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Friday, December 11, 2015

Consider relationship dynamics when choosing an estate trustee

I'd like to pass on to readers an article I read on by Charles Ticker, an Ontario lawyer. In this article, Mr. Ticker talks about just how ugly things can get when the relationship between the executor/trustee and the beneficiaries breaks down. This happens fairly often, partly because neither the executor nor the beneficiaries really know how to carry out their roles.

Click here to read the article. In it, Mr. Ticker looks at the case of Bunn v. Gordon, a new case from Ontario in which the deceased, Hazen Allen Simpson, died leaving his girlfriend in charge of his estate, with his two adult children as beneficiaries. The relationship between the girlfriend and the kids broke down, and it ended up in court.

The case is interesting because it talks about whether or not the court should remove the trustee from her role. This case shows that while the courts are reluctant to interfere with the appointment of trustee made in a will, the overriding concern is the welfare of the beneficiaries. In this case, the judge said that things had become so bad that the estate simply could not proceed and it was better for the estate and the beneficiaries if the executor/trustee was removed.

It's always good to see cases in which we see how judges deal with the problems we see in real life every day. I hear an awful lot of complaints about executors, and more than a few about beneficiaries, and this case goes to show that the courts expect people to be adults and just suck it up unless things get really, really bad.


  1. It has been my experience over a 50 year period that the worst offenders are the dishonest greed of executors. While beneficiaries have no clue as to their rights.


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