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M. Elena  Hoffstein

M. Elena Hoffstein

Partner Fasken
Individuals and families who engage in philanthropy have a number of options in organizing their charitable giving.
Jurisdiction Ontario, 1980
Language(s) English, French, Italian
Office(s) Toronto

M. Elena Hoffstein's practice is focused in all areas of estate planning and family business succession planning,  corporate reorganization both pre and post mortem planning. She also advises on cross border and international matters, will, trusts and marriage contracts. Elena is also  a recognized leader in charity law advising both charities and donors on effective legislative, tax and regulatory matters and on tax effective charitable gifting.

Elena frequently advises clients on family business succession and planning, corporate reorganizations. Having regards to different legal and tax regimes, Elena ensures  that  multi-jurisdictional property and family business interests are protected.

Representing clients in both contentious and non-contentious estate litigation matters, Elena assists with will challenges, mental capacity matters, applications for advice, direction of the court and the passing of fiduciary accounts.

Elena is recognized as a leading expert in charity and not for profit law. In Elena’s charity law practice, she advises charity clients on legislative, tax and regulatory matters and provides proactive advice to both charities and donors on tax effective charitable gifting.

In recognition of her leadership and career contributions, Elena received the Ontario Bar Association’s “Award of Excellence in Trusts and Estates.” She is also a recipient of Lexpert’s “Zenith Award” and has earned the preeminent “AV” ranking in Martindale-Hubbell’s Peer-Review Ratings. She is a frequent speaker at the Canadian Tax Foundation, Society of Trusts and Estates Practioners conferences,  the Law Society of Upper Canada , The Ontario Bar Association and Canadian Association of Gift Planners.  She is a co-author of  Charity Law in Canada and co- editor of charities Legislation and Commentary.


  • Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory 2010-2018 for Charities/Not-For-Profit Law and Estate & Personal Tax Planning 
  • Chambers Canada 2016 and 2017 for Private Client (Band 1)
  • Ontario Bar Association Award of Excellence in Trusts and Estates in recognition of leadership and contribution to estates and trusts law (2006)
  • Recipient of Lexpert's prestigious Zenith Award
  • The Best Lawyers in Canada 2006-2018 as a leading practitioner in Trusts and Estates Law and 2006-2018 in Tax Law
  • Best Lawyers' in Canada Lawyer of the Year Award for Trusts and Estates Law, Toronto 2016 
  • Who's Who Legal 100 2014-2015 for Private Client 
  • Who's Who Legal: Canada 2014-2017 for Private Client   
  • Martindale-Hubbell "AV" rating
  • Practical Law Company - "Highly recommended" for private client matters


  • LLB University of Toronto
  • MA Columbia University
  • BA University of Toronto

Community involvement

  • Member, BMO Retirement Advisory Council
  • Member, Planned Giving Committee SickKids Foundation
  • Member, Planned Giving Committee Toronto General and Western Hospital Foundation
  • Member, Planned Giving Committee St. Michael's Hospital Foundation 
  • Past Director, The Clarke Institute of Psychiatry Foundation (now called the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health)
  • Past Director, Canadian Mothercraft Society

Memberships & Affiliations

  • American Bar Association
  • American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC)
  • Canadian Association of Family Enterprise (CAFÉ)
  • Canadian Association of Gift Planners (CAGP)
  • Canadian Bar Association 
  • Member of Executive Committee Charity and Not-for-Profit Section and member of following sub-committees:
    • Probate Fees Committee
    • The Canadian Bar Association (Ontario)
    • Charities Committee
    • The Canadian Bar Association (Ontario)
    • Trusts and Estates Section Subcommittee making submissions with respect to proposals to amend the Family Law Act
  • Canadian Centre for Philanthropy
  • Canadian Tax Foundation
  • Estate Planning Council of Toronto
  • Family Firm Institute (FFI)
  • International Academy of Estates & Trust Law
  • Law Society of Upper Canada (and former head of section of Estate Planning and Administration, Bar Admission Course) and following sub-committees:
    • Sub-Committee of The Law Society of Upper Canada commenting on Bills 108, 109 and 110 (substitute decision-making and consent to treatment)
    • Professional Standards Sub-Committee
  • Ontario Bar Association (past chair of Charity and Not for Profit section, currently on executive committee)
  • Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) (and currently on Toronto executive committee)
  • Advisory Committee to Attorney General (Ontario) on Hague Convention on the International Recognition of Trusts
Article Private Foundations Charities Update
Article Charities Legislation & Commentary LexisNexis Canada, Annual Update
Article Gifts from Beyond the Grave STEP Journal
Issues with Wealth Transfer via Charities location location Toronto Toronto, ON
Changing Landscape for Philanthropic Planning in Canada, Estates and Trusts Practitioners location location Cambridge


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