What Happens When a Will is Lost or Destroyed?

What happens when a signed, valid copy of a will cannot be located after an individual passes away? Sometimes a copy of a will can be found, but it it is not signed, and therefore its validity comes into question.  Other times, a deceased’s will cannot be located at all.  If a will can be traced …

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Testamentary Capacity & Undue Influence – Challenging a Will’s Validity

In November 2016, the Court of Appeal for Saskatchewan released its decision in an estate law case (Bachman v. Scheidt Estate) in which the daughter of the deceased sought to have her father’s will proven in solemn form.  She alleged that the deceased did not have the necessary testamentary capacity to execute the will in question, …

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Testamentary Freedom: The Case of the ‘Racist Will’

The Ontario Court of Appeal recently ruled that a Will was valid even though the testator disinherited one of his daughters for what appeared to be racially motivated reasons. In Spence v. BMO Trust Company, the testator, Mr. Spence, had two children, Verolin and Donna.  After their parents separated, Verolin lived with her father and Donna …

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The Consequences of Dying Without a Will

We’ve previously highlighted the importance of drafting a legally binding will in the Wills and Power of Attorney section of our website and in our blog on Mutual Wills.  A will gives you control over the distribution of your assets, the ability to select Estate Trustee(s), and the opportunity to address guardianship and inheritance matters with …

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Intention vs. The Wording of a Will

What happens if the words in a will seem to contradict statements made by the deceased prior to his or her death?  The Ontario Superior Court of Justice examined this issue in a recent case (Royston (Trustees of) v. Alkerton). The Facts The deceased was the mother of five children (Michael, Peter, Laura, Alan, and …

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Mutual Wills – Be Clear and Beware!

The Ontario Superior Court of Justice recently looked at the concept of mutual wills in a case where a wife changed her will after her husband’s death to exclude her stepchildren from the inheritance. The Facts Alf and Ruth Roussel began cohabitating in 1985 and married in 1997.  Each had two children from previous relationships.  …

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