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Michelle Isaak


Michelle Isaak is a partner who practises in the area of personal wealth management. She has extensive ‎experience advising clients on all aspects of estate and trust planning, adult guardianship and capacity ‎planning, and estate and trust administration.‎

Michelle assists clients with developing individualized estate plans which incorporate tax, succession and ‎familial considerations.  She advises clients on the preparation of wills, powers of attorney, and ‎representation agreements, the settlement of alter ego, joint spousal and family trusts, the complexities of ‎planning for a blended family, and business succession.‎

A significant portion of Michelle's practice is devoted to advising executors, trustees and beneficiaries on ‎estate and trust administration issues, such as obtaining or resealing representation grants, administering ‎assets and trusts in a tax efficient manner, resolving disputes between trustees and beneficiaries, ‎replacing trustees, and passing accounts, both informally and through the B.C. Supreme Court.‎

Michelle has particular expertise in complex estate planning and administration issues, such as planning ‎for and administering estates with assets in multiple jurisdictions, planning for and administering ‎Indigenous estates under the Indian Act, administering insolvent estates, and advising trustees in cases ‎where the deceased has been murdered by a beneficiary.‎

Michelle is an active volunteer for the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia, serving on ‎the editorial board of the BC Probate and Estate Administration Practice Manual, as a contributing author to ‎the BC Estate Planning and Wealth Preservation Practice Manual, and as a speaker at numerous CLE ‎conferences and webinars.  She presents frequently on the subject of wills, trusts and estate ‎administration for organizations such as the Pacific Business and Law Institute, Society of Trust and ‎Estate Practitioners (STEP), Canadian Bar Association of BC, and the Estate Planning Council of ‎Vancouver.  In June 2020, Michelle was featured in CLEBC’s “In the Spotlight” for her numerous ‎contributions to the legal field.‎

Michelle has been listed in the Best Lawyers in Canada directory for Trusts and Estates since 2018, ‎including being recognized as the 2019 “Lawyer of the Year” for Trusts and Estates in Vancouver, and is ‎recognized by Lexpert® as a leading practitioner in the field of estate and tax planning.‎

Bar admissionsBritish Columbia, 2004
  • English
  • LL.B., University of British Columbia, 2002
  • B.Comm., McGill University, 1990


  • Best Lawyers in Canada (Trusts and Estates), 2018-2024
  • Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory (Estate & Personal Tax Planning), 2020-2024
  • Lawyer of the Year, Best Lawyers in Canada (Trusts and Estates: Vancouver), 2019


  • Co-author, "The Administration of Firearms - Advice for the Personal Representative," Estates, Trusts & Pensions Journal, May 2018


  • Presenter, “The Trust as a Challenged Asset in Family Law Claims”, CBABC conference, Advanced Level Estate Law, June 2022.
  • Presenter, “Capacity Planning, Estate Planning and Estate Administration for Indigenous Clients”, CBABC Joint meeting of Elder Law Section and Wills & Trusts (Vancouver) Section, May 2022.‎
  • Co-Chair, Pacific Business & Law Institute ‎Conference,  Estate Planning 2022, January 2022.‎
  • Co-Presenter, “Considerations When Choosing Your Decision-Makers”, Pacific Business & Law Institute ‎Conference, Cross-Border Estate Planning 2021, April 2021.
  • Presenter, “Thorny Issues in Estate Administration”, CBABC Wills & Trusts (Vancouver) Section meeting, ‎October 2020.‎
  • Presenter, “Practicing Wills, Estates and Trust Law during Covid-19”, CLEBC Webinar, April 2020.
  • Presenter, “Valuing Assets for Probate and P14 Amendments”, CLEBC Conference, Estate Planning Express 2020, March 2020.
  • Co-Presenter, “Thorny Estate Administration Issues – A Multidisciplinary Perspective”, STEP Vancouver Branch, March 2020.
  • Presenter, “Estate Planning and Administration for Indigenous Clients”, CBABC, Wills & Estates Conference 2019: Tackling Challenging Issues in Estate Law, September 2019. 
  • Presenter, “How to test for Testamentary Capacity: A Demonstration”, Trial Lawyers Association of BC, Estate & Family Law Summit, April 2019.
  • Co-Presenter, “Considerations When Choosing Your Decision-Makers”, Pacific Business & Law Institute ‎Conference, Cross-Border Estate Planning 2019, March 2019.‎
  • Co-Presenter, “Death in the Digital Age:  Dealing with Digital Assets and Intangible Property on Death”, Estate Planning Council of Vancouver, Feb 2019
  • Presenter, “The Trust as a Challenged Asset in Family Law Claims”, CLEBC Conference, Estate Litigation Update 2018, November 2018
  • Presenter, "Administration of Estates under WESA", Pacific Business & Law Institute Conference, The WESA Effect: Where Are We Now?, Sept 2018
  • Co-Presenter, “Death in the Digital Age:  Dealing with Digital Assets and Intangible Property on Death”, CBABC Wills & Trusts (Vancouver) Section, Jan 2018
  • Presenter, “Alter Ego and Joint Partner Trusts and the LTO - How to deal with title”, CLEBC Conference, Estate Planning Express, Apr 2017
  • Presenter, “Responsibility for Death”, Pacific Business & Law Institute Conference, Complex Issues in Estate Administration, Jan 2017
  • Co-Presenter, “Probate Practice and Pitfalls”, Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP), Jan 2017
  • Co-Presenter, “Multiple Wills – Planning and Administration”,CLEBC Conference, Estate Planning Update, Oct 2016
  • Co-Presenter, “Ensuring you have the appropriate trustee”, Pacific Business & Law Institute Conference, Trusts 2016: Using Trusts Effectively, June 2016

Media Mentions

Community Involvement

  • Board Member, Island Pacific School, 2011 - 2014
  • Board Member, Cottage Farm Centre for Mental Health Recovery Society, 2008 - 2014
  • Board Member, Bowen Island Preschool and Daycare Society, 2000 - 2002
  • Board Member, Bowen Island Family Place Society, 1998-2000

Memberships And Affiliations

  • Member of CBA Wills &Trusts (Vancouver) Section