- Ademption: Also known as the presumption against double proportions. This is the principle that an inheritor should not receive the same gift twice. If the inheritor received a gift when the testator was alive, they should not receive the same property again under the will. There are important limitations to this principle.
- Administration (of a Trust): Matters that are exclusively concerned with the management of trust affairs, including the appointment of a trustee, managing investments, satisfying debts, and making distributions.
- Aggravated Damages: Money intended to compensate someone for additional harm caused by reprehensible or outrageous conduct of a defendant.
- Annuity: The right to receive fixed and periodic payments.
- Assets: In estate law, assets only include the property that could have been available to a deceased to pay the deceased’s debts.
- Belongings: All of the testator’s personal property disposable by will at the time of death.
- Beneficiary: Persons interested in the estate or trust property.
- Bequest: A gift by will of personal property (aka devise).
- Capacity: Present when a testator is able to rationally consider the claims of all those who are related to him or her when signing a will. The testator must understand the nature of will, the extent of the property, and several other elements of how the estate is being divided. A person must have capacity when a will was signed for that will to be valid.
- Codicil: A modification to an existing will.
- Coercion: In the context of undue influence means that the testator has been put in such a condition of mind that they would say “this is not my wish, but I must do it”. If undue influence is present, a will is not valid.
- Constructive Trust: Occurs when the legal title to property is with one person, but the beneficial interest is with another.
(a) the spouse (including former spouse) of the deceased,
(b) a parent of the deceased,
(c) a child of the deceased, or
(d) a brother or sister of the deceased,
to whom the deceased was providing support or was under a legal obligation to provide support immediately before his or her death.
- Estate: A person’s money and property in its entirety at the time of their death.
- Estoppel: The principle that prevents one party from representing something to another then later denying it. The other person must have acted on the representation to their detriment.
- Fiduciary: One who stands in a position of trust to another individual. A fiduciary is required to act in the best interests of the person on whose behalf they are acting.
- Four Corners Approach: The intention of the testator is to be taken from the will itself, at least at first, and surrounding circumstances are not to be considered unless the intention of the testator cannot be understood from the language of the will alone.
- Fraud: A false representation made, knowingly, with the intention of deceiving another.
- Heirs: The beneficiaries of an intestate (without a will) person’s estate who are entitled to receive that property should that person die without a will.
- Henson Trust: A discretionary trust intended to preserve a disabled beneficiary’s entitlement to payments made under the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP).
- Holograph Will: A handwritten will.
- Inter Vivos Gift: A gratuitous transfer of property from its owner to another person while the donor is alive and not in the expectation of death.
- In Terrorem Clauses: An attempt to divest a party of their inheritance if they try to challenge the distribution under the will. These clauses are unenforceable.
- Intestate: When a person dies without a valid will.
- Joint Tenancy: When two or more people hold property held in a joint tenancy arrangement, that property passes to the survivors when one of them dies.
- Limitation Period: The period of time, the expiry of which extinguishes a party’s legal remedies, and in some cases, a party’s legal rights.
–If you do not sue within your limitation period, you may never be able to enforce your rights.
- Litigation Guardian: The person responsible for commencing, maintaining, or defending an action on behalf of another person.
- Next of Kin: A testator’s nearest blood relations.
- Power of Attorney: A person who is authorized to do a certain act or acts in the place of, and on behalf of, another.
- Presumption Against Intestacy: The court will prefer an interpretation of a will that avoids intestacy.
- Residue: Refers to the part of the estate remaining after payment of all debts, bequests, devises, fees and expenses.
- Resulting Trust: Occurs when a person transfers property or contributes to its purchase price and the property is then placed in the name of another.
- Specific Legacy: Occurs when the testator separates a particular benefit to go to a specific person unconditionally. This benefit is not part of the residue, which will be consumed to pay debts first.
- Tenants in Common: Co-owners of property. There is no right of survivorship, meaning that upon the death of one of the owners, the remaining owners will not automatically absorb the interest.
- Trust: An equitable obligation binding a person (a trustee) to deal with property over which they have control (the trust property) for the benefit of persons (beneficiaries).
- Will: A disposition or declaration by which the person making it provides for the distribution or administration of property after their death. A will is subject to several requirements in order to be valid. It includes:
(a) a testament,
(b) a codicil,
(c) an appointment by will or by writing in the nature of a will in exercise of a power, and
(d) any other testamentary disposition.