Overview of the Course

This course deals with the law of wills and estates, with some consideration of the law respecting substitute decision-making. It is expected that students will leave the course with the following skills and abilities:

  • Construct simple estate plans including the operation of Will-substitutes and the intestacy rules.
  • Advise on the validity of Continuing Powers of Attorney and issues respecting substitute decision-making.
  • Advise on the validity of Wills, including who can make a Will and in what circumstances a Will, or part of a Will, is inoperative.
  • Advise on the interpretation of testamentary instruments.
  • Understand how and when probate is required, the nature of estate litigation, and the intersection of the Rules of Civil Procedure and the principal succession law statutes.
  • Understand the nature of the role of the Estate Trustee and the solicitor advising the Estate Trustee.
  • Advise interested parties including the Estate Trustee, potential heirs, creditors, and others on probate and aspects of estate administration.
  • Advise on dependant’s relief claims and spousal entitlements.
  • Understand the key professional competencies and responsibilities for practice in this area.

Evaluation: 100% Open-book Final Examination

Materials: Oosterhoff on Wills, 9th Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2021)

ClassesTuesdays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.  & Thursdays, 11:30 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. (both in KINE 101)


TOPICS, LECTURE SCHEDULE, & READING LIST

Page numbers refer to Oosterhoff on Wills, 9th Edition

September 6, 2022

I.  Concepts

No reading

Overview & Understanding the Model of Law as a Whole

Professional Practice and Careers


September 8, 2022

II.  Pre-Mortem: Substitute Decision-Making

Introduction: 1019-1029

Capacity: 1030-1047

Information on Capacity and Capacity Assessment (MAG)

Vanier v. Vanier, 2017 ONCA 561 (Ont. C.A.)

Lecture Notes 1 – SDM (I)


September 13, 2022

Appointment of Attorneys and Guardians: 1047-1057

Powers of Attorney Q&As – Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee

Powers and Obligations of Attorneys and Guardians: 1058-1082

Lecture Notes 2 – SDM (II)


September 15, 2022

III. Intestate Succession

Introduction and Devolution of Property: 71-72

Distribution on Intestacy: 73-102

Re Crane Estate, 2016 ONSC 291 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Partial Intestacy: 102-103

IV.  Wills and Will-Substitutes

Nature of a Will: 113-117, 325-327

Gifts: 173-174

Jansen v. Niels Estate, 2017 ONCA 312 (Ont. C.A.)

Morreale v. Romanino, 2017 ONCA 359 (Ont. C.A.)

Lecture Notes 3 – Intestate Succession; Will-Substitutes (I)


September 20, 2022

Deeds and Inter Vivos Trusts: 174-176

Joint Ownership: 176-179 [you may find it of assistance to read Pecore v Pecore, 2007 SCC 17 (S.C.C.)]

Life Insurance: 180-183

Moore v. Sweet, 2018 SCC 52 (S.C.C.)

Pensions and Beneficiary Designations: 184-198

Lecture Notes 4 – Will-Substitutes (II)


September 22, 2022

Will Substitutes and Probate Fees: 200-204

Estate Administration Tax Act Regulation 310/14 – Information Required

Guide to the New Estate Information Return

V.  Contracts, Obligations, Mutual Wills

Promises to Make a Will: 122-128

Promises and Proprietary Estoppel: 132-134

Mutual Wills: 135-145

Nelson v. Trottier, 2019 ONSC 1657 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Lecture Notes 5 – Contracts, Obligations, and Mutual Wills


September 27, 2022

No class.


September 29, 2022

VI.  Will-Making

Delegation of Testamentary Power: 155-168

Public Policy: Spence v. BMO Trust Company, 2016 ONCA 196 (Ont. C.A.)

Age Requirement: 206-207

Onus Probandi: 232-235

Suspicious Circumstances: 235-242

Lecture Notes 6 – Will-Making (I)


October 4, 2022

Knowledge and Approval: 208-211

Garwood v. Garwood, 2017 MBCA 67 (Manitoba C.A.)

