Probate for Paddington: Michael Bond, CBE (1926-2017)

One year ago, Michael Bond, CBE the creator of the beloved literary character, Paddington Bear, passed away in London, England at age 91. Though I recall seeing snippets of Paddington Bear on the television when I was young, I never actively watched the animated series or read the books. Based on what I’ve learned about […] Read More

Pay Attention to What You Pay For

It is fairly rare for judges to directly criticize lawyers in written decisions relating to estate matters, at least in my experience. When I do run across it, it sends a strong signal because there is usually an important lesson in the criticism. The judge’s displeasure with the lawyer who drafted the will at the […] Read More

A Star Extinguished: Anton Yelchin (1989-2016)

Two years ago to this day, a promising young actor’s life was cut short by a tragic accident at his Los Angeles home. Anton Yelchin, age 27, was killed in his driveway when his SUV rolled back and pinned him against his security fence and mailbox. Yelchin rose to prominence for his portrayal of the […] Read More

Rolling the Dice on Costs of Estate Litigation

Alberta Courts have been busy on the topic of costs in estate litigation in the past few months. Four recent decisions issued out of three judicial centres in Alberta provide a good reminder of just how unpredictable litigation is and the Court’s wide discretion in compensating parties for their litigation expenses. General principles If there […] Read More

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Administration

Illustration by Mark Raven Jackson Today marks the 21st anniversary of the death of Christopher Wallace, or probably better known to you as legendary rap artist Notorious BIG or Biggie. Wallace died at the age of 24 after being shot in Los Angeles. The controversy surrounding his death continues to garner media attention to this […] Read More

You may have to keep your promises

Some people are good for their word.  Others are not.  Depending on the circumstances, a promise you make may not be legally enforceable.  However, in the words of the outgoing Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Canada in the recent judgment in Cowper-Smith v Morgan, 2017 SCC 61, equity enforces promises that the law […] Read More

North of 60 Series: Estate administration in the Northwest Territories

I have been on quite the hiatus since last year!  I apologize – I have found that a wills and estates practice inevitably ramps up in the last month of the year on both the planning and litigation sides and last December was no exception. In the middle of all of the usual pre-holiday madness, […] Read More

A different kind of joint problem

Parents who intend to transfer their assets into joint names with some or all of their adult children need to carefully consider that decision before implementing the transfers.  A series of recent Court cases in Western Canada highlight the need for careful legal advice when parents are considering such transfers in the context of estate […] Read More

The devil is in the drafting: is an estate entitled to spousal support payments?

The recent Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench decision in Marasse Estate (Re), 2017 ABQB 706 is yet another reminder that drafting legal documents must be done carefully and with a view to their long-term effect. The main issue in this case was whether the surviving ex-spouse was obligated to continue paying spousal support to his […] Read More

My last will and textament

What would you look for in a document to determine if it was a legally valid will?  An Australian man’s estate recently made headlines when the Queensland Supreme Court admitted an unsent text message into probate as his valid last will. The deceased created the following text message on his cell phone shortly before he […] Read More