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.
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.
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
- 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.
- 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
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.