Wills, Estates + Trusts
We assist clients in creating and preserving wealth through estate planning, estate administration, mediation and litigation. Our clients include individuals, family businesses, financial institutions, trust companies, charities, hospitals and universities. We provide on-site seminars on estate planning to interested companies, organizations and groups. We also conduct business succession planning for family businesses.
We act for several of British Columbia’s leading registered charities. Our services include incorporating societies, establishing charitable trusts and foundations and advising charities and not-for-profits regarding their ongoing governance and administration.
Our estate planning services include advising on and preparing wills, assisting with planning for an incapacity, structuring and implementing trusts and assisting with adult guardianship matters. We develop comprehensive strategies to minimize taxes and other financial burdens on clients’ estates and to protect beneficiaries from needless expense and frustration. We also assist with planned giving for charitable purposes. We provide comprehensive advice to business owners regarding estate freezes, corporate reorganizations, shareholders agreements and succession planning. We represent clients making applications for adult guardianship and advise regarding the responsibilities of trustees and guardians and the use of enduring power of attorney instruments. We provide advice regarding the preparation and use of Representation Agreements and Advance Directives.
Probate and Administration of Estates
Acting as an Executor or Administrator is a serious and demanding responsibility. We can assist you to complete all steps in the proper administration of an estate including: locating wills; locating, collecting and safeguarding assets; preparing all documents necessary to obtain Court approval of your appointment as Personal Representative; dealing with income taxes and other estate liabilities; preparing and passing the Personal Representative’s Accounts; attending the asset distributions (including land transfers); and assisting in the administration of ongoing trusts for infants or lifetime beneficiaries.
In addition to our work with individuals, we also advise trust companies and institutions in administering estates. We work closely with professionals in the areas of accounting, trust administration, banking, insurance and investments, in order to provide you with comprehensive and well-coordinated service.
We represent clients at all levels of court and in alternative dispute resolutions such as mediations regarding estate litigation arising from contested wills, wills variation claims made pursuant to the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, trust variations, constructive trust claims and other estate-related matters.
We have acted in many disputes arising from improper will execution, incapacity, undue influence, poor drafting and the use of the courts’ power to interpret and save charitable gifts. We represent claimants, beneficiaries and estates in wills variation claims by disappointed spouses or children. We represent trustees, pension managers, and disappointed beneficiaries in disputes arising from the administration of trusts, or investment by trustees, trustee compensation and the passing of trustee accounts. We prosecute and defend unjust enrichment and constructive trust claims.
For current news and commentary from our lawyers, visit our Wills + Estates Lawyers Blog.
We are actively involved in the Canadian Bar Association Wills and Estates Subsection, the Estate Planning Council of Vancouver, the Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Leave A Legacy, The Canadian Association of Gift Planners and the Canadian Tax Foundation.
Our lawyers were successful counsel on one of the largest Wills Variation Act cases in British Columbia’s history.