Everyone wants to assume that their family will be the one that is able to “work things out” in terms of estate planning and estate administration. Fortunately, many families are able to do just that. Regrettably, not every family can “work things out” and that is where lawyers come in. We have all heard about the “3 trillion dollar wealth transfer” that is working its way through the current generation, and we hear about estate disputes in the press in Canada and elsewhere. We all hear about incapacity matters where dementia and other mental disabilities have made it impossible for someone to manage his or her own affairs and others have to step in (the commonly stated fear that “I don’t want the government to step in”). Not every lawyer is equipped and trained to work effectively in this environment where the dollar numbers can run high and the emotions run even higher.
The estate lawyers at Blaney McMurtry are well situated through background, experience and training, to assist clients through the pitfalls of will and trust planning, estate administration, planning for and if necessary managing through mental incapacity and all forms of contested estate matters. In an era of complex family formations and arrangements, sensitivity to the dynamics of blended families and multi-generational family structures is essential and readily available. Estate planning includes a wide range of wills, trusts, charitable donation plans, cross-border considerations for clients who are either citizens elsewhere or have assets elsewhere or both, and Blaney McMurtry has the expertise to provide advice and prepare the necessary materials to implement sophisticated plans.
Many elements of estate planning involve family law concerns such as domestic contracts, custody and support and property division issues, and tax and corporate reorganizations. Blaney McMurtry as a full service law firm is uniquely able to provide assistance in all of those fields, and the partner who meets a client is the one who will maintain supervision of the whole process where several practice groups, such as corporate commercial, real estate and family law, become involved.
Estate administrations can be complex, particularly when there are unusual assets and holdings in multiple jurisdictions. With the broad experience of our estate lawyers, we can assist in the often complicated administration processes through the courts and through financial institutions, and where international asset issues arise, Blaney McMurtry has access to a wide variety of legal expertise around the world through its Taglaw connections.
Because not all estates are administered amiably, estate litigation is a major and growing area. Blaney McMurtry is well fixed to handle all forms of contested estate matters, from challenges to the validity of wills, support and other property claims, will interpretation matters, estate accounting and contested adult guardianship and power of attorney matters. In all such matters, court is an option but not the only option, and all forms of alternate dispute resolutions mechanisms are available and encouraged. Blaney McMurtry’s lawyers can act as counsel in formal and more informal mediation settings and various members of the firm are available to act as mediators to facilitate dispute resolutions.