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Wills and Estates

It is important to have your affairs in order well before you die. The laws of Ontario provide for a system to handle the distribution of your assets if you die without a will (intestacy).  While the system is logical and may even be what you had in mind, it creates numerous hurdles for someone trying to administer your estate and it is rarely the most tax effective estate plan.  Prudent estate planning (which includes preparing valid wills, powers of attorney to appoint substitute decision makers for your property and personal care issues, reviewing designated beneficiaries on life insruance, among others) is important for everyone, regardless of age or wealth or family size.


Wills and Powers of Attorney 


As a wills and estate lawyer here in Ottawa, I take the time needed, however long, to understand your wishes and provide you with detailed legal advice on your various options.  I jokingly call my approach to estate planning  "artisanal will drafting", as I often spend at least an hour fully exploring options and scenarios with my clients.  


The estate planning services that I provide, include drafting:

  • Wills for individuals and for couples

  • Dual wills for assets that can pass without "probate"

  • Powers of Attorney for Property

  • Powers of Attorney for Personal Care & Living Will

Estate Administration and Court Services

When a person passes away, depending on the nature of their assets, their estate may need to go through what was formerly known as "probate".  In Ontario, probate is now referred to an application for a certificate of appointment with (or without) a will, and "probate fees" are now known as "estate administration tax".

The estate administration and court services that I offer, include:

  • Advising an executor/estate trustee 

  • Advising beneficiaries of an estate

  • Getting a Certificate of Appointment with(out) a Will

  • Applying for an order to dispense with the need for a bond

  • Passing of accounts (for Estate Trustees, Guardians of property, and Attorneys of property)

  • Estate litigation, such as Application for Direction from the Court

  • Applications under the Declarations of Death Act, 2002

For more information regarding Wills and Estates:
Image by Melinda Gimpel

Client Reviews:

Jody & Roger, Sep. 14, 2015

"Much more thorough than previous lawyers, very patient and flexible which is important when you have a busy life, explained many aspects in detail and language that could be understood by myself."

Glen & Janet, Jan. 18, 2018

"Every step of the work with us was done with empathy and expertise.  Not paying for the usual big firm luxury space and overhead."

Sara E., Oct. 22, 2017

"James is efficient, reliable, kind and humble.  He also listens well, thinks ahead, and explains all legal concepts in plain English rather than legalese.  He even answers his own phone!  He made what had seemed insurmountable easily achievable."

Magda & Sean, Dec. 22, 2018

"James is very professional, yet approachable and pleasant.  He turned out honest and trustworthy.  I felt comfortable while obtaining his help.  All work was completed in a timely manner, and without any issues."

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