Estate Administration and Litigation

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Estate Planning

Certain taxes will be triggered under the deemed disposition rule. Careful advice and planning may reduce or avoid this.

Probate

Upon the death of a person, the estate belonging to the deceased has to be divided between the people to whom the deceased wanted the estate to go. This is determined via a will, which is written and witnessed by the deceased during his or her lifetime. In the event that there is no will – perhaps one was not left by the deceased or the will cannot be found – The Succession Law Reform Act determines who inherits the estate, and in some cases it may actually go to the Province if there is no natural beneficiary to be found. Probate fees can be reduced or eliminated in some cases and a discussion with our office is recommended. The will may require the courts seal of approval, to confirm that it is indeed the deceased’s last will and testament. This process commonly referred to as “Probate” triggers significant provincial taxes roughly equal to 1.5% of the value of the estate.

Trusts

Generally, a trust is a right in property (real or personal) which is held in a fiduciary relationship by one party for the benefit of another. The trustee is the one who holds title to the trust property, and the beneficiary is the person who receives the benefits of the trust. A carefully crafted trust agreement along with a will or wills can be very beneficial and lead to a significant saving of probate fees.

Wills

A will is a legal document that directs how you wish your estate administered and whom your chosen beneficiaries are. The will is an important document that is used in the probate process after your death to ensure that all of your assets are given to the rightful beneficiaries as per your wishes and instructions. Dying without a will, will cause delay and expense to your loved ones.