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Allan Law Mediation Practice

We are pleased to announce the launch of Allan Law Mediation, our new family law mediation practice.  Jason K. Allan is now offering his services as a mediator for family law disputes, including cases involving: Division of Property Child Support Spousal Support Child Custody, Access and Parenting Issues Related Family Law Matters Mediation can be a cost effective way for spouses to resolve their matrimonial disputes on their own terms.  For more information on the mediation practice, please visit the mediation website: Allan Law Mediation.

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Missing and Presumed Dead: Re Puffer

The Re Puffer decision provides an interesting look at the test involved to administer the estate of someone who has gone missing. In this case, the individual in question, Robert Puffer, went missing on June 26, 2007 (the case was heard in June 2012).  Apparently, on the day he disappeared, Robert told his family that he was going to his cottage alone.  A search of the cottage the next day by a family member determined that a kayak was missing.  Robert’s vehicle was later found in a parking lot on the shore of Lake Huron.  The evidence suggested that the vehicle…

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Cowderoy v. Sorkos Estate: Proprietary Estopple

The recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court of Justice in Cowderoy v. Sorkos Estate (2012) brings to mind the expression, “a promise made is a debt unpaid.” In Cowderoy v. Sorkos Estate, a grandfather promised to leave his cottage and farm to his two grandsons as an inheritance if they assisted him with the upkeep and maintenance of the properties. For 25 years, the grandsons upheld their end of deal, performing extensive maintenance work on the properties. When the grandfather died, the grandsons learned that contrary to the verbal agreement years earlier, they were not in fact left the properties…

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Online Accounts after Death

When most people contemplate their assets for estate planning purposes, they often do not consider “digital property,” points out a recent article in the Chicago Tribune. Yet, in today’s online world, passwords and online records have taken on a great deal of importance.  As stated in the article: “Nowadays everything from photos and music to financial statements and tax documents are increasingly likely to be created, stored or accessed via computers, mobile phones or other devices.” While the ease of access to such data is convenient, the online format can make it difficult for a fiduciary administering the estate of…

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Five Mistakes that Estate Executors Make

Being an executor is no easy task.  In fact, the role can be fraught with challenges. In a recent article, the Globe and Mail sets out the top five list of mistakes that an executor can make as follows: They don’t follow the will They don’t keep beneficiaries updated They’re bad bookkeepers They don’t get valuations They don’t keep arms-length relationships For details of the mistakes, please click the above link to the article.

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Murphy’s Law: a Settlement Gone Awry?

A recent decision of the Ontario Superior Court sheds light on the importance of exercising due diligence prior to enter into a settlement. In Re Murphy Estate, the deceased left a Last Will and Testament in which she left the bulk of her estate to her biological children, leaving her step-children a lessor amount. The step-children disputed the terms of the Last Will. All parties eventually reached a settlement in which they agreed to divide the residue of the estate equally among them.  At the time of the settlement, all parties believed that the deceased’s RRIF account was an asset…

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Dependant Support Claims: Who May Apply?

Under the Succession Law Reform Act, the court may order the estate of a deceased person to pay support to a “dependant.”  Such a claim is typically required in circumstances in which a deceased dies without a Will or leaves a Will that does not make adequate provision for the dependant’s support.  Section 57 of the Act provides that “dependants” include the following persons: “dependant” means, (a) the spouse of the deceased, (b) a parent of the deceased, (c) a child of the deceased, or (d) a brother or sister of the deceased, to whom the deceased was providing support…

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Dependent Support Payments

Under Section 62(3) of the Succession Law Reform Act, the court has the power to order an estate to pay support to a dependant. The Act grants the court discretion as to how the payment of support will be made. For instance, the court can order: An amount be paid annually or otherwise for an indefinite period or limited period of time or until the happening of a specifie event Lump sum payments Property transfers The possession or use of property by the dependant for life or such period as the court considers appropriate This broad discretion can lead to…

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Administrative Powers in a Will

It is common for a Last Will and Testament to contain administrative provisions which provide the estate trustee with the legal authority to carry out the management of the estate.  Some common provisions include the following: The authority to sell property The authority to pay debt Investment power The right to delegate certain decisions The authorization to borrow on behalf of the estate The authority to make elections under the Income Tax Act The right to make loans to beneficiaries in the Will The power to deal with the deceased’s ownership interest in a business The terms discussed above are…

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Guardianship and Mentally Incapable Persons

Under the Substitute Decisions Act, 1992, an application may be made for guardianship over the property and person of a mentally incapable individual. This is often required in circumstances in which a mentally incapable person does not have a Power of Attorney. The application, if successful, provides the guardian with the requisite legal authority to act on behalf of the mentally incompetent person. As a prerequisite to the granting of guardianship, the court must be satisfied that it is necessary for decisions to be made on the incapable person’s behalf by a guardian, and the need for guardianship cannot be…

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