Mental Capacity: 211-232, 247-251

Undue Influence and Fraud: 251-160

Pascu v. Benke, 2005 CanLII 1086 (Ont. Sup. Ct.)


October 6, 2022

VII. Formal Validity of Wills

Introduction to Formal Validity: 299

Succession Law Reform Act, s.21.1

Attested Wills: 299-323

Holograph Wills: 324

Judicial Validation: 337-339

Incorporation By Reference: 334-336

VIII. Revocation of Wills

Introduction: 359-360

By Operation of Law: 360-364

By Act of Testator: 382-393

Hayduk v. Gudz, 2022 ONSC 2249 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Conditional Revocation: 397-403

Revival of Revoked Wills: 403-405


October 11, 2022

IX.  Proof of Death and Lost Wills

Proof of Death: 409-420, 422-425

Proof of Lost Wills: 427-430

X.  Capacity of Beneficiaries

Illegitimacy: 441-448

Adoption: 451-452

Homicide: 454-463

The Bank of Nova Scotia Trust Company v. Rogers, 2021 ONSC 1747 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Witnesses: 470-476


October 13, 2022

XI.  Rectification of Wills

Rectification: 263-269, 270-278, 279-281

McLauglin v. McLaughlin, 2016 ONCA 899 (Ont. C.A.)

Rondel v. Robinson Estate, 2011 ONCA 493 (Ont. C.A.)

XII. Interpretation of Wills

Jurisdiction and Judicial Function: 479-482


October 18, 2022

General Principles and Rules of Construction: 483-506

Particular Expressions: 506-517

Partial Intestacies: 517-520

Evidence: 521-537

Drafting Errors: 539-552

Daradick v. McKeand Estate, 2012 ONSC 5622 (Ont. S.C.J.)


October 20, 2022

XIII. Void Conditions

Consequences of Void Conditions: 762-764

Conditions Contrary to Public Policy: 765-795

Conditions Impossible of Performance: 795-799

Uncertain Conditions: 800-805

Barsoski Estate v. Wesley, 2022 ONCA 399 (C.A.)


October 25, 2022

XIV. Gifts

Subject-Matter and Types of Testamentary Gifts: 555-558, 559-570, 572-573

Abatement: 565-579

Ademption: 584-585

Date From Which Will Speaks: 588-594

Disclaimer: 630-631

XV.  Lapse and Survivorship

Introduction: 643

Disposition of Lapsed Gifts: 643-647

Anti-Lapse Legislation: 648-656

Exceptions to Lapse: 657-663

Substitutionary Gifts: 666-668, 672-675


October 27, 2022

No Class


November 1, 2022

XVI. Class Gifts

Nature and Effect of a Class Gift: 685-686

Identifying Class Gifts: 686-696

Composition of the Class: 697-700

The Class Closing Rules: 701-710

 

XVII. Probate and Administration

Introduction and Role of the Courts: 27-33

Grants of Probate: 33-41


November 3, 2022

No Class


November 8, 2022 & November 10, 2022

No classes. Fall Term reading week.


November 15, 2022

Compensation & Passing of Accounts: 54-57

Duties: 58-60

Estates Act

Estates Administration Act

Estates Procedures Manual (MAG, 2021)


November 17, 2022

XVIII. Matrimonial Rights

The Impact of the Family Law Act on Estate Administration: 869-906

Form – Election of Surviving Spouse, per RRO 1990, Reg 368

Yamada v. Zolad, 2007 CanLII 4328 (Ont Sup Ct)

XIX. Support of Dependents

Introduction to Dependant’s Relief: 923-939


November 22, 2022

Practice and Procedure: 940-945

Satisfaction of Support Obligations: 945-967

Property Subject of an Order: 967-980

XX.  Solicitor’s Liability

Solicitors’ Duty in Taking Instructions for a Will: 989-995

Solicitors’ Duty of Care Towards Beneficiaries: 996-1014


November 24, 2022

Review & Past Exams

Note: The last two classes are set aside in case of illness or if we do not keep to the schedule. If we finish early, so much the better – more time to study.