Our Wills, Estates & Trusts Lawyers
Comprehensive Will and Estate Planning
Taylor McCaffrey LLP Wills, Estates & Trusts lawyers assist you to navigate all aspects of managing your estate during your lifetime and planning for your family in the future.
Often, it is hard to think about the day you won’t be here, but you can provide yourself and your family and friends with the gift of peace of mind when that day arrives. The gift includes a properly drafted will that sets out who will manage the estate and the division of your estate among those who survive.
Our lawyers will thoroughly review your family and financial situations to help craft the estate plan and will that best serve your unique situation. The advice may range from simple (such as ownership of assets) to complex (such as trusts designed to protect special needs beneficiaries or create tax benefits). Our advice to you will be based on your particular requirements.
Second Family Situations
Spouses and common-law partners have special, legislated rights that arise on death. This can result in conflict within families where there is a spouse or common-law partner and also children from a previous marriage or relationship. We can help you identify the issues and prepare the documents that will help minimize or eliminate the conflict.
It starts when we meet to help organize and document your wishes. It continues when we help the executor carry out the estate plan through the administration of the estate. In many cases it will be necessary for the executor(s) to apply to the court for a Grant of Probate of the Will. We give the executors of an estate the information and assistance they need to be able to administer the estate as effectively and efficiently as possible.
What if there is no will? We help the family through the process of appointing an administrator for the estate. It takes a little more time, but someone can be appointed to look after the affairs of the deceased so that obligations can be met and the estate distributed according to law.
Life Planning: Powers of Attorney; Committeeships and Health Care Directives
There may come a time when you need someone to help you look after your affairs. We’ll review with you the issues surrounding the preparation and signing of a power of attorney, a very powerful document that allows you to appoint the people you trust to assist you, if the need arises.
When someone has lost the ability to care for their own financial and personal decisions, but did not prepare a power of attorney, we will help families obtain a committeeship order from the Court. The order provides the necessary authority to manage the affairs of the incompetent person. We can also provide advice on dealing with the ongoing administration and the regular report to the Court that will be required.
It is called a “living will” in some places, but in Manitoba it’s called a “health care directive”. In it, you give direction about what kinds of medical treatment you want or do not want and appoint a proxy, the person who will make medical decisions for you, if you cannot make the decision for yourself. If can be a simple document or it can be more complex. We’ll help you make the decisions necessary for the preparation and signing of this important document.
Tax Planning and Cross-Border Issues
Efficient tax planning when preparing your estate plan will help reduce taxes for you and your family. This can include reducing taxes during your lifetime and after your death. Our tax lawyers have experience in a wide variety of techniques, including the use of trusts, estate freezes, income splitting and maximizing access to capital gains exemptions.
Estate Mediation and Estate Litigation
It was Leo Tolstoy who said, “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Sometimes, the disputes are there and have to be dealt with. We strive to help you find the most appropriate way to resolve the problem.
Mediation is the process of negotiating a solution by using an impartial third party. Mediation can be used at any point in the estate planning and estate administration process. It is a solution crafted by the people involved in the dispute. We can act as the impartial third person who guides the parties to a result that works for them.
Sometimes, the parties simply cannot agree and the matter has to be decided by a judge. Our experienced estate litigators will guide you through all the steps of the court process. This will include ongoing negotiations to try to resolve the dispute without going to court, if at all possible.