All About Estates

Karen Watters

Total 12 Posts Website
Karen is a senior estates litigator who represents clients in a variety of proceedings including will challenges, dependant’s relief claims, guardianship applications, and powers of attorney disputes. Karen obtained her law degree from Queen’s University and was called to the Ontario Bar in 2011.

Costs where Will Challenge was Not Frivolous

On December 21, 2022, the Court of Appeal released its decision in Di Nunzio v Di Nunzio, 2022 ONCA 889 (CanLII) (“Di Nunzio”). The testator’s daughter appealed the lower court’s decision dismissing the challenge to her mother’s will (Di Nunzio v. Di Nunzio, 2021 ONSC 6689 (CanLII)). The daughter appealed…

Continue Reading

By Branch But Within Its Own Class: Interpreting Per Stirpes in a Will

Per stirpes. It is a term that is often used in estate planning and will drafting yet is also one which frequently causes problems. Perhaps because the meaning is not always understood, even by estates practitioners, and therefore the term is misused. Or it could be because the term can…

Continue Reading

You Wear the Executor Hat First

It’s not easy being an Estate Trustee and a beneficiary. However, an Estate Trustee must be ever mindful that she wears the executor “hat” first. In other words, the duties an Estate Trustee owes to the beneficiaries must come before the Estate Trustee’s own interests. Otherwise an Estate Trustee will…

Continue Reading

Campaign Donors Permitted to Advance Trust Claim

GoFundMe is arguably the most recognized crowd funding platform used by many who seek to raise funds from the public domain to support a defined goal. Legal issues have been raised surrounding the funds donated through platforms such as GoFundMe, particularly when the funds are used for something other than…

Continue Reading

Ordering a Capacity Assessment When it is Resisted

Section 105 of the Courts of Justice Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. C.43 and s. 79 of the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992, S.O. 1992, c. 30 provide the court with authority to order a capacity assessment, even when the individual objects. It is an extraordinary power but not one that is…

Continue Reading

Compensation as Attorney for Personal Care: Guided by Reasonableness and Proportionality

The 2021 decision in Sasso v. Sasso[1] was recently affirmed by the Ontario Court of Appeal. The Sasso case has a few interesting aspects to it but for the purpose of this blog I focus on the claim for compensation which was made by an attorney for personal care. Although…

Continue Reading

Best Gets The Rest: Doctrine of Ademption Alive and Well

In Canada estates and trusts law aims to give effect to a testator’s intentions. This principle is paramount and part of the rationale for the common law doctrine of ademption: if property which is gifted in a will no longer exists at the time of the testator’s death, the gift…

Continue Reading

Is It A Forgery?

Many of us in the estates and trusts world have encountered a situation where a client or party has alleged that a signature or handwritten note is forged. The evidence of a forensic document examiner, or handwriting expert, is sometimes led to assist a party in establishing that the signature…

Continue Reading

Don’t Assume You Can Access Your Money

Litigation can be expensive. At the forefront of the minds of many parties is the question of how to pay the legal costs. Sometimes the money that a party needs (or wants) to access in order to pay for the litigation is at the centre of the dispute. This can…

Continue Reading

Increase In House Value Means $1.4 million Gift to SPCA

For many people who own the house in which they live, their home is the most valuable asset in their estate. In many communities in Canada, house values have steadily increased over the last several years and particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This means that the value of an estate…

Continue Reading