TORONTO, OTTAWA & ONTARIO ESTATE LITIGATION LAWYERS

We Provide Solutions to Executor, Beneficiary, Power of Attorney & Guardianship Disputes

While Canadians having more wealth than ever before is a clearly a good thing, we find it unfortunately leads to more and more disputes over estates, powers of attorney, and guardianships. We help solve those disputes through employing a variety of tools, including negotiation and going to court to have Superior Courts rule favourably on contentious issues.

We have access to a variety of collaborative professional experts like accountants and medical professionals who may be necessary to produce the evidence required to convince the Court of the "justice" of a case. 

We find Estate, POA and Guardianship disputes tend to fall into three classes:

  • Interpretation - of the meaning of documents;
  • Management - of assets being administered;
  • Capacity & Influence - when wills or powers of attorney were executed. 

Sometimes we are retained by the person in control of the the assets and administration being questioned. At other times, our clients are those challenging the appropriateness of interpretation, management, capacity or influence. Regardless of which class of client you might be, you need to understand that estate, power of attorney and guardianship disputes are very factually based (what did the drafter of that document intend when alive or with capacity, where did those assets go or what were they worth, what was the mental capacity at a time a document was executed), and emotionally charged (because is usually only close or distant family and friends who become involved in them). 

We find a combination of negotiation and litigation, which mixes compelling factual presentations (through affidavits, documentary exhibits, oral evidence, and expert reports) with legal argument (through written facta and oral submissions) is most likely to win the day, obtaining the best results in the least time for the most reasonable expenditure of resources. 

The issues we resolve include common disputes that might require court intervention (and lawyers to explain to the court what the "just" result should be): 

  • acting for executors to defend a will in Superior Court against beneficiaries and others;
  • applications to the Superior Court to interpret wills or trust where language is unclear, there are multiple wills, overlapping wills, conflicting wills or complex wills drafted in multiple jurisdictions; 
  • allegations of undue influence, suspicious circumstances, lack of proper execution, fraud, forgery, or lack of capacity that may invalidate a will, trust or power of attorney;
  • executor and trustee compensation levels;
  • the value of estate or trust assets;
  • executor or trustee performance;
  • applications to be appointed a guardian, to remove a guardian, or for an accounting of guardian administration of assets;
  • acting for executors, attorneys and guardians to pass accounts in Superior Court;
  • partition and sale court applications to sever joint ownership of real property;
  • court applications to remove an executor, estate trustee, attorney for property or guardian;
  • dependant support claims pursuant to Part V of the Succession Law Reform Act;
  • unjust enrichment and constructive trust claims;
  • Quantum Meruit claims where the deceased promised a future action or payment to an individual, on which basis the individual performed an action, and the promise by the deceased was not satisfied;
  • elections pursuant to s. 5(2) of the Family Law Act;
  • claims pursuant to s. 44 (liquidated claim) and s. 45 (unliquidated claim) of the Estates Act;
  • solicitor's negligence claims arising from will or trust drafting‚ improper execution, failure to ascertain capacity, failure to complete in a timely manner, and misadministration of assets 

The Estate Litigation & Dispute Resolution Lawyers

Gordon S. Campbell as the firm's Senior Barrister and Managing Lawyer has been solving disputes for over 20 years, successfully litigating contentious cases as high as the Supreme Court of Canada. He regularly appears before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and Court of Appeal for Ontario. 

He is assisted in his court practice by Barrister Karen Kenisant. 

Matthew MacLean as the firm's Senior Solicitor provides expertise on the administration of estates and trusts.