Disinherited.com does not usually report on court decisions from other jurisdictions, but the re Landry Estate case from Ontario ( 2011 CarswellOnt 8830) is one that I believe that would also be followed in British Columbia, if such a decision in fact does not already exist.
The facts are reasonably straightforward – the court application dealt with the scope of the production of documentsin the discovery stage of the litigation process.
Prior to the death of the deceased, the office of the Public Guardian and Trustee commenced investigation into his financial affairs and management of his estate.
That investigation terminated on the death of the deceased on July 5, 2010.
The daughter of the deceased sought to challenge her father’s testamentary capacity and ability to execute a new will and power of attorney, as well as the respondents management of her father’s property under the power of attorney.
The daughter brought a motion for the production of the documents in possession of the Public Guardian, and that order was granted by the court.
The court reasoned that all disclosure in question was extremely important to the litigation, and the investigation of the Public Guardian was extremely relevant to the issues raised in the litigation.
The issues that were something about which the respondent also had intimate knowledge, and something about which the daughter of the deceased had no knowledge.
Therefore it would be unfair to the daughter to have her proceed to trial without complete and unfettered disclosure.
Additionally, the documents were not available from any other source.
Disinherited.com applauds such decisions that grant complete and unfettered disclosure of the financial affairs of a deceased person when legitimately challenged in court proceedings such as this case.
It is often the case in estate litigation that one party has knowledge of matters such as lack of capacity to the exclusion of others, and that any records of that knowledge should be produced in the litigation process.