Tiffany Paulsen, Q.C., Elected to Bencher of the Law Society of Saskatchewan

Congratulations to Tiffany Paulsen, Q.C. on her election to Bencher of the Law Society of Saskatchewan.

The Benchers govern Saskatchewan’s law society by setting and enforcing standards for admissions, professional conduct and quality of service. More information about Benchers of the Law Society of Saskatchewan can be found here.

Related News and Articles

Tiffany Paulsen honoured with Lexpert Zenith Award

Tiffany Paulsen has won a 2016 Lexpert® Zenith Award.  This award honours individuals and organizations for excellence in their careers and service to their practice areas, community, profession, law firms, and businesses in the field of Diversity and Inclusion....

read more

Tiffany Paulsen nominated for Women of Distinction Award

Partner Tiffany M. Paulsen has been nominated for this year's YWCA Women of Distinction Award in the Leadership, Management and Professions category. Tiffany is dedicated to her family law practice and is actively involved in several professional organizations. Her...

read more

Tiffany Paulsen named distinguished graduate

Tiffany Paulsen Q.C. was recently named one of the "100 distinguished graduates" at the University of Saskatchewan College of Law Centennial Celebrations.  The College of Law highlighted Tiffany's impressive litigation record before the Court of Queen's Bench, the...

read more

Tiffany Paulsen with baby Eden on the cover of “Bridges”

Today's issue of "Bridges", a local weekly newspaper published by the Star Pheonix features a story about RSP lawyer Tiffany Paulsen.  Tiffany is soon returning to RSP from a maternity leave.  Her other role, that of Saskatoon city councillor does not provide for time...

read more

Paulsen appointed Q.C.

Congratulations to Tiffany Paulsen on her recent appointment as Queen's Counsel (Q.C.) Eighteen Saskatchewan lawyers were honoured with Q.C. designations for 2009. Queen's Counsel is an honourary designation awarded to those recommended by a selection committee...

read more

Darlene Wingerak presents at CBA Labour and Employment Law Symposium


Join Darlene Wingerak as she discusses mediation ethics at the CBA Labour and Employment Law Symposium on November 9. The session will discuss ethical issues arising in mediations for both lawyers and mediators, particularly those related to workplace disputes and the current environment. Example scenarios will be used to illustrate difficult ethical issues, and panellists will discuss their own and sometimes differing perspectives on the appropriate means of addressing those issues.

November 9 | 11:00 AM – 5:30 PM ET


Related News and Articles

No Results Found

The page you requested could not be found. Try refining your search, or use the navigation above to locate the post.

Prompt Payment Legislation in force in Saskatchewan on March 1, 2022

For quite some time, the Saskatchewan construction industry has been focused on the details of prompt payment legislation, and the long-awaited launch date is finally here!  The Government of Saskatchewan recently announced that The Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act, 2019 will be proclaimed into force on March 1, 2022.  This legislation will mandate reasonable payment timelines for most construction services in Saskatchewan and will provide for an efficient adjudication process to resolve interim disputes on projects.  Robertson Stromberg LLP was proud to represent the Saskatchewan Construction Association as they pushed for the enactment of this legislation for the benefit of Saskatchewan’s construction industry.

For more information about The Builders’ Lien (Prompt Payment) Amendment Act, 2019 contact Misty Alexandre or Jared Epp.

Misty S. Alexandre

Direct: (306) 933-1352
Main: (306) 652-7575
Fax: (306) 652-2445
Email: [email protected]

Jared D. Epp

Direct: (306) 933-1326
Main: (306) 652-7575
Fax: (306) 652-2445
Email: [email protected]

Related News and Articles

James Steele presents at STLA Fall Conference

STLA Fall Conference

Challenging Wealth Transfers: Themes, Trends & Tools

James Steele will be presenting at the STLA’s fall conference: Challenging Wealth Transfers: Themes, Trends and Tools on October 22, 2021.

James’ presentation is entitled “Steps in a Will Challenge” and he will walk through the steps in challenging a will including general procedure; challenging undue influence and capacity; where to obtain evidence; and how to avoid a Will challenge in the first place.

