Disputes following the death of a family member are, sadly, increasingly commonplace. We live in an age and culture characterised by extended families, step families and families who are frequently geographically spread widely. Fractured family relationships can be the catalyst for arguments over a deceased’s estate when a family member dies, which can then lead to painful estate litigation.
The experienced estate litigation lawyers at Rogerson Law Group, led by asset protection barrister Andrew Rogerson, advise and represent claimants in deceased estates and executors in Toronto, Barrie and the entire GTA. We are known both for our sympathetic approach to family members who are grieving, and for the aggressive stance we take in pursuing a rightful claim through the court, or defending claims on behalf of clients.
Our practice also undertakes Probate and Estate Administration.
Our Estate Litigation lawyers work for:
- a portion of an estate for dependants who have not been provided for
- for rightful entitlement under a Will (or intestacy where there is no Will)
- the validity of a Will
- the administration of an estate – in Canada or abroad
- beneficiaries and executors to protect an estate in disputes
- for variations of beneficial entitlement to ensure a claimant is properly provided for
Where possible, we will negotiate a settlement before trial. Reaching a settlement has two benefits: it avoids the additional expense of a trial, and reduces the period of distressing litigation at a time when many parties are still grieving.
Wills are sometimes challenged on the grounds of the testator’s ‘capacity’.
The testamentary capacity of an individual is his or her mental capacity to make a will. The testator (the individual making a will) must have the necessary testamentary capacity required by law to make a valid will. The court considers a number of factors in the circumstances of each case when deciding on the issue of capacity. If it is proved that the testator did not have testamentary capacity, the will is invalid and will not take effect.
An increasing number of wills are the subject of litigation on the basis of capacity. Even a will drawn up during an extreme period of bereavement has been declared by the UK courts as invalid. If you are concerned about the validity of a will on the basis of capacity, it is imperative you seek urgent legal advice.
Overseas wills and assets
Canada is a land of immigrants. Many of our clients have overseas family, or have foreign wills and estates, or assets in other jurisdictions.
These factors mean we are frequently asked by clients to act for them in disputes involving another jurisdiction. Our Estate Litigation lawyers are renowned for their years of successful multi-jurisdictional experience.
- Our Estate Litigation lawyers has represented clients in many notable cases. In Middel v Vandentop (2010 ONSC 2951), for instance, we acted in a case in which the court held that the deceased estate was liable to support an ex-wife, who had divorced the deceased some 35 years earlier, yet had never obtained a court order for spousal maintenance. The case had significant implications for executors, where a deceased has given financial help, just prior to death, to an ex-spouse, with whom he has had no contact in several decades and has no legal obligation to support. Read here for more on this case
- The team is currently representing family members in litigation of a deceased estate case involving Ontario, Bermuda, the Turks and Caicos Islands and Panama.
- We recently acted in contested estate litigation involving Canada and the United Kingdom in which we successfully argued that the proceedings in the UK should be stayed and those in Ontario proceed.
How can we help?
Contact us now. If you have lost a family member and want to make a claim against the estate, or if you are an executor and need legal advice about making or defending a claim, we can help.
Rogerson Law Group provides litigation services in the entire GTA including Toronto, Scarborough, Mississauga, Vaughan, Brampton, Richmond Hill, Etobicoke, Barrie and other areas with offices located in downtown Toronto, Barrie, and associated offices in North York and Ottawa.