Mary B. Hamilton
Mary Hamilton is a Partner in the Wills, Estates and Trusts Practice Group. Mary Hamilton has almost 30 years of experience in matters relating to wills, trusts and estate administration. She has held senior positions with various wills, estates and trusts groups in Vancouver and was named Vancouver Trusts and Estates Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers in 2011 and 2017.
Mary advises clients about their estate planning and using wills, trusts and other vehicles (including charitable giving) to minimize taxes on death.
Her advice is sought by successful business owners concerned about ensuring an effective transition of their business from one generation to the next and by wealthy individuals concerned about benefiting their offspring in a responsible (and tax-effective) way.
Mary spends a significant part of her time advising executors, administrators and trustees about the probate process, administration of estates and trusts, and helping them pass their accounts.
She also advises about incapacity – preparing powers of attorney, nominations of committee and representation agreements and advising attorneys, committees and representatives about their roles and responsibilities. She also has a great deal of experience advising clients about providing for a relative or friend with a disability.
Mary lectures frequently to client groups, to lawyers, to the charitable sector, and to the public on topics pertaining to wills, estates, incapacity and charitable giving. She also shares her expertise with other lawyers in British Columbia co-authoring an annotated precedent book on Wills and co-editing practice manuals on both Estate Planning and Estate Administration.
Mary is a past member of several advisory committees creating and editing course material, booklets, or precedent documents for the Continuing Legal Education Society and the Law Society of British Columbia.
Legal Industry Recognition
- Best Lawyers in Canada “Lawyer of the Year” (Vancouver Trust and Estates), 2011, 2017
- Best Lawyers in Canada (Trusts and Estates), 2006 – Present
- Canadian Legal Lexpert®Directory (Estate and Personal Tax Planning), 2010 – Present
- Who’s Who Legal: Canada (Private Client), 2016
- Martindale-Hubbell Distinguished Peer Review Rated
Professional + Community Affiliations
- Canadian Bar Association, Wills and Trusts (Vancouver) Section, BC Branch, Member and Past Chair
- Law Society of British Columbia, Member
- Vancouver Bar Association, Member
- Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Member
- Editorial Committee of the BC Estate Planning & Wealth Preservation Practice Manual (CLEBC) and the BC Probate and Estate Administration Practice Manual (CLEBC), Member
- Estate Planning Council of Vancouver, Past Executive Member
- Succession Law Reform Project Committee of The BC Law Institute, Past Member
- Estate Administration Subcommittee, Succession Law Reform Project of the BC Law Institute, Past Chair
- Canadian Association of Gift Planners, Vancouver Roundtable, Member
- Development Committee – Vancouver Foundation, Member, 2009 – 2015
- Heart & Stroke Foundation of BC & Yukon, Volunteer, 2004 – 2014
- School Planning Council of Eric Hamber Secondary School, Parent Representative Member, 2005 – 2014
- 1987 Admitted to the British Columbia Bar
- 1986 LL.B. Dalhousie University
Publications + Presentations
- January 2018, “Estate Planning Done Right: The Relationship of WESA and the FLA when Using Trusts in Estate Planning”, Pacific Business Law Institute, Speaker
- BC Estate Planning & Wealth Preservation, (CLEBC), Co-editor
- BC Probate & Estate Administration Practice Manual, (CLEBC), Co-editor
- Wills and Personal Planning Precedents: An Annotated Guide, (CLEBC), Co-author, 1997- Present
- April 21, 2017, “Powers of Attorney – Danger Points”, Estate Planning Express – 15 Minute Topics, CLEBC, Speaker
- March 9, 2017, “Estate Planning for Clients Who Have a Disability and Their Families”, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners – Okanagan Chapter, Speaker
- June 8, 2016, “Choosing Your Executor”, Caring for the Future, Paul’s Hospital, Speaker
- March 23, 2016, “Estate Planning”, Autism Society of BC, Speaker
- March 9, 2016, “Incapacity Planning”, B.C. Retired Principals’ & Vice-Principals’ Association, Speaker
- September 29, 2015, “Estate Planning”, National Research Council, Speaker
- June 16, 2015, “Will and Estate Planning: Legal Documents to Protect Your Child’s Future”, Autism Society of BC, Speaker
- June, 2015, “Disability Planning”, Trusts: Planning for Success, Pacific Business & Law Institute, Speaker
- May 14, 2015, “Estate Planning”, Peer Forum of local CEO’s of private businesses, Speaker
- February 25, 2015, 2016, 2017, “Plain Language Drafting”, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP, Speaker
- November 3, 2014, “Will and Estate Planning”, BC Children’s Hospital, Speaker
- October 23, 2014, “What is WESA and Why do I Care? Disability Trusts and Provincial Benefits”, Advocis Greater Vancouver, Speaker
- October 21, 2014, “Uniform Trustee Act”, Senior Estates and Trusts Practitioners’ Forum, Cambridge Ontario, Speaker
- June 10, 2014, “Will and Estate Planning”, VanDusen Botanical Garden, Speaker
- May 8, 2014, “Incapacity Planning: Health Care and Personal Care Decisions” (with Leanne Dospital PGT office and Dr. Peter Edmunds, Regional Medical Director Home, Community and Palliative Care, Vancouver Coastal Health), Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners, Speaker
- April 13, 2014, “New Wills Estates and Succession Act”, Grant Thornton, Speaker
- March 24, 2014, “WESA and the New Rules”, Continuing Legal Education Society of BC (CLEBC), Speaker
- March 6, 2014, “New Wills Estates and Succession Act”, DLA Piper (Canada) LLP, Speaker
- October 2, 2013, “Estate Planning for Professional Advisors”, Thompson Rivers University, Speaker
On A Personal Note
Mary and her husband, Kerry Sheppard, enjoy spending time at their cabin in Point Roberts with their black lab. Mary is an avid reader, an enthusiastic knitter and proud mother of three children just launching from the nest.