BMO Trust Company and Verolin Spence et alPosted May 5, 2016
2016 ONCA 196; Lerners represented the Respondents in this appeal of an order setting aside a will. The Respondents had brought an application to set aside the will of their deceased father, which disinherited the Respondents (the deceased’s daughter and grandson). The application judge set aside the will on the grounds of public policy, finding that the deceased had racist motivations in choosing not to leave a gift to his daughter. The Court of Appeal reinstated the will, finding that there were no public policy grounds justifying judicial interference with the deceased’s testamentary freedom. The application judge also had erred in admitting extrinsic evidence that contradicted the testator’s lawful motive as disclosed by the plain language of the will and substituted a different and allegedly unlawful motive.