Beware of the Font Fraudster!

Beware of the Font Fraudster! He/she is lurking around every corner, or, more fittingly, around ever matter.

In McGoey (RE), a commercial litigation matter, a bankrupt telecom executive attempted to shield two properties from creditors by asserting that they were held in trust for his children. There were even trust documents purporting same!

The documents stated, inter alia, that “we agree that it is our understanding that Ledge Lodge (which refers to one of the two properties)…will be held in trust for my three children.” However, the court noted one fundamental, sensational and flabbergasting problem with the trust documents – they were typewritten in font cases (namely Cambria and Calibri) that were not in existence until years after the documents were signed. As such, the court designated the trust documents a “sham”. But for the font slip-up, said trust documents may have foiled the court!

Lessons Learned

In estate matters, us litigators are presented with numerous documents, including wills, codicils, and promissory notes, which form the crux of our matters. Whether said documents are valid is of the utmost importance. An invalid will for instance may result in the end of the matter. As such, we must comb through these documents meticulously and ensure, in the case of a will, that it is signed in accordance with section 4 of the Succession Law Reform Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.26 (i.e. by the testator and in the presence of two witnesses).

Going forward, it would seem most prudent for all parties involved, whether that be the client, counsel or the bench, to take note of the font case used in these documents (something we often don’t consider). Otherwise, we may end up being fooled by the Font Fraudster!

Though McGoey is a commercial matter, the problem noted therein may soon pop up in an estate matter. It is important that we all be aware of the Font Fraudster before he/she strikes again!

At Eisen Law in Toronto, our knowledgeable and experienced estate litigation lawyers can help you with any and all issues involved in estate planning. We offer free initial consultations and work hard to ensure you can easily access the legal advice that you need. Call us at 416-591-9997 or contact us online.