Estate Litigation Blog

Consider whether a passing of accounts is worth it


by Rob Levesque, Published: February 04, 2014

Tags: beneficiaries,  compensation,  estate trustees,  passing of accounts

Felice Kirsh was recently quoted in an article on AdvocateDaily.com. In "Consider whether a passing of accounts is worth it",  Ms Kirsh emphasizes that beneficiaries of an estate should take time to consider, from a monetary point of view, what’s at stake before insisting on a passing of accounts.  Continue reading here.

Brian Schnurr, Felice Kirsh and Jordan Oelbaum recognized as Best Lawyers for 2014


by Rob Levesque, Published: February 01, 2014

Tags: best lawyers,  brian schnurr,  estate,  felice kirsh,  jordan oelbaum,  trusts

Brian A. Schnurr, Felice C. Kirsh and Jordan D. Oelbaum were recently recognized by their peers as three of the Best Lawyers in Canada for the year 2014 in the "Best Lawyers in Canada" survey for the specialty area of Trusts and Estates.

When estate litigation gets tense, lawyers must stay cool


by Rob Levesque, Published: December 11, 2013

Tags: estates,  litigation

Felice Kirsh was recently quoted in an article on AdvocateDaily.com.  In "When estate litigation gets tense, lawyers must stay cool", Ms. Kirsh explains that when an estate litigation scenario becomes heated or tense, it is incumbent upon the lawyer to remain calm and level-headed.

“The vast majority of cases are highly emotional because you’re dealing with family members. Family relationships are complex ­– they’ve lasted for many, many years,” says Kirsh. “There might be built-up tensions, grudges or jealousies that manifest themselves in this last battle over someone’s estate.” Continue reading here.

Bar Admissions Fall 2013


by Rob Levesque, Published: October 29, 2013

Tags:

Sandra Schnurr will be instructing the Wills/Estates/Trusts Bar Exam Prep Course offered by the "Centre for the Legal Profession" and the "Internationally Trained Lawyers Program" at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. The Wills/Estates/Trusts course will be offered on Monday, November 11, 2013 at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, from 5:30 - 10:00pm. The full schedule can be found here, and instructor biographies are found here.

Dealing with difficult clients


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: August 24, 2013

Tags: estates,  felice kirsh,  trusts,  trusts and estates toronto,  wills

An article about Felice Kirsh was posted on AdvocateDaily.com. In "Red flags help identify difficult clients early on", Ms Kirsh comments on how a lawyer can idenitify signs to determine if he or she should continue working with a difficult client. In the article, Ms. Kirsh suggests that: "When the client’s not following your instructions, when the client is second-guessing you all the time, when the client is making demands on you that just cannot be met … Sometimes the personalities just don’t match"

Ms Kirsh also advises that, "You have to really be sure the client realizes that you’re not doing this work anymore, and they’d better go get another lawyer because they have a court date in three weeks, or they have to get ready for discovery or the next step."

Ms. Kirsh's comments were first published in The Lawyers Weekly, at "Saying goodbye to the difficult client".

A reminder to check your estate plans


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: July 17, 2013

Tags: estates,  felice kirsh,  trusts,  trusts and estates toronto,  wills

An article about Felice Kirsh was posted on AdvocateDaily.com. In "Case a reminder to review estate plans", Ms Kirsh comments on the recent decision in Stevens v. Fisher. Justice DiTomaso ordered that a life insurance policy that had been owned by the deceased be given to his common-law spouse, and not the named beneficiary (the deceased's former common-law spouse). In the article, Ms. Kirsh is quoted as stating as follows:

“People do forget that they have old insurance policies – I’d say that’s common - and they forget who their beneficiaries are in all policies."

Ms Kirsh is also quoted as further stating, "That’s why it’s important for people to check – I’d say every year – who are the beneficiaries of your RRSP or your life insurance policy or your group life insurance policy and are you still OK with it?”

