Mann Lawyers has proudly assisted our community of clients with their wills and estate needs for 25 years, including working closely with professional and non-professional Estate Trustees. Our recognized experience and expertise is the product of a careful, balanced, knowledgeable and time tested commitment to wherever your issues take you. Because this history of service has involved our lawyers in the management and conduct of estate litigation, we have established a stand-alone Estate Litigation Group, to better assist our clients at times of stress by providing the necessary litigation experience and guidance they will require to make fully informed decisions. While our primary objective is to resolve disputes and avoid the costs, disruption and consequences of litigation, where that is not possible, we know how to support your position in the courts effectively and respectfully. Our Estate Litigation Group is chaired by Heather Austin-Skaret, Co-Managing Partner, who has built a team which includes estates, wills and family lawyers with experience at all levels of courts and tribunals, supported by a seasoned expertise in alternative dispute resolution, mandatory for estate disputes.
Among other matters, our experienced team can assist with the following:
A capacity assessment is the formal assessment of a person’s mental capacity to make decisions about property and personal care. Our team will assist you in addressing the many issues arising out of concern for the capacity of your loved ones.
Capacity Assessment Disputes
In circumstances where your loved one refuses a capacity assessment, a court order may become necessary to compel attendance. Our team will guide you through.
Claims re Estate Administration
Many issues arise in the administration of an estate, regardless of size or apparent complexity. If you have concerns about how an estate is being managed, we can help.
Consent and Capacity Board Work
Disputes may arise in capacity matters and it may be necessary to involve the Consent and Capacity Board (Ontario). At such times, our familiarity with the Board and the rules that apply will assist.
It is not uncommon for disputes to arise as to the validity of a will or parts of it. A will is the most important evidence of the intentions of your loved one. Where issues exist as to either the validity of the will or the interpretation of its provisions, sound and sensitive legal advice is required and you will find comfort with us.
Dependant Support Claims
Whether a will has made satisfactory provision for the support of dependants of the testator involves technical issues in the application of both statutory and common law. You can rely on our experience in addressing and resolving such claims, both in and out of court.
Permanent or temporary guardianship of a child/incapable adult relates to having custody and or decision making power over the child/incapable adult recognized at law or having the legal right to manage a child or incapable adult’s assets. Few decisions are more important than those related to the protection and support of the rights of vulnerable persons. Sensitive, knowledgeable and competent representation is required.
Passing of Accounts
An estate trustee has an obligation at law to ensure that the administration of the estate is represented by complete and detailed records accessible to residual beneficiaries of the estate. Our team has the experience to prepare the accounts for estate trustees and to ensure that as a beneficiary you receive the accounting you are entitled to.
Power of Attorney Disputes
A power of attorney allows an individual to involve others in the care and control of the person and property. Like other matters in the administration of care and assets, competent advice in the organization and preparation of a power of attorney is required. We can assist. Should disputes arise, our team has experience in resolving complex issues involving significant assets and contests over the provision of care.
As noted above, mediation is mandatory in estate disputes. While mediation and arbitration are in fact different, both involve out of court resolution of estate disputes. Mediation may or may not resolve the dispute, while arbitration will result in a final decision. Special skills are required in both. Our team has two of the most experienced and senior arbitrators and mediators in Ontario.
Trustee Disputes and Removal of an Estate Trustee
It is possible in Ontario to challenge the administration of an estate trustee including removal and replacement of the trustee. This involves an application to the Superior Court of Justice pursuant to the rules and statutory provisions which apply. We have the experience to assist.
Variations of Trusts
Trusts, which may be carried out both during life and after death, are complex legal instruments creating rights and obligations, involving a trustee, with potential impact over all aspects of a loved one’s assets or estate. We understand the law that applies to the execution and winding up of trusts and, where necessary, to the variation of its terms.
To learn more about our Estate Litigation service area and some of the legal issues as they may arise, please visit our Estate Litigation blog.