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

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