All About Estates

Category: Capacity Law

Total 77 Posts

The Test for Capacity to Give Evidence and Special Accommodations

Section 16 of the Canada Evidence Act (“CEA”)[i] sets out the test for capacity to give evidence: 16(1) If a proposed witness is a person of fourteen years of age or older whose mental capacity is challenged, the court shall, before permitting the person to give evidence, conduct an inquiry…

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Incapable People and Limitation Periods

When does the limitation period start running regarding an incapable person who does not have a formal litigation guardian? Despite the language of the Limitations Act, 2002, a court found in Rekowski v. Renfrew (County), 2019 ONSC 2852 that the answer to this question is not clear. In 2009, Kenneth was…

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Undue Influence in Estate Planning

This Blog was written by: Alicia Godin, Estate and Trust Consultant, Scotiatrust Historically the area of estates was not particularly litigious, but as families and financial circumstances become more complex, litigation involving estates has become more frequent. Frequently touted, but notoriously difficult to prove, is the allegation of someone being…

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It Ain’t Over Til It’s Over*

A “passing of accounts” refers to the process of formally preparing and presenting accounts to the beneficiaries and the court. The accounts are either approved (i.e., “passed”) in the form presented, amended by court order and passed in revised form, or not passed because the court is not satisfied with…

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Some Thoughts on Explaining Differences in Expert Opinions

Experts giving evidence in an Ontario court are obliged to sign an acknowledgement that they are independent, with their obligation being to the court and not to the party who retained them. Nonetheless, scepticism regarding objectiveness and discrepancies between expert opinions remains, as demonstrated in the reasons of Justice Mesbur…

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When is a Gift not a Gift?

Styres v. Martin 2018 ONCA 956 is a case of a gift that unfolded a saga (not over yet and far from it) of diminished capacity, alleged breach of trust, breach of fiduciary duty, unjust enrichment, undue influence to name a few. Mr. Styres lived in a house he built…

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Some Suggestions on Evaluating Undue Influence in the Court of Public Opinion

In recent weeks, Canadian politics has been rocked by the so-called “SNC-Lavalin Scandal.” One of the allegations has been whether former Attorney General Jody Wilson-Raybould was pressured or unduly influenced by the Prime Minister’s Office to resolve the corruption and fraud case against SNC-Lavalin in an effort to spare the…

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Understanding the Role of Section 3 Counsel

The recent case of Sylvester v. Britton, 2018 ONSC 6620 (“Sylvester”) provides an excellent review of the law regarding incapacity, attorneys for property and personal care, capacity assessments, and other issues which often arise in estate/capacity litigation cases. While the decision addresses many interesting points, this blog will focus upon…

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Estate Applied to Have Filings Made by Taxpayer Lacking Mental Capacity Set Aside

In Ntakos Estate v. The Queen, 2018 TCC 224, a family business was owned by the deceased taxpayer, Anna (after her husband passed away in 1995) with two brothers-in-law through a holding corporation. Anna’s mental and physical health declined from 1995 until her death in 2004. She was diagnosed in…

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Lucid Intervals and Testamentary Capacity

As I understand, “lucid interval” is a legal doctrine that holds that testamentary capacity may exist at a moment in time even though the testator’s general state would be inconsistent with the conclusion that he possessed testamentary capacity.[i] The idea is that an individual who suffers from mental illness or…

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