Alex Procope Co-Chaired Innovation in Trusts & Estates Law 2021 Program

Alex Procope co-chaired the Ontario Bar Association’s Innovation in Trusts & Estates Law 2021 program with Jonathan Keslassy of KFG Law on June 1, 2021. Some of the topics that were discussed are highlighted below.

Friedrich Blasé, the Ontario Bar Association (OBA) Innovator in Residence, opened the discussion about the difficulties lawyers have choosing technology tools. Lawyers appear to approach these decisions differently from commercial enterprises. Lawyers generally dismiss a tool that does not fully meet the expectations founded in the lawyers’ current systems. Other businesses seem to be more open to various technologies if they will assist partially.

Ray Leclair of LawPRO recapped recent legislative reforms, including with respect to virtual signing of wills. He also discussed some best practices for practising law virtually. For example, lawyers should still be ensuring that the formalities of executing wills are met despite a new ability for the court to validate wills.

Judith Wahl of Wahl Elder Law shared cautionary tales of technology and health care decision making confirmed in her studies of various health records and advanced care planning tools, which do not accurately reflect Ontario healthcare laws.

Gillian Fournie of de Vries Litigation LLP provided tips on using (new) technology and participating in remote hearings. She also provided reminders, such as be kind, as everyone is still adapting to new technologies, to dress appropriately and have a professional background, as remote hearings are still formal.

Brendan Donovan of Donovan Kochman LLP spoke about a case involving coached evidence in examinations, and another case involving forged electronic evidence. He anticipates seeing more impersonation and more forged electronic evidence in estates litigation. As such, an approach he recommended is the incorporation of additional directions into our standard draft orders governing the conduct of virtual examinations or the production of documents.

Quinn Ross of The Ross Firm reviewed their transition to a four-day work week and the benefits that resulted from that transition including to productivity notwithstanding the fewer hours spent working.

Nicole Abergil of KFG Law discussed steps for planning and administering a digital estate plan. Digital assets she spoke about included cryptocurrency, social networking accounts, non-fungible tokens, and points from point programs.

Kimberly Whaley of WEL Partners spoke about the office technology her firm used pre-pandemic and the enhancements made during the pandemic. She also provided insight on how technology has assisted her firm in marketing, including through the use of a blog, newsletter, and social media.

Cassandra Martino of Elm Law continued the discussion on “How I’ve implemented Social Media and Tech in my Form/Practice, and Why I Won’t Turn Back”. In sharing her personal experiences, she discussed how supportive the legal profession is online and the opportunities that have arisen from using social media.

Eva Chan, a lawyer turned social media consultant for lawyers, provided tips on how to “spring clean” one’s social media profiles and website biography, and ways to create blog posts and social media content to share on a consistent basis. She also discussed how to make a human connection when communicating on social media.

Thank you for reading.

To discuss trusts or estates-related law issues with Alex Procope or any other PBP lawyer, please contact us at at 416-320-1914 or