Associated Areas of law
Our firm offers a complete range of services in all aspects of estate disputes, ranging from issues of guardianship and substitute decision-making to management and distribution of estates. We offer years of practical experience in handling estate disputes, both in negotiating a resolution to these disputes as well as litigating these disputes in Court.
We have represented beneficiaries, estates and proctors when difficulties arise in estate matters. We understand that helping clients successfully resolve estate disputes requires more than simply knowledge of the law.
We are ready to assist you with a wide range of estate litigation disputes and invite you to contact any of our team to discuss how we may help you navigate and resolve them as expeditiously and cost effectively as possible, and with the patience and understanding that these complex matters deserve.
We offer sound judgment, compassion and practical guidance in these very challenging and sensitive matters:
As we age, we face many challenges owing to our evolving health and abilities, our changing personal and public resources, and our need to rely upon others, many things which may give rise to the need for legal assistance. Issues frequently arise owing to the risks that we face unique to an aging generation, such as targeted scams or financial abuse, or burdens upon our physical and mental health, including those prompted by physical distancing or social isolation.
Estate litigation issues very often involve Wills. After a person passes away, it is common for disputes to arise about their Wills. Such disagreements include:
- validity – whether a Will is valid (the person making the Will, or the “testator” may not have been competent or may otherwise not have had capacity to make a Will, or may not have executed the Will properly);
- testator’s intention – whether a Will reflects the testator’s true intentions, or may be the product of undue influence or other suspicious circumstances;
- interpretation – whether a Will has a clear interpretation (the testator’s wishes may be ambiguous or unclear; the testator’s wishes may be unrealistic or impossible to carry out);
- claims – whether claims against an Estate are appropriate, or how expenses of the Estate must be addressed;
- matrimonial property – whether a spouse has additional entitlements to the testator’s property by virtue of being their spouse;
- dependant’s relief – whether a testator has fulfilled obligations he or she may have had to adequately provide for their surviving spouse or dependants in their Will.
The law has powerful tools that enable a person to appoint others to make decisions on their behalf when that person is no longer able to do so, and is still alive. These include Powers of Attorney (which deal with a person’s property and finances) and Personal Directives (which deal with a person’s health and personal care). Disputes about who is appointed or whether that person is fulfilling the role in the best interests of the individual for whom they are acting frequently arise.
When adults are no longer able to manage their own affairs and have no person appointed to do so, it may be necessary for someone to intervene to assist that adult by way of seeking guardianship of that adult to enable someone to act on that adult’s behalf, or by way of seeking the government’s assistance by way initiating adult protection proceedings to ensure that adult is protected from abuse or neglect.
While a child’s parent/guardian passes away or is otherwise unable to tend to a child’s affairs, issues such as property ownership, finances and custody often need to be addressed.
When a person dies, questions often arise about who owns, or is entitled to, that person’s property; these questions may come from a spouse or common law partner, relatives and friends, a joint property owner as well as creditors or other individuals who claim that they are owed something from the deceased’s Estate based upon where the “true” ownership of an asset may lie.
When someone passes away without a Will, or with a Will that is incomplete or invalid, we turn to the law to assist with determining who looks after that estate, and who is to benefit from it.
Where the testator has passed away and their estate must be settled, the there are laws with specific rules and procedures which must be followed, which sometimes require the Will to be proven and its assets to be carefully distributed under the supervision of either the Registrar of Probate or the Probate Court.