Members of our practice group have specialized expertise to assist in resolving contentious matters relating to wills, trusts and the administration of estates. We are able to provide effective guidance and, where appropriate, skilled counsel abilities to negotiate, mediate, arbitrate or litigate the matter. Our expertise is recognized by other members of the legal community and we often assist other lawyers in litigation matters concerning wills, estates and trusts and their administration.
Estate and Trust Litigation
We act for executors/administrators/trustees, heirs and beneficiaries, including charitable beneficiaries and persons who feel they have been wrongfully excluded from a share of an estate. We both prosecute and defend claims and seek court direction as best serves the needs of our clients.
We have extensive experience in matters concerning the validity of a will or trust where concerns arise about the maker's mental capacity, undue influence or knowledge or approval of the document. We also act on behalf of family members and dependants of a deceased who seek to vary a will under legislation that allows for the court to give a greater share of the estate to them than they have been given under the will. We act on matters where property has been transferred through joint tenancy or outright transfer during a person's lifetime that may not have been intended as a true gift and where a resulting trust arises. We act on matters where an unjust enrichment or compensation claim for benefits is made for benefits one person has provided to another.
We assist family members where a power of attorney appointment or a court appointment of a legal representative for an incapable adult is required to assist with the person's financial and legal affairs or personal care decisions. We also advise families where there are vulnerable elderly members who require financial protection and act to recover assets for persons who have suffered a loss because of financial abuse or improvident transfers of assets. Where a person is in a position of trust or serves as a fiduciary to another, we bring proceedings to recovery losses resulting from the breach of trust or breach of fiduciary duty.
We advise estate trustees/executors/administrators as to their responsibilities and obligations in the administration of estates and trusts. This may include court applications to determine the appropriate heirs and beneficiaries of an estate and their respective entitlements (both where there is a will and where a person dies leaving no will), to have persons appointed to administer estates and trusts and to replace executors and trustees appointed under a will with others. We also defend claims by creditors or claimants against an estate or bring claims by the estate for recovery of assets.
We can provide advice and seek court direction where there are questions regarding the proper interpretation of the document, where an amendment to the trust terms is required or where there are issues about how the administration of a trust or the estate is to be undertaken. We give advice on matters relating to the proper preparation of estate/trust accounts, the process of obtaining court approval of the estate/trust accounts, the appropriate remuneration for the trustee/executor/administrator and their ultimate discharge.
Regardless of the specific estate, will or trust issue, our strength is that we will apply our expertise to bring the most effective solution to achieve the goals of our clients.