Ms. Kirsh's comments were first published in the Law Times, at "Court sends message about hiding from dependants".

Difficulty in removing estate trustees


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: March 19, 2013

Tags: estates,  felice kirsh,  trusts,  trusts and estates toronto,  wills

An article about Felice Kirsh was posted on AdvocateDaily.com. In "Decision reinforces difficulty removing estate trustees", Ms Kirsh comments on the recent decision in Hawkins v. Hawkins Estate. The Master refused to remove the estate trustee and noted that:

"In short it is the duty of the court to ensure the purpose of the trust is carried out and the testator's choice of trustes should not be lighly disturbed. Removal is essentially a last resort in cases where it can be shown that continuation in office will inevitably impede proper administration."

The decision provides a useful guideline in determining if a motion for removal of an estate trustee will be successful.

Appointed attorneys have a difficult job


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: March 19, 2013

Tags:

An article about Felice Kirsh was posted on AdvocateDaily.com. In "Appointed attorneys have difficult job", an article Ms Kirsh wrote in The Lawyers Weekly, "Attorneys for property often under the microscope", was discussed in detail. This article was previously discussed on this blog; the blog post can be found here.

Attorneys for property often under the microscope


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: March 18, 2013

Tags: accounts,  attorney,  estates,  felice kirsh,  powers of attorney,  trusts,  trusts and estates toronto,  wills

Felice Kirsh authored an article published in the March 1, 2013 edition of The Lawyers Weekly. In "Attorneys for property often under the microscope", Ms Kirsh discusses the responsibilities of an attorney for property, including the duty to manage the incapable person's property in the best interests of that person, and the duty to keep accounts. Ms Kirsh also suggests individuals who have been named attorneys for property take the job seriously, spend time at the job and document all decisions made, time spent and issues considered.

Bar Admissions Spring 2013


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: March 18, 2013

Tags:

Elizabeth Bozek will be instructing the Wills/Estates/Trusts Bar Exam Prep Course offered by the "Centre for the Legal Profession" and the "Internationally Trained Lawyers Program" at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. The Wills/Estates/Trusts course will be offered on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, from 5:30 - 10:00pm. The full schedule can be found   here  , and instructor biographies are found here.

OBA Section Program - Summary Judgment


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: February 20, 2013

Tags: estate litigation,  estates

Sender Tator will be the Chair of the Section Program presented by the Ontario Bar Association, Estates & Trusts Section, on April 23, 2013 on "Trusts and Estates Law: Summary Judgment and Other Hot Topics in Estates Litigation". The panel will review how the changes to the summary judgment rules have impacted estate litigation, and the caselaw in this area. The panel will also review recent costs decision and other recent estate litigation cases in general, highlighting topics of general interest to estate litigators.

Brian Schnurr, Felice Kirsh and Jordan Oelbaum named to Best Lawyers 2013


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: December 20, 2012

Tags: best lawyers,  brian a. schnurr,  felice c. kirsh,  jordan d. oelbaum

Brian A. Schnurr, Felice C. Kirsh and Jordan D. Oelbaum were recently recognized by their peers as three of the Best Lawyers in Canada for the year 2013 in the "Best Lawyers in Canada" survey for the specialty area of Trusts and Estates.

OBA Institute 2013


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: December 20, 2012

Tags: estates,  guardianship,  mediation

The OBA Institute 2013 for Trusts and Estates Law, "Best Practices, Practical Tips, and Risk Management Strategies for Estate Planning" will be held at the Westin Harbour Castle Conference Centre, 2 Harbour Square, Toronto, on Thursday, February 7, 2013, from 1:30 to 4:50pm. Brian Schnurr will be a panelist during the discussion on "Tips for Success at Mediation".

