other areas of law, including contract law.

Continue Reading

Can You Sever Joint Tenancy After Death?

Joint tenancy has a lot in common with the TV show Survivor: the goal is to outlast your fellow castaways to win the prize – full ownership of the property. To escape this game show mentality, owners may sever the joint tenancy.

Continue Reading

Estate Trustee Compensation – Discretionary Factors

Estate trustees are entitled to seek compensation for their work. Unless an exception applies, the court will exercise its discretion to determine the amount.

Continue Reading

Life Interest or Licence to Use?

A person’s house is often their most valuable assets – both monetarily and emotionally. As a result, testators tend to put a lot of thought into who, and how, they wish to leave their house. However, as is always the case, best laid plans often go awry. One example of this, explored in the 2022 Court of Appeal of Ontario decision Barsoski Estate v Wesley, is when it is unclear whether the will gifts someone with a life interest in the house or a licence to use the property.

Continue Reading

Evidence of Contempt – More than Hearsay

If alleging contempt, more than hearsay evidence is required.

Continue Reading

Affidavit Evidence – A Refresher

Motions and applications rely on affidavit evidence – written statements sworn under oath. This is in contrast to actions, where evidence is provided by live witnesses who are examined or cross-examined in court (this is what you see on TV dramas). Relying on affidavit evidence translates into less time spent…

Continue Reading

Proving Charitable Purposes

Charitable purpose trusts are given special status in the law. While most other types of trusts must have a clear end date, charitable purpose trusts may live forever. All other types of trusts have to have specific and defined beneficiaries, yet charitable purpose trusts may exist in order to further…

Continue Reading

Disclosure of a Party’s Medical Records

In will challenges, it is common to seek the disclosure of the testator’s medical records for the period around the time the will was signed. The medical records are directly relevant to the question of whether or not she had the requisite capacity to sign the will. While the testator…

Continue Reading

Potential Cost of Witnessing a Will

Across Canada, the provinces have built safeguards against undue influence into their law regulating wills: if the witness or the witness’ spouse receives a gift of property under the will, that gift is void. Unfortunately, this rule has the potential to disinherit innocent beneficiaries who unwittingly agree to act as witnesses to the will. This was the situation before the Supreme Court of British Columbia in Wolk v Wolk, 2021 BCSC 1881.

Continue Reading