October 22, 2021

9:00 am – 4:30 pm

Virtual conference via Zoom 

CPD hours: 6 with 2.5 qualifying towards “ethics”

Related News and Articles

Call for feedback on behalf of the CBA

James Steele is Legislation and Law Reform Director of CBA Saskatchewan. Comments are invited on the SK Government’s ongoing development of Regulations to support The Financial Planners and Financial Advisors Act. CBA Members are welcomed to review the Ontario draft...

read more

Saskatchewan Estate Litigation Update

An interesting recent estate litigation decision out of Saskatchewan is Leason v Malcolm, 2020 SKQB 102. Leason reminds us that once a  bequest is vested, it may not be divested. In other words, if a beneficiary survives the testator, but the beneficiary then dies...

read more

Why Do I Need a Will?

A commonly asked question is why do I need a will? Your will sets out what is to happen to your assets (more commonly known as your estate) when you pass away. If you pass away without a will then your estate falls into what is called intestacy. An intestate estate...

read more

Virtual court operations in Saskatchewan

Despite the availability of virtual technology, it remains impossible in many Canadian courts to file court documents online, or hold video hearings. This article argues that Canadian court systems face two options during the COVID-19 pandemic: First, resign...

read more

Judicial technological innovations

Closings of courthouses should be a wake-up call to adopt 21st century technology The COVID-19 pandemic has caused unprecedented disruption to daily norms in Canada. Lawyers are not exempt, and many courts in Canada have either severely reduced their case hearing...

read more

Estate planning in a time of uncertainty

As the world changes in response to the coronavirus (Covid-19) outbreak, you may wonder how you can legally best protect yourself, and loved ones. The present is a good time to make certain that you have certain crucial legal documents in place.Last Will and Testament...

read more

Holding Taxpayers at Ransom

James Steele's article on the latest target of data bank robbers - Canadian municipalities - appears in the August 2019 issue of Canadian Underwriter.  James speaks anecdotally of Canadian municipalities who have been hijacked by cyber criminals and advises municipal...

read more

Andrew Gaucher Presents at “Planning Ahead Seminar”

On Wednesday June 26, Andrew Gaucher will be speaking about the importance of Estate Planning at the “Planning Ahead Seminar” hosted by Hillcrest Memorial Gardens & Funeral Home.  The evening session, beginning at 6:30 will also include other planning aspects such...

read more

James Steele’s Insurance Article Cited in BCCA Decision

A recent British Columbia Court of Appeal decision (West Van Holdings Ltd. v. Economical Mutual Insurance Company) cited an article written by associate lawyer James Steele. "Deterrence not damages: the punitive rationale for solicitor-client costs" was published in...

read more

James Steele Presents to Saskatoon Estate Planning Council

James Steele was the featured speaker at a recent meeting of the Saskatoon Estate Council. James' presentation focused on Powers of Attorney, briefing the group on particular court decisions involving issues such as fiduciary duty, capacity concerns, and duty to...

read more

Funeral expenses: Why executors should pay them promptly

This article discusses the payment of funeral expenses out of an estate, and why executors should pay them promptly.

The first reason is practical. After death, the funeral home is often the first to provide a service to the estate. It disposes of the body in a safe and respectful manner. As such, the funeral home understandably expects to be paid. To pay this expense promptly will ensure the estate is not later sued for the invoice, and interest charges are not incurred. Moreover, it means there is one less expense for the executors to later deal with.

The second reason to pay promptly, is that the law prioritizes funeral expenses. Almost every will drawn by a lawyer, will include a clause directing the executor “to pay out of and charge to the capital of my general estate my just debts, and funeral and testamentary expenses.”

Thus, the will of a deceased usually expressly requires the estate to pay the funeral expenses. Thus, even in situations where is a dispute over which will is valid, it is very unlikely there will be a dispute over whether it was legitimate to pay funeral expenses. Again, it is simpler to pay those expenses, get them out of the way, and then move on to other issues (like which will is valid etc).

For an example of how the law prioritizes the payment of funeral expenses, we may look to the Alberta decision in Chernichan v. Chernichan Estate, 2001 CarswellAlta 1730, 2001 ABQB 913, [2001] A.J. No. 1429. There, the Court spoke of the “public interest in the prompt and dignified disposal of human remains”, and that the funeral costs should be paid promptly:

