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Personal Lawyers

In the Family Law Context: Custody and Guardianship of a Minor’s Property

Written by on November 06, 2018.

Frequently I meet with clients who inquire about having a Will prepared, given their separation.  They express concerns about their child(ren)’s future in the event something happens to them now that they are separated.  The typical client may ask about what happens to “custody” of their child(ren) in the event of their death, and have questions about who will look after the property that you wish to leave to your minor child(ren) upon your death. In Ontario under the Children’s Law...

A Primer on Real Estate Issues in Estate Litigation

Written by on October 11, 2018.

This paper provides a high-level outline — the “Coles notes”— on frequently encountered real estate issues in estate litigation, specifically, claims arising from proprietary estoppel, the doctrine of part performance, unjust enrichment and the imposition of resulting trusts.  It also briefly reviews a pre-judgment remedy, i.e. the certificate of pending litigation, which regularly arises in such proceedings. The information below is not intended to provide an exhaustive analysis of ...

21st Annual Estates and Trusts Law Summit – October 10 & 11

Written by on October 05, 2018.

Siskinds associate Dagmara Wozniak will be speaking at the 21st Annual Estates and Trusts Law Society of Ontario Summit on October 10th, sharing her knowledge on the topic of “Real Estate Issues in Estate Litigation”. To find out more about the two-day summit, taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre, click here:

Changes to the Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA)

Written by on September 07, 2018.

A change has occurred this year in Ontario which impacts the delivery of child welfare services to children, youth and families. The Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) came into force on April 30, 2018, with Part X scheduled to come into force in January 2020. The Child, Youth and Family Services Act (CYFSA) puts children and youth at the centre of decision making and supports more responsive and accessible service delivery to children, youth and families. Effective January 1, 20...

What is a Qualified Disability Trust?

Written by on July 24, 2018.

The Qualified Disability Trust (QDT) was created in 2016 to temper changes to the tax rules for testamentary trusts (trusts set up by a Will). All testamentary trusts used to benefit from the graduated tax rates, however this was changed to tax all testamentary trusts at the top marginal rate. The QDT is an exception to the new rule that all testamentary trusts are taxed at the top marginal rate. A QDT now has access to the graduated tax rates that previously applied to all testamentary trusts. ...

Guardianship Applications under the Children’s Law Reform Act

Written by on July 15, 2018.

A minor is considered to be a person under the age of eighteen years. In Ontario, a parent is automatically the guardian of the person of his or her minor child.[1] However, a parent is not automatically the guardian of property of his or her minor child.[2] In certain circumstances, a parent can receive the authority to manage the finances of his or her child by statute, court order, or other document, such as a Will or life insurance policy. Where an adult person does not have the legal aut...

Marriage: Divorce or Annulment in Family Law?

Written by on May 01, 2018.

I recently spoke to someone who had legally married a few months prior. This person explained that once married, she and her new spouse did not live together as husband and wife. They did not consummate their legal union; meaning they did not have sexual intercourse after they married.    The client asked how could they proceed to end their marriage. Should they have the union annulled or should they proceed to get a divorce? A very interesting question because there is difference between ...

‘Predator’ Spouse, Take Note of Hunt v. Worrod

Written by on April 10, 2018.

Predatory marriages have drawn a lot of attention in recent years. They are believed to be on the rise. For families with single, elderly family members, this phenomenon is alarming. For Ontario’s estate litigators, the governing legal principles are infuriating. Too often in the past, the predatory spouse has prevailed because the common law offers limited recourse; that is, until Hunt v. Worrod.[1] Released in December 2017, Hunt v. Worrod may just have changed the legal landscape of predato...

Financial Exploitation and Elder Abuse

Written by on February 21, 2018.

What is Elder Abuse? [1] Several millennia have passed since, according to the Book of Genesis, Jacob and his mother, Rebecca, conspired to trick Isaac who was, according to biblical scholars, by then an ailing and blind 130 year old man. They tricked him into believing that Jacob was his brother, Esau, thereby securing for Jacob an inheritance that was to go to Esau. Things worked out rather well for Jacob, what with his 12 sons, one of whom, with his multi-hued coat, inspired a musical. Thin...

Concerned Beneficiary? Court Finds Will Challenges Must Have Minimal Evidentiary Basis

Written by on February 07, 2018.

The recent decision in Seepa v Seepa, 2017 ONSC 5368 contains observations that may have an impact on future Will challenges under Rule 75.06 of the Rules of Civil Procedure and in particular, on the materials that must be placed before the court in the “Motion for Directions”, which typically initiates a Will challenge. The parties were the two children of the deceased. The deceased had created a new Will not long before she passed, and she left the residue of her Estate to her young...