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Practices

Estate Litigation

Fasken

With the aging population and transfer of significant wealth between generations, asset and estate disputes can arise both before and after the death of the transferor.

 

We deal with disputes before death, including claims respecting the use of powers of attorney, validity of wills and trust planning, joint tenancy transfers, gifts made during the lifetime and loss of capacity issues, including court applications and accounting to proper governmental authorities.  Problems often arise when people decline in mental capacity and become vulnerable to the influence of others and are no longer capable of making sound judgments for themselves and their assets.  We can assist them in their planning and recover assets for them if they have been financially abused.

 

We also deal with disputes about the estate plan after death, including:  variations to wills, where a family member is disinherited or receives less than what is thought fair; challenges to wills and trusts, where the validity of the estate planning is questioned for reasons of lack of capacity, vulnerability or improper influence and lack of real consent; and claims for recovery of assets to an estate, where pre-death gifts, joint tenancies or beneficiary designations are challenged as invalid.

 

Whether contentious or just complicated, we assist executors, administrators and trustees in carrying out their responsibilities in the administration of an estate or a trust, including: obtaining court interpretation and determination of validity of legal instruments, determining rightful heirs to an estate; making required accounting to the beneficiaries; and setting of fair compensation for the executor/trustee.  We also assist beneficiaries in dealing with problem executors or trustees to ensure that there is no breach of trust, improper management of assets or inappropriate taking of benefits.

 

We have the expertise, connections and resources to deal with estates and trusts problems, involving clients, assets and beneficiaries located in other provinces and countries.  We can assist on the most simple to the most complex of disputed trust and estate matters.