The panel will discuss the following issues:

  • Professional obligations of counsel going into mediation
  • At which stage should the parties go to mediation?
  • Checklists for a successful mediation
  • What must be in your Minutes of Settlement

Bar Admissions Fall 2012


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: October 22, 2012

Tags:

Elizabeth Bozek will be instructing the Wills/Estates/Trusts Bar Exam Prep Course offered by the "Centre for the Legal Profession" and the "Internationally Trained Lawyers Program" at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. The Wills/Estates/Trusts course will be offered on Tuesday, November 20, 2012 at the Moot Court Room in the Flavelle Building, at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, from 5:30 - 10:00pm. The full schedule can be found here, and instructor biographies are found here.

15th Annual Estates and Trusts Summit


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: October 17, 2012

Tags: estates,  guardianship

Brian Schnurr and Felice Kirsh will present a paper on November 14, 2012 at the 15th annual Estates and Trusts Summit on the issue of when an individual can be compelled to submit to a capacity assessment against his or her will.  Their paper will review the legislation and jurisprudence relating to court-ordered capacity assessments.

Mediation in estates disputes


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: July 16, 2012

Tags: estates,  felice kirsh,  trusts,  trusts and estates toronto,  wills

Felice Kirsh can be seen discussing the benefits of medation in estates disputes on AdvocateDailyTV. She notes the benefits of mediation, which include:

     (1) the case will be resolved much sooner than if it were to proceed to trial;

     (2) the client will incur less costs by settling at mediation than proceeding to trial; and

     (3) the parties are free to craft a settlement that may deal with the issues in a more creative way than would a judgment by the court.

Nine out of ten estate litigation cases settle at mediation.

 

OBA Estates and Trusts Dinner


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: May 30, 2012

Tags: estates list,  trusts and estates toronto

Last night, the Ontario Bar Association hosted the annual Estates and Trusts Awards Dinner. The Honourable Madam Justice Greer was the recipient of the OBA Award for Trusts and Excellence in Trusts and Estates.  In her acceptance speech, Justice Greer inspired the attendees with her thoughts, and asked everyone to do the following: be brief in submissions in court; be a mentor to those more junior than you; and be kind. 

Schnurr Kirsh Schnurr Oelbaum Tator LLP was a Gold Sponsor of the event, which was held at the Distillery District in Toronto.  

Resist 'ruling from the grave'


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: May 23, 2012

Tags: estates,  felice kirsh,  trusts,  trusts and estates toronto,  wills

Felice Kirsh was quoted in an article published on AdvocateDaily.com, entitled “Resist ‘ruling from the grave’, says Felice Kirsh”.  She cautions testators who may try to exert control over their estates long after they die, and suggests they seriously consider the potential issues arising from ongoing estate administration and the exercise of trustee discretion.   

Bar Admissions


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: April 30, 2012

Tags: elizabeth bozek,  estates and trusts toronto,  toronto

Elizabeth Bozek will be instructing the Wills/Estates/Trusts Bar Exam Prep Course offered by the "Centre for the Legal Profession" and the "Internationally Trained Lawyers Program" at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law. Further information about the Prep Course can be found here. The Wills/Estates/Trusts course will be offered on Thursday, June 14, 2012 at the Solarium in Falconer's Hall at the University of Toronto, Faculty of Law, from 6:00 - 10:00pm. The full schedule can be found here, and instructor biographies are found here.

Annotated Guardianship Application


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: April 27, 2012

Tags: guardianship,  litigation,  sender tator

Sender Tator presented at "The Annotated Guardianship Application 2012", presented at the Law Society of Upper Canada on April 24, 2012. Sender spoke on the annotated Notice of Application and the Management Plan. The seminar was very informative, with the materials providing a practical resource to use in the preparation of applications for both guardianship of the person and guardianship for property.  

Dinner with your Honourable Estates List Judges 2012


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: April 27, 2012

Tags: estates list,  trusts and estates toronto

Sender Tator chaired the "Dinner with your Honourable Estates List Judges" on April 24, 2012 at the OBA Conference Centre in Toronto. As usual, the dinner was well attended. Those present for the dinner appreciated the comments of The Honourable Madam Justice Pollak, The Honourable Mister Justice Whitaker and The Honourable Madam Justice Wilson,  as they provided practical tips on how to navigate the procedure of the Estates List, and other helpful insights based on their view from the bench. 

