Suspicious Circumstances

Arauju v Neto 2001 BCSC 935 is an undue influence /lack of capacity case that discusses suspicious circumstances.   The court found that due to suspicious circumstances the will maker was not allowed to rely upon the presumption that he was mentally capable when the… Read more

Court Costs In Estate Litigation

It is very old fashioned thinking that court costs come out of the estate , win or lose, as costs are now an important factor in settlement considerations.   The decision Deuschmann Estate v Fallis  2011 BCSC 1009 at paragraph 95 sets out the general… Read more

Son May Not Inherit For Murdering Mother

Re Fenotti Estate 2014 BCSC 1533 reviewed the law and held that a murderer of the deceased, his mother, son may not inherit from her as a result of public policy that prevents a wrong doer from benefiting from his or her own crime. The personal… Read more

“Sham” Trusts

Plaintiff’s often allege that a purported trust is a sham trust that the courts should ignore. The following is the criteria that the courts utilize when dealing with such an assertion as was discussed in M. Dhaliwal Holdings Inc. v. Pacific Blue Farms Ltd. ,… Read more

How to Sever a Joint Tenancy With a Co Owner

A prospective client called yesterday inquiring whether three siblings who had joint tenancy with a fourth sibling, can force a sale so as to buy out the troublemaking fourth sibling. I answered yes,  as the Partition of Property act allows for a severance of the… Read more

The Formalities of a Valid Marriage

The Formalities of a Valid Marriage    45 If the parties to a marriage, solemnized in good faith and intended to be in compliance with the legislation, are not under a legal disqualification to contract such marriage and have lived together and cohabited as a… Read more

Seniors-Avoid Joint Bank Accounts

I have seen many seniors financially abused by setting up a joint bank account with a child/caregiver/neighbour/friend  who takes advantage to the point where I advise seniors to avoid their use. I recently came across a Maclean’s magazine article dated April 4, 2011 entitled “Signing… Read more

The Partition Act -Courts Order Co-Owned Property Sold

Whether property be owned as tenants in common, or as joint tenants, if the parties cannot agree on the sale of the property, the BC Court has the power to do so under the provisions of the Partition of Property Act RSBC. The jurisdiction to… Read more

1961 SCC Case Holds an Unregistered Transfer of Land Severs a Joint Tenancy

Sever JT SCC stonehouse. 1961 CarswellBC 159, 37 W.W.R. 62, [1962] S.C.R. 103, 31 D.L.R. (2d) 118 Stonehouse v. British Columbia (Attorney General) Stonehouse (Plaintiff) Appellant v. Attorney-General of British Columbia (Defendant) Respondent Supreme Court of Canada Judgment: December 15, 1961 Family Law — Family… Read more

Seniors Beware of Care For Life Agreements

Seniors often fall victim to the best of intentioned Care For Life Agreements with a child, that often turn disastrous. I was recently retained by a senior who advanced over $400,000.00 to his only son and his wife. He did so on the understanding they… Read more

Delusions and Testamentary Capacity

Delusions are often overlooked as a cause for lack of mental capacity. I was recently retained by a sister of a deceased person who advised that in her opinion, she had been disinherited from her late brother’s will as a result of his cocaine abuse…. Read more

Mental Capacity And Marriage

The law is currently in error with respect to this area, stating that only a low level of capacity is required to marry.   I question in light of that, why about one quarter of lawyers earn their keep trying to get people out of… Read more

The Pitfalls of Joint Tenancy

The Pitfalls of Joint Tenancy For many years estate planners have advised their clients to transfer their assets into joint tenancy ownership with loved ones so they may inherit by right of survivorship and avoid paying legal and probate fees. The rationale has been that… Read more

Estate Claims – Have You Been Disinherited?

Have You Been Disinherited? 1. MENTAL CAPACITY Legal test for capacity: Banks v. Goodfellow 1870 must understand that a will is being made and that it disposes property on death; must know the nature and extent of his property; must understand who has an appropriate… Read more

Severance of Joint Tenancies

The severance of joint tenancies is an increasingly important issue in estate litigation and can occur without the registered joint owners even knowing it if their conduct is inconsistent with joint ownership.   We often assume that property, registered in joint tenancy, will automatically pass… Read more