Focus On

Wills, Trusts & Estates


Tuesday, June 15, 2021 @ 2:04 PM

In Sherman Estate decision, open court principle over privacy, part two Open padlock on top of stack of files

In the first article in this series on the decision in Sherman Estate v. Donovan 2021 SCC 25, we discussed why the Supreme Court of Canada ordered that the probate files of murdered Toronto billionaires, Barry and Honey Sherman, be unsealed. In this second article, we will look at what kind of information will suffice for this kind of order. ... [read more]

Tuesday, June 15, 2021 @ 5:53 AM

CONTESTATION OF CLAIMS - Adequacy of bequests to dependants  

Appeal by the testator’s son from a trial decision varying his father’s will. In his will, the father divided the residue of his estate one‑half to the son and one‑half to be divided equally between his daughter and her two sons. ... [read more]

Monday, June 14, 2021 @ 1:47 PM

In Sherman Estate decision, open court principle over privacy, part one Stack of files with open padlock on top

In Sherman Estate v. Donovan 2021 SCC 25, released on June 11, the Supreme Court of Canada ordered that the probate files of murdered Toronto billionaires, Barry and Honey Sherman, be unsealed. The result is that the public will be able to access the Shermans’ estate files notwithstanding that the identity of the perpetrator(s) of the murders, and their motives, if any, remain unknown. ... [read more]

Monday, June 14, 2021 @ 8:52 AM

Elder Abuse Awareness Day: Reducing elder abuse among lonely widowed clients Line drawing of little old lady

In A Biography of Loneliness, published in 2019, author Fay Bound Alberti observed that the loneliness of bereavement is “a great leveller of experience; there is a depth of social and familial isolation linked to widow(er)hood, whether one is princess or pauper.” ... [read more]

Friday, June 11, 2021 @ 4:51 PM

Affront to personal dignity may justify exception to open court principle: SCC Justice Nicholas Kasirer

The Supreme Court of Canada has ruled against the estate trustees of slain billionaire couple Barry and Honey Sherman in their attempts to have probate files in the case sealed, saying the request did not reach the high bar required to make an exception to the open courts principle. ... [read more]

Friday, June 11, 2021 @ 12:52 PM

CIVIL EVIDENCE - Documentary evidence - Publication bans and confidentiality orders - Sealed evidence

Appeal by the estate trustees from a decision of the Ontario Court of Appeal that lifted sealing orders granted by the application judge. The unexplained deaths of a prominent couple in their home generated intense public interest. ... [read more]

Thursday, June 10, 2021 @ 2:02 PM

Raising new issues on appeal Arrow missing target

After a lower court proceeding, lawyers may be tempted to devise new arguments on appeal in the hope of having an unfavourable decision overturned. However, the legal threshold for advancing novel positions on appeal in Ontario remains high. ... [read more]

Thursday, June 10, 2021 @ 10:46 AM

Consistency in communications: Cross your heart and hope to fly Russian dancer

Businesses and service providers usually display statements about service excellence on their sites. Think of companies that sell sports gear, electronics, or barbecues, and of professionals like accountants, lawyers, and HR consultants. They all “offer consistent quality,” “stand behind their product,” “want to understand the client,” “tailor services to each customer’s needs,” and “act as a partner in the client’s success.” Typical values are consistency, accountability, honesty, integrity, and respect. So far so good. However, the reality may be quite different. ... [read more]

Thursday, June 10, 2021 @ 8:31 AM

Critical privacy, security risks for charities, not-for-profits People in a gear with puzzle background

Like their counterparts in the for-profit sector, charities and not-for-profits (NFPs) have experienced an abrupt pivot to working from home as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. And, like their for-profit counterparts, many charities and NFPs face an uncertain future in terms of whether the shift from office to remote will be permanent or whether workers will want to return to the office on a part-time or full-time basis. ... [read more]

Wednesday, June 09, 2021 @ 2:15 PM

Why law firms should invest in their lawyers’ health | Rob De Toni

The time for change in the legal industry is now. No longer can law firms ask their lawyers to come to work, put their heads down and pump out huge billable hours just because that’s what the partners did and are still doing. ... [read more]