Valid holograph will


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: April 10, 2012

Tags: estates,  trusts,  trusts and estates toronto

 

Elizabeth Bozek wrote a Case Comment that was published in the March 2012 edition of Deadbeat, the newsletter of the Ontario Bar Association, Estates and Trusts section, on the Niziol v. Allen, 2011 ONSC 7457 (CanLII) decision. The court's legal analysis provides a useful summary of numerous grounds upon which the court may judge the validity of a holograph will, including the following:

(1) The holograph will met the requirements of section 6 of the Succession Law Reform Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S. 26. 

(2) The language used by the deceased was found to be testamentary in nature. 

(3) The holograph will was incapable of standing together with an earlier will because it purported to dispose of all the deceased’s assets.

Corporate trustees


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: March 26, 2012

Tags: corporate trustee,  estates,  rob levesque,  trustee,  trusts,  trusts and estates toronto,  wills

Rob Levesque will be giving a case comment at the March 27, 2012 OBA Estates and Trusts Section Tax Lunch on Re Young Estate, [2012] O.J. No. 206 (S.C.J.), a case that is noteworthy for its discussion of the functions of a corporate trustee, and the principles that apply to the compensation of corporate trustees.

Uncertainty over trustee reimbursement


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: March 01, 2012

Tags: accounts,  estates,  felice kirsh,  trusts,  trusts and estates toronto,  wills

Felice Kirsh and Elizabeth Bozek co-authored an article published in the March 2, 2012 edition of The Lawyers Weekly. In "Uncertainty over trustee reimbursement", the correctness of the decision of the Honourable Justice Lofchik in DeLorenzo v. Beresh, [2010] O.J. No. 4367, where he ordered the estate trustee to repay to the estate funds withdrawn to pay his ongoing legal fees, was called into question. This was because of the unreported leave to appeal motion heard by the Honourable Justice Lococo,  who noted that,

“on general principle, it is open to serious debate whether an estate trustee should be ordered to repay legal fees paid by the estate on an interim bass relating to the passing of accounts, including where the accounts are contested by the beneficiaries, as in this case.”

Ms Kirsh was counsel for the estate trustee in the leave to appeal motion. 

Don't rely on an inheritance!


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: February 29, 2012

Tags: estates,  felice kirsh,  trusts,  trusts and estates toronto,  wills

Felice Kirsh was quoted in an article on AdvocateDaily.com entitled "Don’t rely on inheritance, Kirsh warns baby boomers", in which she advised that baby boomers should not rely on receiving windfalls from family members in their financial planning, but should instead  "Plan your finances as if you're not going to inherit money". The full text of the article can be read here

The Family Cottage


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: February 17, 2012

Tags: trusts

Felice Kirsh was quoted in an article by Gretchen Drummie entitled "Will Power - Problems can arise over who gets the family cottage", that was included in the 2012 Legal Resource Guide, published in January 2012 by the publishers of Canadian Lawyer magazine. One issue that she notes is that lawyers are increasingly suggesting that parents have a family meeting to discuss how the family cottage will be divided in their estate plan, as the family cottage is a source of a great deal of conflict in estate litigation. 

How to be a good client


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: February 13, 2012

Tags:

Felice Kirsh can be seen providing advice on how to be a good client and have the best relationship possible with your estate litigation lawyer on AdvocateDailyTV. Her tips include:

  • The client should be organized. At the initial consult meeting, the client should start from the beginning and provide the lawyer with a general overview of the facts. It is especially helpful when the client brings a chronology of the facts, a family tree and/or the court documents. These documents help the lawyer understand the facts and legal issues, and what they can do to help the client.
  • The client should be receptive to the lawyer's advice.
  • The client should understand that there are good and bad aspects of his or her case. 

