All About Estates

Cambria? Calibri? Does The Font Matter?

I read an article about quite an amusing case recently.

An executive went to great lengths to shield his properties from creditors. In “1995” a declaration was executed purporting to establish a trust for the executive’s Muskoka cottage and in “2004” a declaration was executed purporting to establish a trust for the executive’s Caledon farm.

The executive claimed that he didn’t legally own the properties but rather they were held in trust. Once the trustee in bankruptcy began investigating, it discovered something wasn’t quite right. After a thorough review of the documentation provided with respect to the ownership of the properties in question, it was determined by a self-described “font detective” that the declarations establishing the trust relationship were actually written in a typeface that had not even been designed yet! How often do we check the typeface of documents? Almost never. Some of us do not even recognize Arial from Times New Roman unless we look closely.

The case was heard by the Ontario Superior Court and cited the expert evidence of a self-described “font detective”. Who knew there was such a profession! Apparently font detectives are used quite frequently. The conclusion of the Ontario Superior Court was that the signed declarations establishing the trust were invalid due to the use of the two different fonts which Microsoft had not designed and released to the public until 2002 (Cambria) and 2007 (Calibri).

If you think documents provided look “off” call your local “font detective”.

About Maureen Berry
Maureen Berry is a partner in the Trusts, Wills, Estates and Charities group at Fasken. Maureen’s practice is focused on wills, estate planning, domestic and international trusts, private corporation taxation, and executive compensation. Maureen also advises charities and non-profit organizations. Working with Canadian and international families, firms, corporations and charitable organizations, she provides advice on all aspects of private client matters. She is a leading expert in the fields of tax law and estate planning. As an Adjunct Professor at Osgoode Hall Law School, she teaches Advanced Estate Planning. Maureen has previously taught corporate tax and international tax at the University of Toronto and Western University, along with the Bar Admission course for up-and-coming lawyers.

1 Comment

  1. David Pylyp

    January 25, 2019 - 2:58 pm

    Clever Clever Article.

    Thank you

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