In light of current trends in the industry, we are pleased to offer you a summary of two important decisions, Pecore v. Pecore1 and Madsen Estate v. Saylor.2 Attached are the case summaries.

These companion cases provide a glimpse of the types of problems that arise with respect to joint accounts with a right of survivorship. The cases also work together to define the law regarding presumptions as they relate to gratuitous transfers of property. For example, the majority of the court in these cases agreed that the presumption of advancement should only apply to minor children, and not to adult children, regardless of whether or not they are dependant. Ultimately, the Supreme Court of Canada maintained that evidence of the deceased's intention is of primary importance, and the equitable presumptions only apply in the absence of such evidence.

These cases are of particular interest to financial institutions and securities dealers on the issue of joint accounts with rights of survivorship. It is with the backdrop of these important decisions that banks and securities dealers can design policies, terms of agreements and training to address the competing claims by clients and their beneficiaries. With the population aging, we hope to assist dealers with these challenges.


1. [2007] S.C.J. No. 17.

2. [2007] S.C.J. No. 18.