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Digest of the Week | Testamentary Capacity

Quaggiotto v. Quaggiotto | 2019 ONCA 107 | Ontario Court of Appeal

Estates and trusts - Estates - Will challenges - Testamentary capacity -Suspicious circumstances - Lucidity of testator

Deceased left his estate to his spouse (mother) pursuant to will — Mother had executed mirror will which left estate to husband, with residue split unevenly between two sons, F and L — In 2014, mother executed codicil which dramatically changed will in which estate trustee was changed; will gave specific bequests to grandchildren and completing disinherited F — Mother died in March 2016 — F challenged validity of codicil — Trial judge upheld validity of codicil holding that L had satisfied his burden of proving due execution of codicil and knowledge of its contents — Further, L met his burden of proving testamentary capacity and that L had successfully rebutted any inference of coercion or undue influence — F appealed — Appeal dismissed — Evidence supported factual finding that mother had knowledge of her assets — Trial judge relied on testator's knowledge of her holdings in family corporations — There was also evidence of designated capacity assessor and practicing geriatric nurse consultant, whose report stated that she was satisfied that mother knew what her assets and her net worth were — Moreover, mother's former solicitor also felt strongly that she was knowledgeable with respect to her assets.
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