All About Estates

Karen Watters

Total 19 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. More of Karen's blogs can be found at https://devrieslitigation.com/author/kwatters/

Indemnification of Estate Trustees and Blended Costs Awards: A Refresher

A party needs leave to appeal when it is appealing only a costs decision. Leave was granted in the case of Pletch v. Pletch Estate, 2024 ONSC 1411 (CanLII) (Ont. Div. Crt) (“Pletch Estate”), where an estate trustee was not awarded any costs of the application.  In Pletch Estate the…

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Analysis of Undue Influence is Case Specific

The applicant in Roe v. Roe, 2022 ONSC 5821 (CanLII), was not successful in setting aside his mom’s will on the basis of undue influence and “insane delusions”.  He was the only son (of four) who was disinherited in his mom’s will.  This was a departure from the mom’s previous…

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Striking a Balance With Temporary Guardianship Orders

Conflicting opinions about what is in the best interest of an incapable adult is at the core of many guardianship disputes. For example, adult siblings may disagree about the level of care their parent should be receiving or where their parent should live. Although rare, sometimes the conflicting views are…

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The Deceased’s Knowledge of Parentage is a Factor in Dependant’s Relief Claims

Many of us know that a court can make an order for the adequate and proper support of a deceased’s dependants where the deceased has not done so. Part V of the Succession Law Reform Act, RRO 1190, c. S. 26 (“SLRA”) identifies the persons who could be considered a…

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“Hypothetical and Premature”: Challenge of Will, POAs, and Trust While Grantor Alive and Capable

A few months ago the Ontario Court of Appeal released its decision in Palichuk v. Palichuk, 2023 ONCA 116 (CanLII) (“Palichuk”) which upheld the decision of the applications judge. The applications judge dismissed a guardianship application and awarded costs against the appellant. The appellant sought guardianship of her mom and…

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Proper Support Within The Wide Range Of Options

Determining proper support in dependants’ relief claims is notoriously difficult and highly fact-driven. A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice is a helpful summary of the applicable law in dependants’ relief claims. It also includes an analysis of why the deceased’s framework and structure for her son’s…

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A Refresher: Knowledge and Approval and its Connection to Suspicious Circumstances

A testator must have knowledge and approved of the contents of her will. This is one of the requisite elements for proving a will in a solemn form. Knowledge and approval, and its closely related cousin of due execution, is generally viewed as an easier test to meet compared with…

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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…

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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…

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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…

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