DLA Piper’s Wills, Estates and Trusts practice has a wide range ‎of experience in all aspects of wills, trusts and estates and ‎related litigation. ‎

Planning

We work closely with the firm’s Tax group to provide individuals, families and business ‎clients with comprehensive advice tailored to their specific needs to ensure the orderly ‎succession of assets to the next generation including reducing or eliminating probate ‎fees and minimizing or deferring tax on capital gains, to meet any philanthropic desires ‎and to prepare for the possibility that those individuals may become unable to take care ‎of themselves or manage their assets.‎

Areas of experience include the following:‎

  • Complex estate planning, including wills, alter ego, joint partner or other trusts
  • Planning for potential incapacity including powers of attorney tailored to specific ‎individual and corporate needs, nominations of committee and representation ‎agreements
  • Post-mortem tax planning
  • Corporate and share structures, shareholder arrangements, and trusts for shares
  • Estate planning for families of persons with disabilities and special needs and advising ‎organizations which assist the disabled community
  • Estate planning for disabled individuals
  • Adult guardianship, including the appointment of a committee (personal or property ‎guardian)‎
  • End-of-life decision making
  • Representing and advising charities as beneficiaries of an estate or trust
  • Passing of executor, trustee or committee accounts
  • All aspects of trust and estate administration.‎

If you wish our help probating a will or administering an estate in BC, please contact a ‎member of our group for our comprehensive estate questionnaire. ‎

Litigation

We represent beneficiaries, trustees, executors and other personal representatives in ‎disputes relating to wills and estates, including:‎

  • Wills variation actions under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act
  • The validity of a will, including allegations of undue influence or incapacity of the ‎deceased
  • Court applications to interpret the provisions of a will
  • Contested passing of executor, trustee or committee accounts
  • Breach of trust actions

Emerging Issues

  • Family-run businesses seeking orderly succession planning to smoothly transition their ‎businesses to the next generation
  • Opportunities to defer income tax and avoid probate fees through joint ‎partner, alter ego and other trusts
  • Longer life spans increase the risk of a loss individuals' cognitive faculties, increasing the ‎need for living wills, powers of attorney, nominations of committee and representation ‎agreements
  • Second marriages and common-law relationships lead to sometimes-forgotten yet critical ‎changes in wills, trusts and other estate or personal planning documents
  • Mentally or physically challenged adults require plans for ongoing care when their primary ‎caregivers can no longer care for them.‎

Our Clients

  • High-net-worth families and individuals
  • Owners of family-run businesses
  • Individuals as executors and trustees, and trust companies in that capacity
  • Charities and not-for-profit organizations
  • Parents of disabled children
  • Disabled individuals as beneficiaries

Experience

Our group has authored and edited various texts on trusts, wills and estates for the Continuing ‎Legal Education Society of British Columbia (CLE) which are updated annually, including Will Precedents: An Annotated Guide, various chapters in the British Columbia Estate Planning & ‎Wealth Preservation publication, British Columbia Probate & ‎Estate Administration Practice Manual, and portions of Annotated Estates Practice.  ‎

Our Wills, Estates and Trusts group members have been recognized as leaders in their ‎field by Best Lawyers in Canada, Canadian Legal Lexpert ‎Directory and Benchmark Canada.