Summary

40661

George Bitaxis v. Steve Dimakarakos, in his capacity as named estate trustee of the estate of Theoni Bitaxis

(Ontario) (Civil) (By Leave)

Keywords

Wills and estates — Wills — Validity — Applicant beneficiary of estate challenging validity of most recent iteration of deceased’s will — Application judge granting respondent’s request to vacate applicant’s objection to will and appointing respondent as sole estate trustee — Court of Appeal unanimously upholding application judge’s decision — Whether and how courts can ensure fair and reasonable process in obtaining evidence during challenge to validity of will — Whether and how courts can reconcile summary dismissal of will challenge on basis of ambiguous “minimal evidentiary threshold” with courts’ inquisitorial function in probate — What is proper procedure to allow legitimate inquiries with respect to validity of will in accordance with established principles of justice?

Summary

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The applicant sought to challenge the validity of the most recent iteration of the deceased’s will. The applicant filed a Notice of Objection to the respondent’s application to be named sole trustee of the estate pursuant to the most recent version of the will. The respondent sought an order to vacate the objection filed by the applicant.

The application judge ruled in favour of the respondent, granted his request to vacate the applicant’s objection to the will, and issued an order declaring the respondent to be the sole estate trustee. This decision was upheld by a unanimous panel of the Court of Appeal.

Lower Court Rulings

July 27, 2022
Ontario Superior Court of Justice

CV-21-006-73178-00ES
Application for order vacating Mr. Bitaxis’ Notice of Objection to Mr. Dimakarakos’ being appointed as estate trustee — granted; Mr. Dimakarakos is appointed sole estate trustee
January 24, 2023
Court of Appeal for Ontario

2023 ONCA 66, COA-22-CV-0009
Mr. Bitaxis’ appeal — dismissed