14      Where one party pays funeral expenses, he or she is generally able to recover them from any person who has a higher obligation to pay them, even if that person had no input into or even knowledge of the funeral: Schara Tzedeck v. Royal Trust Co. (1952), [1953] 1 S.C.R. 31 (S.C.C.) at p. 37. Funeral arrangements must usually be made in a very short period of time, sometimes before the personal representative is identified, and invariably before probate is issued. The family usually makes the arrangements without regard to who is in a technical sense legally responsible for either making the arrangements or paying the expenses. Because of the public interest in the prompt and dignified disposal of human remains, the law imposes a duty on those ultimately responsible to reimburse the person who actually incurs the obligation. The obligation to reimburse arises in restitution, not in contract, and is founded on considerations of necessity, unjust enrichment and public health: Goff and Jones, The Law of Restitution, (5th ed., 1998), pp. 480-81. Thus the son in Routtu could recover from his father. See also Tkachuk v. Uhryn (1952), 6 W.W.R. (N.S.) 515 (Sask. Dist. Ct.) (daughter entitled to costs of funeral from estate); and Sargent & Son Ltd. v. Buday, [2000] O.J. No. 5476 (Ont. S.C.J.) (estate must reimburse son). The Applicant is therefore prima facie entitled to reimbursement for the reasonable expenses he incurred.

[emphasis added]

Even where an estate is insolvent, funeral expenses have a priority among the debts. Indeed, we find this enshrined in s. 46.2 of the Administration of Estates Act, SS 1998, c A-4.1 which says that reasonable funeral expenses are to be paid in priority to virtually all other debts. The provision reads below:

Ranking of debts

46.2 (1) When the assets of an estate are not sufficient to pay all the debts of an estate, the following debts shall be paid proportionately and without any preference or priority of debts of one rank or nature over those of another:

  1. debts due to the Crown in right of Saskatchewan and to the executor or administrator of the deceased person; and
  2. unsecured debts.

(2) Reasonable funeral, testamentary and administration expenses are to be paid in priority to the claims mentioned in subsection (1).

(3) Nothing in this section prejudices any lien or charge existing during the lifetime of the deceased on any of the deceased’s property

[emphasis added]

We even find that the federal Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act makes clear that funeral expenses have a priority, where an estate has assigned into bankruptcy:

Priority of claims

136. (1) Subject to the rights of secured creditors, the proceeds realized from the property of a bankrupt shall be applied in priority of payment as follows:

(a) in the case of a deceased bankrupt, the reasonable funeral and testamentary expenses incurred by the legal representative or, in the Province of Quebec, the successors or heirs of the deceased bankrupt;

(b) the costs of administration, in the following order,

  1. the expenses and fees of any person acting under a direction made under paragraph 4.03(1)(a),
  2. the expenses and fees of the trustee, and
  3. legal costs;

[emphasis added]

Thus, there is a super-priority for funeral expenses. In the Chernichan decision referenced above, the Court even held that funeral expenses have a priority even over unpaid taxes owing by the estate. Because the executor, in that case, should have paid the funeral expenses before the taxes (and she did not), she was personally liable to pay any unpaid reasonable funeral expenses.

What if the funeral expenses are unreasonable?

Funeral expenses only have a priority to be paid, to the extent that they are reasonable. We see the qualifying word “reasonable” used in both the Administration of Estates Act, and the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act.

What then is reasonable? There is some prior guidance from courts, suggesting that the cost of the funeral should be sensible, having regard to the deceased’s financial assets, and other circumstances. Thus, if a deceased died with very little in assets, it is reasonable that their funeral should contain only that is necessary. Indeed, the Chernichan decision held that ‘in insolvent estates only the simplest and most modest tombstones can be charged against the creditors.”

If the executor of a small estate insists on a magnificent and expensive service or headstone, the funeral home should obtain appropriate assurances from the executor (i.e. pre-payment, or a contract stating that the executor will be personally liable to pay the cost, if the estate cannot afford it).

What if the estate bank accounts are frozen?

Some delays in payment are frustrating but legitimate.

In many, even before probate is obtained, a bank will release monies from an account to pay the funeral costs. If an executor says that the bank will not release money to pay the funeral cost, the funeral home should ask the executor to find out why this is.

What about the case of a disputed will, where someone says Will A is valid, and someone argues Will B is valid? In such a case, the bank may be reluctant to deal with any executor until the one true will is determined in a court proceeding (and thus, once this is determined, it will also determine who is the true executor)

Should a will challenge be a good reason to hold up payment of funeral costs? From a common sense perspective, the two conflicting sides should ideally come to a negotiated agreement on the issue of funeral costs. That is, they may agree to immediately pay the funeral costs out of a bank account, on the basis that, regardless of which will is later found to govern, there is no reason the funeral expenses could not be paid in the interim. Of course, the above outcome requires the reasonableness of the two sides, which is never guaranteed in litigation.

