All About Estates

Category: Testamentary Capacity

Total 23 Posts

Trusts and Trust Resettlements – Variations and Circumstances

Variation(s) of a trust agreement, after it is settled, does carry the risk of causing a resettlement of a trust or a disposition of a beneficiary’s interest in the trust, with serious tax consequences. But not all variations lead to resettlement, fortunately. Recently in an advance ruling, the Canada revenue…

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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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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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Is it Improper for Counsel to Assist an Expert Witness in the Preparation of the Expert’s Report?

Expert evidence constitutes an exception to the rule that witnesses may only testify as to facts, not opinions, and that it is the exclusive prerogative of the trier of fact to draw inferences from proven facts. The expert evidence exception operates where specialized knowledge is required to determine the implications…

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Where’s There is a Will (and a Clear One), There is a Way!

In Campbell v Evert 2018 ONSC 593, the deceased had, in the decade prior to her passing, transferred to Mr. Evert (one of the “kids”) the family cottage valued at $145,000. In her will later that year,  she made a specific bequest of $145,000 to Ms. Campbell, the other “kid’,…

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Undue Influence by “Unwitting Proxy”

Undue influence results in benefits to a beneficiary/donee which would not have occurred except for the undue influence imposed by the beneficiary/donee upon the testator/donor. Undue influence can be conceptualized into two distinct types: (1) “actual” undue influence and (2) “presumed” undue influence. Actual undue influence is concerned with coercive…

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Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) and Undue Influence

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Canada held that the ban on Medical Assistance in Dying (MAiD) was unconstitutional (for a summary of the decision, click here). However, MAiD is not available to all persons; to qualify, a person requesting MAiD must have a grievous and irremediable medical condition including…

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More than a Suspicion: The Minimal Evidentiary Threshold

A recent Ontario decision, Martin v. Martin [1], considered the minimal evidentiary threshold required to obtain documentary discovery in a will challenge as set out in Seepa v. Seepa.  For further background on Seepa, read Rebecca Studin’s previous blog post on that decision. In Martin, the Applicant (the named Estate…

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Capacity Assessments and Biases to Beware of

Capacity assessments regarding capacity to manage property, testamentary capacity or capacity to appoint a power of attorney for property (POA), whether conducted contemporaneously or retrospectively, rely upon whatever materials/information that is provided to an assessor to review. Materials may include relevant medical records, previous wills and POA documents, interview of…

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The Ten D’s of Geriatric Psychiatry

In my consulting work, I have provided independent medical/legal assessments of seniors regarding capacity to sign powers of attorney, capacity to manage property and personal care, capacity to marry, capacity to provide instructions, capacity to provide evidence and both retrospective and contemporaneous assessments of testamentary capacity and capacity to provide…

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