Virtual Witnessing of Wills in Alberta Not so Clear

In Alberta, as in most other provinces, generally wills, powers of attorney and personal directives need to be signed and witnessed in person for the documents to be legally valid.  Our wills legislation allows certain departures from those strict formalities, though anything less than full compliance with the signing requirements lacks certainty and will need […] Read More

A Question of Priorities (If You Want to Administer an Estate)

Appointing a personal representative is one of the first substantive things addressed in a Will and one of the key choices a person can make with respect to their estate plan. When a person dies without a will, someone must apply to the Court to obtain legal authority to administer the deceased’s Estate. In Alberta, […] Read More

Sticky Situation: Sticky Note Will Accepted by Alberta Court

While our office remains open during the escalating global coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Alberta, we have taken steps to minimize the potential impact of the virus in accordance with our firm’s business continuity plan and the recommendations of the provincial health authorities.  We have accordingly limited non-essential in-person client meetings and have moved them online. […] Read More

Estate Planning for Privacy

The Supreme Court of Canada may soon be considering the intersection between estate and privacy law as well as the public policy behind the “open court” principle.  The personal representatives of the estates of murdered Canadian billionaires, Barry and Honey Sherman, have indicated they intend to appeal a very recent Ontario Court of Appeal decision […] Read More

Act On Your Legal Obligations to Avoid Post-Death Disputes

A recent case from the Ontario Superior Court of Justice, Birnie v Birnie, 2019 ONSC 2152, has several important lessons for Canadians when it comes to estate planning.  The case is an important reminder to be aware of your existing legal obligations when making your estate plans.  It is also a good reminder to revisit […] Read More

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

Is Spousal Support Available After Death?

Perhaps encouraged by the recent decision in Marasse Estate, we have another recent case from the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench addressing an estate’s ability to claim spousal support and its liability to pay spousal support. Stalzer v Stalzer, 2018 ABQB 191 is reassurance to estate planning and family law practitioners that a person’s obligation to […] 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