What can funeral homes do to ensure they get paid?

If the circumstances of the deceased are complex (i.e. no local family to act as “decision maker” or pursue probate) the only way to guarantee payment is to ask for payment up front, before  providing services. One situation which occurs is there the funeral home does the work, but is left holding its unpaid invoice when no family member will take the effort to take steps to administer the estate etc. If the funeral home has evidence before the funeral that this may occur, the funeral home may wish to ask for money upfront.

Second, a funeral home should always make sure that it is obtaining instructions from the true representative of the estate. This is already required in the Funeral and Cremation Services Act, which requires a funeral home to obtain written authorization from the authorized decision-maker, before providing services (see s. 92). This due diligence should ensure that a funeral home does not do a lot of work at the request of person A, only to find out that person B was the true executor.

If a funeral home has tried all reasonable attempts to secure payment of an overdue invoice, they may need to simply sue the estate. If the bill is for less than $30,000, which most will be, you can sue in Small Claims court. However, note that in Small Claims court you cannot recover any legal fees, if you use a lawyer. Also note that, due to limitation periods, you must sue within 2 years of the non-payment. Indeed, when suing estates, the sooner you sue the better, to ensure that estate assets are not distributed out of your reach.

Sometimes the question arises – can a funeral home sue the executor personally, as well as the estate, for unpaid expenses? The executor’s personal money, is separate from the estate’s money. The most reliable way to ensure you can sue an executor personally, is to ensure the executor signs a contract in advance, stating that they are personally liable (in addition to the estate) to pay the funeral home. Not all executors may be willing to sign such a clause however, so you should clarify this before the funeral.   

That said, if an estate legitimately incurs a debt to a funeral home, and then later the executor distributes all the assets of the estate before paying the funeral home, that executor may become personally liable. Each situation is unique, and it is recommend to consult a lawyer for specific situations.

Contacting a Lawyer on this Subject

James Steele’s preferred practise area is estate litigation, including will challenges, executor disputes, power of attorney issues, etc. Contact James Steele at 1-306-933-1338 or [email protected]. The above is for general information only, and not legal advice. Parties should always seek legal advice prior to taking action in specific situations.

Read more on our blog.

The Saskatchewan Estate Law blog is dedicated to providing practical, real-world information on Estate Law issues that affect Saskatchewan residents. The blog is written by RS lawyer, James Steele, whose practice focuses on estate litigation.

Robertson Stromberg welcomes Michael Conlon and Danielle Yuzdepski

Michael Conlon brings a wealth of experience to our corporate commercial practice group, with an emphasis on commercial transactions, financing, and residential and commercial real estate.


Direct: (306) 933-1365
Main: (306) 652-7575
Fax: (306) 652-2445
Email: [email protected]

Drawing on her unique experience to deliver practical advice and results for clients, Danielle Yuzdepski’s areas of practice include family law, wills and estates, and elder law.


Direct: (306) 933-1358
Main: (306) 652-7575
Fax: (306) 652-2445
Email: [email protected]


RICS and CIArb 2021 Construction Dispute Symposium Series

Join Robertson Stromberg Partner Misty S. Alexandre on Tuesday, May 25, for the RICS and CIArb 2021 Construction Dispute Symposium series.This Symposium series will explore recent trends and emerging approaches to dispute resolution in the construction industry....

read more

KidSport Scavenger Hunt

Team RS recently competed in the KidSportSaskatoon Corporate Challenge Scavenger Hunt, where funds raised help children in our community play organized sport. Lawyers raced across the city, finding clues while learning about Saskatoon's rich sports history. KidSport...

read more

Tiffany M Paulsen receives Q.Arb designation

Congratulations to Tiffany M. Paulsen, Q.C., on achieving Q.Arb designation from the ADR Institute of Canada (ADRIC). ADRIC is Canada's preeminent self-regulatory professional Dispute Resolution organization. It provides education and certification, promotes ethical...

read more

Will and Estate Planning – Live Webinar

Live Webinar! Tuesday, March 23 7:00 - 8:30 pmJoin James Steele and Ben Parsonson on March 23 for an insightful discussion on the essential components of estate planning, including wills, naming of executors, powers of attorney and tax implications.

read more