Estate Planning and Administration

A thoughtful Estate Plan and a well-advised Estate Administration are essential aspects of safeguarding your family’s future and leaving your unique legacy.

The Importance of Estate Planning

An Estate Plan is more than deciding how to divide your assets; it is your opportunity to make decisions that impact the people, charities, and causes you care most about. While what is most important to your Estate Plan may differ at each stage of your life, the necessity of having the right Estate Plan in place will remain a constant.

Estate Planning and Administration Services

A Will is the central piece of most Estate Plans and it is imperative to create and update your Will when you experience a significant change in your unique circumstances such as deciding to move in with your partner, getting married, starting a family, moving to a new province or country, receiving an inheritance, retiring, or experiencing a significant breakdown in a relationship with your partner, spouse, or child.

If you die without a Will, your assets and who will have the authority to administer them will be dealt with according to the laws of British Columbia that apply at your passing. This can often create less than ideal situations for your estate and uncertainty for your family.

Investing the time to make or update your Will is an important part of establishing the legacy you want to leave and, on your passing, will make matters simpler and more secure for the people and causes that are important to you.

Our lawyers possess decades of knowledge and experience in estate planning and will help you craft a Will that considers the quirks and complexities of British Columbian law which will serve as the foundation of your Estate Plan.

Since the turn of the century, the Income Tax Act has allowed individuals who meet certain criteria to create Alter-Ego or Joint Partner Trusts. Individuals over 65 may be able to settle one of these trusts as a part of their Estate Plan while minimizing adverse tax consequences usually associated with settling a trust during your lifetime.

Creating an Alter-Ego or Joint Partner Trust brings a number of benefits and a number of complexities. Having assets pass to your beneficiaries through a trust instead of your estate can result in paying less in fees to the government at your passing and may also decrease the likelihood of prolonged and expensive litigation among your beneficiaries over your assets.

Our lawyers will work with you and your other professional advisors to ensure that you have a full understanding of your trust and that it will be used to its full potential as a part of your Estate Plan.

A comprehensive Estate Plan will always consider how you will be properly cared for should you become incapable prior to your passing. Having the mental and physical ability to make our own decisions about our finances or our health and personal care is something often taken for granted. Putting a plan in place for your possible incapacity will give both you and those who you are closest to the clarity and security of knowing what will happen if you are deemed incapable.

In many cases, planning for incapacity will involve creating a Power of Attorney Agreement and a Representation Agreement. Through a Power of Attorney Agreement, you appoint an attorney to act in your best interests and on your behalf in relation to your legal and financial affairs.  Through a Representation Agreement, you appoint a representative to make decisions in accordance with your wishes which are related to your personal care and healthcare once you have been deemed by a doctor to be incapable of doing so for yourself.

Creating these documents often include considering many personal and financial dynamics and our lawyers will help guide you to create an incapacity plan that fits your needs and the rest of your Estate Plan.

To apply for grant of probate or administration is to ask the Court under British Columbia law to grant the applicant the authority to deal with a deceased person’s estate. Most often, the person tasked with applying for the grant of probate or administration is someone close to the person who has passed and it may sometimes be yet another task at a difficult time to have to deal with the forms and formalities of such an application.

In some estates, issues can arise early on and disputes involving an estate can quickly escalate. Our Estate Administration team work closely with our Estate Litigation team to ensure a continuity of quality service should a dispute arise.

A well-crafted Estate Plan deserves a well-advised Estate Administration. Our lawyers have the knowledge, experience, and network to complete the application process efficiently and to continue to provide value to you and the estate throughout the administration.

Just as there are matters unique to Estate Administration, there are also tasks unique to the administration of a trust.

There are certain immediate concerns following the death of a trustee or life beneficiary of a trust, including establishing the authority of a replacement trustee and ensuring the assets of the trust are protected and preserved. Accounting advice is crucial when administering a trust and our lawyers will work closely with accountants and other professionals to ensure that every step is made with an understanding of the tax consequences in mind.

While the process to wind up and distribute the assets of a trust involves less formalities than winding up an estate, there are still various matters that must be addressed and our team can provide the advice and guidance needed to ensure smooth trust administration.

Other Services

  • Structuring and Implementing Specialized Trusts

  • Estate Litigation Planning

  • Corporate Succession Planning

  • Wealth Preservation & Tax Planning

Reasons to Reach Out

Administering an Estate

Executors and Administrators of an estate are responsible for far more than they likely realized when they first agreed to take on the role. An experienced Estate Administration lawyer can help navigate the administration process, liquidate or otherwise deal with estate assets, prepare the required accounts, and ensure the Executor or Administrator is protected from later problems or outstanding liabilities by helping obtain approvals, releases and settlements from the beneficiaries as needed.

Creating an Estate Plan

Our lawyers assist individuals in preserving their wealth and creating tax-efficient estate plans. Regardless of the complexity of your estate or particular situation, we have advanced planning tools to ensure that we meet your unique goals.

Creating an Incapacity Plan

Considering making a Power of Attorney and Representation Agreement is an essential component of any well-advised Estate Plan. Designating someone you trust to act in your best interest in the event you become incapable is a very personal decision that requires both reflection and advice. We can provide the advice to help you to make an informed decision.

Dying without A Will

Even if someone dies without a will, they likely still have an estate that needs to be administered. If your loved one has passed without a will, knowing how the laws in place in British Columbia at the time of their passing will impact the distribution of their estate and who has the authority to apply to deal with the estate brings clarity to an uncertain situation. Our team is ready to bring that clarity and to guide and protect you through the estate administration process.

Contact Us

Contact Us

Our office is conveniently located in Central City Tower in Downtown Surrey, one of the fastest growing and most dynamic cities in B.C., with additional meeting spaces available in Burnaby and Vancouver by appointment.

Contact us at 604.581.7001 to book a consultation today.

Key Contacts

Our Lawyers