Trust Company Best Practices


by Rob Levesque, Published: January 26, 2012

Tags: estates,  felice kirsh

On January 24, 2012, Felice Kirsh made a presentation on "Trust Company Best Practicies - How to Manage Client Expectations & Reduce Risk" at CIBC Trust. 

Guardianship applications under the SLRA


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: January 12, 2012

Tags: sender tator

Sender Tator will be presenting a paper at the seminar “  The Annotated Guardianship Application 2012", hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada on April 24, 2012 at the Donald Lamont Learning Centre, located at 130 Queen St. W. (Law Society of Upper Canada).  His presentation will be on guardianship applications brought under the Succession Law Reform Act.

Dinner with your Honourable Estates List Judges


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: November 16, 2011

Tags: estates list,  trusts and estates toronto

Sender Tator will be chairing the Dinner with your Honourable Estates List Judges, which will be presented by the Ontario Bar Association on April 24, 2012 at the OBA Conference Centre in Toronto. The Dinner is part of the OBA Trusts & Estates Law Passport series, and is always an interesting evening where the Judges from the Toronto Estates List discuss procedural issues and recent cases in the areas of estate and mental incompetency litigation.

14th Annual Estates & Trusts Summit


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: November 10, 2011

Tags: estates

Felice Kirsh and Elizabeth Bozek presented a paper entitled "Revisiting Testamentary Capacity" at the 14th Annual Estates and Trusts Summit, hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada, on November 9, 2011. The Summit was, as always, well attended with many interesting presentations.

Disinheriting the "Black Sheep"


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: September 29, 2011

Tags: will challenge

Sandra R. Schnurr wrote a helpful Letter to the Editor of the Globe and Mail in response to an article published September 20, 2011, entitled "Baa Baa Black Sheep, Are You In The Will?"  

Brian Schnurr and Felice Kirsh named to Best Lawyers 2012


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: September 28, 2011

Tags: best lawyers,  brian a. schnurr,  felice c. kirsh

Brian A. Schnurr and Felice C. Kirsh were recently recognized by their peers as two of the Best Lawyers in Canada for the year 2012 in the "Best Lawyers in Canada" survey for the specialty area of Trusts and Estates.

Preliminary Considerations in Dependant Support Applications


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: August 23, 2011

Tags: trusts and estate toronto

Jordan Oelbaum will be presenting a paper at the seminar "The Dependant's Support Application: from Notice of Application to Trial", hosted by the Ontario Bar Association on September 27, 2011 at the OBA Conference Centre. His paper will focus on preliminary considerations in bringing a dependant's support claim, including conflict issues, the retainer, limitation periods, and other initial steps and considerations.

"Diminished Capacity" vs "Lack of Capacity"


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: July 20, 2011

Tags: estates,  testamentary capacity

Brian Schnurr and Felice Kirsh will be presenting a paper at the 14th Annual Estates and Trusts Summit hosted by the Law Society of Upper Canada. Their paper will examine why testamentary capacity should be assessed as existing on a spectrum rather than there being a threshold, and how context can impact a finding of testamentary capacity.

Dependant support obligations for common-law spouses


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: May 27, 2011

Tags: trust and estates toronto

In the May 2011 edition of Deadbeat, the newsletter of the Ontario Bar Association Trusts and Estates section, is an article by Elizabeth Bozek on Su v. Lam, ONSC 1086 (CanLII).

How to choose an Estate Trustee


by Elizabeth Bozek, Published: May 27, 2011

Tags:

The Toronto Star posted a helpful article on what should be taken into consideration in choosing an Estate Trustee.

Best Lawyers Awards Brian A. Schnurr 2011 Lawyer of the Year, Trust and Estates - Toronto


by Rob Levesque, Published: April 23, 2010

Tags: best lawyers award,  brian a. schnurr

Brian A. Schnurr has been designated as 2011 Best Lawyers, Trust and Estates - Toronto. Only a single lawyer in each practice area is awarded this honour.
 

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