The Value of Detailed Notes

Lawyers are taught to take detailed notes. Every conversation with a client, whether in person or by telephone, or written in a document or email, is recorded in order to back up actions taken and matters billed. It’s what you turn to when your client says “I didn’t tell you to do that” and you face a complaint.

Recent estates litigation in Ontario turned on the exemplary note taking of Solicitor Barry Smith. As noted by Gans, J.:

[32]      I digress to make one observation. Smith, who had been Helen’s, if not Eugene’s, solicitor for at least 7 years by the Spring of 2011, would best be described as an ‘old-school’ solicitor. He was not only a generalist, who made ‘house calls’, but was a man who was involved or involved himself with every aspect of a client’s affairs. He made copious notes to file, which I found to be unassailable in terms of providing me with the details of the events as they unfolded during the Spring and into the Summer of 2011.

This case involved all the usual suspects: a large estate, a testator recently diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, a power of attorney clash, and undisclosed codicils. But it was the note-taking by Mr. Smith that persuaded the judge that Mrs. Kates was competent.

When reading Kates Estate, 2020 ONSC 7046, don’t ignore the footnotes. There are some very interesting comments there as well.

The Importance of Keeping Good Notes”, Richard Worsfold and Reshma Kishnani, The Lawyers Daily, January 29, 2021.

Contents Update: Estates Trusts & Pensions Journal

The latest edition of Estates Trusts & Pensions Journal has arrived and is now available for loan.

The current issue, Volume 39 Number 4, August 2020 includes:

FROM THE LAW REPORTS

  • It has been Over 150 Years Since the First Partnership Act was Enacted. Do We Understand Yet The Nature of a Partnership Interest? The High Court of Australia Weighs in on the debate, by Joel Nitikman.
  • “Not a Case about a Mere Referral”: Reflections on Salomon v. Matte-Thompson, by Lauren Flam
  • Another Cautionary Tale for Executors: Case Comment on Muth Estate, by Rhonda M. Johnson
  • Equality, Equity, and Exclusion: The Effect of the Jackson Estate Decision on Common Law Partners, by Richard Niedermayer and Madeleine Coats

ARTICLES

  • Digital Assets, Cryptocurrencies and Estate Planning, by Aaron Grinhaus, Amanda Rosenstock and Raluca Soica
  • Who Gets What, and When?, by Ari Kaplan
  • Section 58 – The “Curative” Provision of the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, by Scott Boucher

If you would like a copy of any of these articles, please email library@lawsociety.mb.ca and we would be happy to provide a pdf version (subject to copyright regulations).

Contents Update: Estates Trusts & Pensions Journal

The latest edition of Estates Trusts & Pensions Journal has arrived and is now available for loan.

The current issue, Volume 39 Number 3, May 2020 includes:

From the Law Reports

  • The impact of the Act Respecting the Transfer of Securities and the Establishment of Security Entitlements in Determining the Validity of a Gift under Quebec Law: A Case Comment on Labis v. Labis, by Sharon G. Drucker

From the Legislatures

  • TOSI in the Realm of Trusts and Estates, by Trista Gallant

Articles

  • To Give or Not to Give? An Examination of Bequests in Lieu of Executor’s Compensation, by Jessica Feldman Chittley
  • Estates and Family Law Intersect: Separation from an Incapable Spouse, by Lorisa Stein and Marni M. K. Whitaker
  • Legal Issues Associated with Informal Public Appeals and Crowdfunding, by Johanna C.C. Caithness

If you would like a copy of any of these articles, please email library@lawsociety.mb.ca and we would be happy to provide them, subject to copyright regulations.

New Journal Update

Estates, Trusts & Pensions Journal, Vol. 39, No. 2 has just been released.

Contents

From the Law Reports:

Baryla v. Baryla: The Presumption of Advancement in the Family Law Context – Lauren Blake and Caitlin MacDonnell

From the Legislatures:

Disclosure of Trust Information to Beneficiaries under New Zealand’s Trusts Act 2019 – Claudia Shan and Simon Barber

Articles:

Saskatchewan Introduces New Intestate Succession Legislation – Amanda S.A. Doucette

Common Intentions: The Standard of Review for Standard Form Wills – Tom Collins

Cross-Border Planning for Canadian Registered Retirement Plans – Elise M. Pulver, David J. Byun, Ryan M. Murphy and Amy P. Walters

Practitioners Beware: Equitable Remedies are Limited (But the Door has Not Closed) – Rami Pandher and Channing Brown

Taping Wills Instructions – John E.S. Poyser and Krista Clendenning

Lawyers who are members of the Law Society of Manitoba may request a copy of these articles by emailing library@lawsociety.mb.ca.

Estates Trusts & Pensions Journal

The latest edition of Estates Trusts & Pensions Journal has arrived and is now available for loan.

The current issue, Volume 39 Number 1, includes:

From the Law Reports
Hope and False Promises Invalidating Wills, by John E. S. Poyser and Krista Clendenning

Barford v. Street: Understanding and Applying the Rule to Collapse a Trust, by Charles Wagner and David Elmaleh

Gully v. Gully: A Cautionary Tale, by Aubrie U. Girou

Articles
Missing Participants: Various Approaches But No One Solution, by Andrea Boctor, Bas Dieleman, Kobus Hanekom, and Kevin L. Walsh

After the Will signing: “Alterations” to Valid Wills, by Alison Minard

If you would like a copy of any of these articles, please email library@lawsociety.mb.ca and we would be happy to provide them, subject to copyright regulations.