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, 8th Edition (Thomson Reuters, 2016)

ClassesWednesdays 1:00-2:30pm (Mac 004) & Fridays 11:30am – 1:00 pm (Mac-Corry D216)

 

READING LIST

(under development – subject to change) 

I. Introduction

History, Statutes, and Terminology: 3-15, 21-23

Legal Concepts

Professional Practice and Careers


January 10, 2020

II. Pre-Mortem: Substitute Decision-Making

Introduction: 945-953

Capacity: 953-970

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

Lecture Notes (1) – Substitute Decision-Making


January 15, 2020

Powers and Obligations of Attorneys and Guardians: 981-1002

Specimen Continuing Powers of Attorney

III. Intestate Succession

Introduction and Devolution of Property: 71-73

Distribution on Intestacy: 73-86, 90-94

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

Lecture Notes (2) – Substitute Decision-Making (II); Intestacies (I)


January 17, 2020

Partial Intestacy: 98

Contractual Surrender of Rights in an Intestacy: 98-101

Advancement: 102-103

IV. Wills and Will-Substitutes

Nature of a Will: 107-111, 303-306

Gifts: 165-166

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

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

Lecture Notes (3) – Intestacies (II); Will-Substitutes (I)


January 22, 2020

Deeds and Inter Vivos Trusts: 166-168

Joint Ownership: 168-171

Life Insurance: 172-173

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

Pensions and Beneficiary Designations: 175-176

Will Substitutes and Probate Fees: 185-188

Estate Administration Tax Act Regulation 310/14 – Information Required

Guide to the New Estate Information Return

Lecture Notes (4) – Will-Substitutes (II)


January 24, 2020

V. Contracts, Obligations, Mutual Wills

Promises to Make a Will: 116-121

Oral Promises Respecting Land: 121

Promises and Quantum Meruit: 122-125

Promises and Proprietary Estoppel: 125-126

Mutual Wills: 126-136

Lecture Notes (5) – Contracts and promises; Mutual Wills


January 29, 2020

VI. Will-Making

Limits – Delegation of Testamentary Power: 146-153

Limits – Public Policy: 153-163

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

Age Requirement: 190-191

Knowledge and Approval: 192-193

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

Lecture Notes (6) – Will Making (I)


January 31, 2020

Mental Capacity: 193-212

Onus Probandi: 212-232

Undue Influence and Fraud: 232-241

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

Lecture Notes (7) – Will Making (II)


February 5, 2020

NO CLASS

 


February 7, 2020

VII. Formal Validity of Wills

Introduction to Formal Validity: 279

Re Milne Estate, 2019 ONSC 579 (Ont. Div. Ct.)

Incorporation By Reference: 136-142

Attested Wills: 279-303

Holograph Wills: 303-316

Substantial Compliance Jurisdictions: 316-320

The International Will: 326-330

Lecture Notes (8) – Will Making (III)


February 12, 2020

VIII. Revocation of Wills

Introduction: 331-332

By Operation of Law: 332-351

By Act of Testator: 351-366

Conditional Revocation: 367-373

Revival of Revoked Wills: 373-375

Lecture Notes (9) – Revocation


February 14, 2020


February 19, 2010

February 21, 2020

NO CLASSES


February 26, 2020

IX. Proof of Death and Lost Wills

Proof of Death: 375-389

Proof of Lost Wills: 395-403

 

X. Capacity of Beneficiaries

Illegitimacy: 407-412

Adoption: 412-415

Homicide: 415-428 and Dhingra v. Dhingra 2012 ONCA 261

Witnesses: 429-436

Lecture Notes (10) – Proof of Death and Lost Wills; Forfeiture


February 28, 2020

XI. Rectification of Wills

Mistakes and Rectification: 243-261

Canada (Attorney General) v. Fairmont Hotels Inc., 2016 SCC 56 (S.C.C.)

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

Evidence: 477-496

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

Lecture Notes (11) – Rectification


March 4, 2020

XII. Interpretation of Wills

Jurisdiction and Judicial Function: 437-440

General Principles and Rules of Construction: 440-463

Particular Expressions: 463-472

Partial Intestacies: 473-476

Drafting Errors: 496-512

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

Void Conditions: 709-749

Lecture Notes (12) – Interpretation and Void Conditions


March 6, 2020

XIII. Testamentary Gifts

Subject-Matter and Types of Testamentary Gifts: 513-528

Abatement: 528-537

Ademption: 538-541

Date From Which Will Speaks: 541-558

Conversion: 558-567

Election, Satisfaction, and Double Portions: 572-582

Campbell v. Evert, 2018 ONSC 593 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Disclaimer: 583-585

Lecture Notes (13) – Abatement, Ademption, and other Doctrines


March 11, 2020

XIV. Lapse and Survivorship

Introduction: 589

Disposition of Lapsed Gifts: 589-594

Anti-Lapse Legislation: 594-602

Exceptions to Lapse: 603-610

Substitutionary Gifts: 613-622

Survivorship: 622-628

Lecture Notes (14) – Lapse


March 13, 2020

XV. Class Gifts

Nature and Effect of a Class Gift: 633-634

Identifying Class Gifts: 634-646

Composition of the Class: 647-663

 

XVI. Perpetuities and Accumulations

[Vested and Contingent Interests: 665-676

The Rule Against Perpetuities: 755-758, 768-769]*

Accumulations: 783-793

* To be horrified by in class; not examinable.

 

XVII. Probate and Administration

Role of the Courts: 28-33

Grants of Probate: 33-48

Payment of Debts: 53-61

Sale of Real Estate: 61-66

Distribution of Estate: 66-68

Lecture Notes (15) – Class Gifts; Probate and Administration


March 18, 2020

Estates Act

Estates Administration Act

Granger v. Granger, 2016 ONCA 945 (Ont. C.A.)

Craven v. Osidacz, 2017 ONSC 1757 (Ont. S.C.J.)

Jones v. Warbick, 2019 ONSC 88 (Ont. S.C.J.)

XVIII. Matrimonial Rights

The Impact of the Family Law Act on Estate Administration: 811-819, 832, 834-838

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

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

Lecture Notes (16) – Spousal Entitlement

Presentation – Spousal Entitlements


March 20, 2020

IXX. Support of Dependents

Introduction to Dependant’s Relief: 849-864

Practice and Procedure: 866-871

Satisfaction of Support Obligations: 871-892

Property Subject of an Order: 892-903

Dagg v. Cameron Estate, 2017 ONCA 366 (Ont. C.A.)

Habberfield v. Sciamonte, 2017 ONSC 4332 (Ont. S.C.J.)

 

XX. Solicitor’s Liability

Solicitors’ Duty in Taking Instructions for a Will: 915-922

Solicitors’ Duty of Care Towards Beneficiaries: 922-940

Johnston Estate v. Johnston, 2017 BCCA 59

Byrn v. Farris, Vaughan, Wills & Murphy LLP, 2017 BCCA 454

Lecture Notes (17) – Dependant’s Support; Solicitor Negligence


(Past exam to be distributed. Please review and complete for next class.)


March 27, 2020

Review.

 


April 1, 2020

April 3, 2020

 

[April 1, 2020 and April 3, 2020 are held in reserve against instructor illness or alien invasion. Ideally, we will finish a week early leaving you extra time to study for exams.]