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Wills, Trusts & Estates

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Friday, April 07, 2017 @ 10:53 AM

Litigation funding for high-stakes commercial suits coming | Julius Melnitzer

In a sure sign of desperate times for general counsel and in-house law departments, litigation funding is coming into its own — although it is just starting make a dent in Canada. The desperate part is that cost constraints are failing. It’s not that GCs haven’t been trying. The legal press has been awash for some years now with self-congratulatory back-slapping so rampant it risks breaking the collarbone of the backslappers themselves.   ... [read more]

Friday, April 07, 2017 @ 08:52 AM

TRUSTS - Trust property - Tracing

Appeal by the plaintiff investor from a decision respecting the distribution of funds to investors in a Ponzi scheme. The investors provided their investments to Base Finance on the understanding that Base Finance was the conduit through which the investments would flow through to the mortgagors. Base Finance did not obtain any mortgages using the investors’ money. In September 2015, the company’s bank account with about $1.085M on deposit was frozen and a receiver appointed over the assets of Base Finance. The chambers judge impressed the frozen funds with a constructive trust. He found that the investors’ monies as they related to the September bank statement could be easily and clearly traced to the bank account. He then directed a pro rata sharing based on tracing or the lowest intermediate balance rule (LIBR) such that a claimant could not claim an amount in excess of the lowest balance in a fund subsequent to their investment but before the next claimant made its investment. The appellant argued the chambers judge erred in law by holding that a pro rata sharing on the basis of tracing to the lowest intermediate balance in the account was the “general rule” unless it was practically impossible, and that the chambers judge failed to consider the intention of the beneficiaries to hold commingled funds as co-owners in the mortgage investment. ... [read more]

Wednesday, April 05, 2017 @ 10:50 AM

Courts reluctant to interfere with written beneficiary designations

The interpretation of insurance contracts is one of the more settled areas of law. While courts consider a number of factors, as denoted in MacDonald v. Chicago Title Insurance Co. of Canada 2015 ONCA 842 and similar cases, the general rule of thumb is that the policy language controls. On occasion, this leads to perverse results, as occurred in the recent case of Moore v. Sweet 2017 ONCA 182.  ... [read more]

Monday, April 03, 2017 @ 08:44 AM

Access to Justice: Let’s give the Bonkalo report a chance | Thomas Cromwell

I wish that we didn’t have a large and growing legal services gap. But we do. Just look at the never-ending waves of self-represented litigants in our courts. Most of them wish they had a lawyer; some started out with one, but ran out of money along the way. And, sadly, the unmet need for legal services for these people is only the tip of the unmet legal needs iceberg. ... [read more]

Friday, March 31, 2017 @ 02:40 PM

Supreme Court to revisit Jordan in spring session Megan Savard

In its spring session, the Supreme Court of Canada is revisiting the thorny question of what the Charter right to a speedy trial requires, and it will also hear from unionized federal Crowns who say their Charter right to liberty and privacy is impinged by being required to be on-call (without pay) outside regular work hours. ... [read more]

Thursday, March 30, 2017 @ 08:00 PM

Law commission report calls for upgrade of guardianship laws

Not applicable ... [read more]

Wednesday, March 29, 2017 @ 09:18 AM

Not naming an executor in a will can add cost, complexity and family conflict

Each year, 90,000 individuals die in Ontario alone, leaving behind tens of thousands of estates to be administered by family members, friends, professionals, or — in rare cases — the government. While there is any number of reasons why it’s advantageous to name an executor in a will, many people never do so. ... [read more]

Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 10:08 AM

Law commission report calls for upgrade of guardianship laws Nye Thomas

The Law Commission of Ontario (LCO) has issued a comprehensive report, backed up by 58 recommendations designed to modernize the law of legal capacity, decision-making and guardianship currently affecting about 17,000 vulnerable provincial residents. ... [read more]

Friday, March 24, 2017 @ 09:02 AM

Media relations isn't marketing, and that's just the first mistake lawyers make | Julius Melnitzer

When it comes to maximizing the benefits of good media relations, many Canadian law firms haven’t quite got it yet. For those of you who are thinking, “What are you talking about? The profession’s marketing savvy has come a very long way” — you’re making my point. What a lot of law firms still don’t seem to understand is that marketing and media relations are two distinct arts. Lumping them together is akin to shoving an admiralty lawyer and an entertainment lawyer into the same pigeonhole. ... [read more]

Friday, March 17, 2017 @ 08:54 AM

Top 10 risk management tips for charities, not-for-profits

Charities and not-for-profits (NFPs) face increasing challenges in delivering their services to their members and the public, in part because of a more litigious reality and complicated regulatory environment. As such, charities and NFPs need to be familiar with an array of legal requirements that they need to comply with. ... [read more]