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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

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In this issue:
Technical Discussions on the Division of Matrimonial Property on Death
Fraud Alert: Possible Scam Involving a Referral Fee

Technical Discussions on the Division of Matrimonial Property on Death

The Wills and Succession Act came into force on February 1, 2012, except for section 117 of the Act. This section amends the Matrimonial Property Act to allow a surviving spouse to make a claim for matrimonial property on the death of their spouse. The Alberta Government heard some concerns relating to this amendment and a further review was directed prior to taking any steps in relation to matrimonial property. Justice and Solicitor General, Legislative Reform, is seeking input from estate and family law practitioners on how best to transition to this new law. Specifically, what should happen to a spouse's inheritance if some or all of the spouse's share of matrimonial property is taken from the deceased spouse's estate.

The deadline for providing input is June 8, 2012. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact

The on-line survey is available for your input through the link below;

>> Online Survey Link Click Here


Fraud Alert: Possible Scam Involving a Referral Fee

An Alberta lawyer recently had a call from a person inquiring if he would pay a referral fee (or finder’s fee) for a divorce file.

The caller asked if he practised divorce law, to which the lawyer responded no. The caller then asked if the lawyer would pay a referral fee (he may have said “finder’s fee”) if he referred a divorce file to me. The lawyer said he didn’t practice that type of law, and indicated he could not help in any event.

The lawyer reported that the conversation repeated itself (i.e. the lawyer paying him a referral fee) for another minute or two, and then the lawyer ended the call.

Notably, the caller did not ask for the name of any other lawyer who practises divorce law. He kept on about whether the lawyer would pay a referral fee.

The caller’s English language skills seemed pretty good, in that he carried on a conversation easily enough and seemingly with an understanding of what was being conveyed to him.

The lawyer noted that he may have been trying a scam, since even if a referral fee was appropriate, once paid there would be no obligation on a client to stay with a lawyer who had paid such a fee. It appeared to be a good way to prey on the weakness of any lawyer who was desperate for business. It also seemed like a scam that could be repeated over and over again.

If you have been targeted by this or any similar frauds, please forward details, including any emails or other documents that you have received to


Law Society of Alberta

Fraud Alert: Counterfeit Trust Cheques

An Alberta law firm has contacted the Law Society to advise that four counterfeit cheques have been negotiated through their Royal Bank trust account between May 17 and May 22, 2012 all written to the same person.

The bank has been contacted and all funds are being returned.

The law firm is closing its account and opening a new account, and monitoring cheques cashed every morning until the account closure has been completed.

The Law Society of Alberta advises lawyers and law firms to monitor their trust accounts on a daily basis and conduct monthly account reconciliations. If you should encounter a similar situation at your law firm please contact the Law Society at

Fraud Alert: Solicitation Sent by Text

An Alberta lawyer has advised the Law Society of a suspicious (obviously) fraudulent text message which was sent to her iPhone by someone identifying himself as on May 12, 2012.

The message reads as follows:

"(Info.) My client needs your honest help to assist in investing her inherited funds ($60 M US) properly, Barrister alli, email: alli.chamber".

Lawyers are advised that individuals continue to target members of the Alberta bar with attempted scams.

Know the Law Society’s client identification and verification rules, posted at


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Law Society of Alberta
Calgary Office
Suite 500, 919 11th Avenue SW
Calgary, Alberta T2R 1P3
Phone: 403-229-4700

Edmonton Office
Suite 800, Bell Tower
10104-103 Avenue
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 0H8
Phone: 780-429-3343

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