Our legal team has experience with estate planning, estate administration, and estate litigation. We can work with you to develop sound strategies for tax planning, health care decisions, trusts, and bequests, to make sure your final wishes are carried out and your assets are passed on to those you care for in the most efficient manner possible. We also represent clients in wills variation and intestacy claims, through negotiation, mediation, and trial. Please contact us for a consultation with one of our lawyers.

Estate and Wealth Planning

Our Estate and Wealth Planning team works with families and business owners to achieve their estate planning and business succession intentions in the most efficient manner possible. We specialize in personal estate planning, including Wills, powers of attorney, and representation agreements, as well as complex trust planning, and business succession planning.

The planning we do aims to minimize your taxes during your lifetime and on death, ensures your testamentary wishes are carried out, and ensures the wealth you have worked hard to accumulate stays within your family for future generations.

We take a collaborative approach in our work, and work alongside your existing team of advisors such as accountants, financial advisors, and insurance advisors to create tailored estate plans.

Our experience ranges from simple estates to complex estates which can involve blended families (B.C.’s legislation creates different risks for blended families), US tax persons, business interests, creating distribution structures that include tax planning and family law planning, creditor protection, charitable giving, preservation of provincial disability entitlements, and a distribution of estates unequally among children.

The tools we have are diverse, but the most commonly used are the following:

  • Wills and multiple Wills for probate fee planning
  • Will Substitutes, such as Joint Partner Trusts and Alter Ego Trusts
  • Joint ownership of assets
  • Enduring Powers of Attorney
  • Health Care agreements such as Representation Agreements, Advanced Directives, and Nominations of Committees
  • Family Trusts and Shareholders’ Agreements for business succession

Please contact us for a consultation with one of our lawyers.

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Estate Administration

It can be challenging to navigate the legal processes associated with the death of a loved one, and the legal obligations of the executor can be significant. An improperly administered estate can also lead to significant personal liability for the executor. Our estate administration team strives to make the process as easy and stress-free as possible, while ensuring our clients comply with all their legal obligations. Even if an estate appears to be simple, our Estate Administration team can help our clients avoid legal pitfalls and delays during what is already a difficult and emotional time.

We frequently represent executors and beneficiaries during the estate administration process, as well as administrator of estates where there is no will. Estate administration involves locating, compiling, and managing estate assets, paying out estate debts and expenses, and distributing the remaining funds to the beneficiaries. On behalf of executors, we assist with court applications related to the interpretation and validity of wills, as well as court applications for grants of probate and administration. We provide advice with respect to estate accounting and distribution, while taking steps protect our clients from personal liability issues that may arise. We can also assist executors with pursuing and defending legal claims on behalf of the estate.

Probate is a court process by which all potential beneficiaries of the estate are notified, the will is produced, and the estate assets and debts are accounted for.

This process exists to protect the interests of the deceased and the potential beneficiaries. It is usually required in cases where the estate is valued at $25,000 or more. Probate fees are payable to the government in the amount of approximately 1.4% of the value of the estate. Be prepared for a timeline of 6 months to a year to complete the process, assuming there are no challenges to the will, the estate, or the executor. We can prepare the necessary court documents, communicate with beneficiaries and financial institutions, and ensure that all proper procedures and timelines are followed. After probate is granted, we can be involved in other steps such as publishing a notice to creditors, preparing estate accounting documents, collecting releases from beneficiaries, and distributing estate funds.

On behalf of beneficiaries, we are often involved in requesting information from the executor, reviewing probate and estate accounting documents, and providing advice regarding potential claims. If a beneficiary wishes to challenge the estate or the executor, we may pursue options such as filing a citation or Notice of Dispute in the probate action. As a full-service law firm with an experienced Estate Litigation department, we are equipped to manage not only the administration of estates, but also the many disputes which may arise throughout the process.

If you need assistance with the administration of an estate, call us today to schedule a consultation with one of our Estate Administration lawyers.

Estate Litigation

Legal disputes after the death or incapacity of a loved one can be extremely difficult, emotional, and stressful for everyone involved. Our Estate Litigation team understands that every estate matter has unique circumstances, interpersonal relationships, and family dynamics, which can significantly impact the course and outcome of the claim. We take the time to understand what is at stake not only for our clients and their families, but also for the other parties involved, allowing us to develop a strategy for resolution that fits the particular circumstances of each case. We then take a practical, results-oriented approach to resolving the dispute in the best interests of our clients. Our team is skilled and experienced with alternative dispute resolution, including mediation and arbitration, to achieve out of court settlements when appropriate. When settlement is not in our clients’ best interests, our experienced trial lawyers are fierce advocates who will fight to achieve the best possible outcome for our clients in court.

After the death of a family member, we represent beneficiaries and other individuals who have been disinherited or left out of a will, or whose inheritance is unfair. We are experienced in wills variation claims, trust claims, determination of spousal status, and challenges to the validity of wills on the basis of undue influence, lack of capacity, fraud or forgery, and other grounds. We help clients investigate and contest the ownership of assets, including jointly held assets, and assets that may have transferred outside of the estate.

We also have experience handling disputes about the conduct of executors and trustees. Where an executor or trustee has failed to fulfill their legal obligations, we act quickly to investigate, preserve assets, and if necessary take steps to remove and replace the executor or trustee to ensure the proper administration of the estate or trust. We also have extensive experience representing executors and trustees, defending them from unwarranted attacks, assisting them with the orderly administration of the estate, and bringing and defending a variety of claims on behalf of the estate.

We also handle legal matters that arise prior to death, such as disputes over the ownership of real estate and other assets, and the validity of transactions where there are concerns of incapacity, undue influence, or fraud. When a person has lost the ability to manage their own affairs, we can bring a court application to have a legal guardian (committee) appointed. We also help our clients protect vulnerable loved ones when there are concerns about the abuse of a Power of Attorney, or other situations of elder abuse or financial abuse.

The first step towards resolving your dispute is a complimentary consultation with one of our Estate Litigation lawyers. Call us today to discuss your legal situation and the best way forward for you and your family.

Wills & Estates Team

Shadrin Brooks

Shadrin practices primarily in the areas of estate litigation, commercial litigation, and personal injury claims.

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Peter Schmidt

Peter works primarily in the areas of Family and Civil law, and estate litigation.

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Michael Poznanski

Mike is a solicitor with expertise in corporate, commercial, intellectual property, real estate, and estate planning matters.

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Lauren Read

Lauren is an associate lawyer who primarily practices in the areas of family law and estate law.

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Sunny Dharni

Sunny is an associate lawyer who’s main focus is wealth preservation and assisting families with estate, trust and business succession planning. Sunny also practices in the areas of business law and real estate.

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Anna Poezzhaeva

Anna is a corporate solicitor providing counsel to companies of all sizes and various industries on a broad range of issues.

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Haley Sonne

Haley is an associate lawyer who maintains a broad civil litigation practice with a focus on a wide variety of estate disputes, employment law, and personal injury.

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Ruhiyeh Naimi

Ruhiyeh is a corporate solicitor who maintains a broad practice with a focus on corporate and commercial law. Ruhiyeh also practices in the areas of real estate law, estate planning and probate.

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Tahira Mawji

Tahira is a corporate solicitor who maintains a broad practice with a focus on corporate law, real estate transactions, estate planning and probate.

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Kiran Mangat

Kiran is an associate lawyer who works closely with senior counsel on a wide variety of estate disputes, commercial claims, personal injury and employment law matters.

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