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Estate and Trust Law Experts

At Hull & Hull LLP, we take on many roles for our clients. For some we are advisors, sources of knowledge they can rely on. For others, we serve to resolve conflicts outside of the courtroom, whether through negotiation or mediation. Some rely on us to help build a plan for the future and for many, we are fierce courtroom advocates in complex estate litigation matters.

Our reputation is as a leader in the field, and our commitment to client service is unmatched.

Estate Litigation

Estate and trust challenges are complex areas of law that often involve litigants and defendants who may be in the throes of family turmoil. These emotionally charged cases are complicated by laws that are often unclear.

At times like these, it is important to have a trusted partner on your side. Trust Our Agility and Adaptability in Complex Matters

We know how important it is to stay creative and agile during complex litigation. Our lawyersare trained to easily adapt to the changing landscape and needs of a given case. Working in an environment where there are often feelings of betrayal, frustration, anger and hurt, we use our expertise to efficiently guide you toward a resolution.

Estate Planning

Comprehensive Estate Planning Services

Complex estate planning requires the attention of professionals with access to significant resources and a clear understanding of a complicated legal landscape. Put legal counsel on your side that has a proven record of service.

You can rely on our lawyers to customize a strategy for your unique financial and asset management needs. We help you prepare documents and explore a full range of estate planning
options, including:

  • Will drafting
  • Establishing trusts (including family trusts, testamentary trusts, insurance trusts)
  • Tax planning
  • Drafting of living wills and advance medical directives
  • Naming powers of attorney
  • Business succession planning
  • Appointment of trustees

We will use our proven experience to help keep your family and estate from being tied up in costly and acrimonious litigation.

We also provide a wealth of information and services to inform and educate clients.

A Gide to Estate Planning

At a certain stage in our lives most of us will need to confront the reality of contacting an estate lawyer for the purpose of preparing our will and planning for the passing of our estate.

Estate planning laws may differ from province to province, so it is essential to clarify your provincial entitlements.

What does estate planning involve?

Estate planning involves arranging the transfer of your assets in anticipation of death and aims to secure the maximum financial package possible for transfer to your intended beneficiaries. It also provides you with structured and flexible financial decision making until your death.

Our lawyers can help you draw up an estate plan, which includes:

  • A list of your assets including property, pensions, investments and personal assets as well as a breakdown of the ownership of these assets.
  • A list of your liabilities and debts.
  • A main objective or structure to your plan. This can be different for many reasons, as you may want to provide for the well-being of your siblings once you have passed away, on you could give it all to charity.
  • An outline of any outcomes that you want to avoid. This can prevent potential executor disputes or situations that may cause family disharmony.
  • Details of possible provision of power of attorney or appointment of an estate trustee to deal with your financial affairs.

After the estate plan has been prepared, we can help you draw up a will providing instructions for the distribution of your estate along with any relevant guardianship choices involving
children. This document should be updated every three to five years or when circumstances dictate.

What if I have made no provision for my death?

In the event that you have not written a will, appointed an estate trustee or prepared an estate plan in any form, the results may be very different:

  • The person assigned to be the executor of your estate may not be the person you had requested. This could lead to lengthy and expensive executor disputes.
  • Any property distributed will be done so according to legislative formula.
  • The distribution of the estate to your beneficiaries may be severely delayed with higher administration costs.
Guardianship and Capacity Disputes

Guardianship Claims Support

As a father, mother or loved one loses the capacity to properly manage his or her own life, it can be an intensely emotional time, one too often compounded by disputes over who is in the best position to provide and protect.

We provide guidance, advice and counsel in guardianship, power of attorney and capacity disputes. We help you fully understand your case, provide realistic expectations of what you can achieve, and aggressively pursue your goals.

Practical, Effective and Aggressive

The costs and challenges of a courtroom guardianship fight can be overwhelming. We help you find strategies to pursue your goals, including negotiation and mediation options that can be as effective and often faster than litigation.

We also understand how important the proper care and protection of a loved one is. When litigation is the best pathway available, we field the resources and experience to support your case. Our offices work with clients in matters of:

  • Guardianship applications
  • Power of attorney for property
  • Power of attorney for personal care
  • Claims of abuse
  • Capacity disputes

We understand the charged nature of these cases, which is why we make it a priority to be a reasonable but fierce advocate for clients. We stress the potential savings and improved
opportunities of alternative dispute resolution, but never at the expense of fighting for what is most important to you.

Becoming a Guardian

There are two procedures for becoming a court-appointed guardian: 1. the standard procedure and 2. the summary disposition procedure. Assessments are required in a summary disposition procedure, but if you follow this procedure, you can obtain a judgement appointing a guardian without recourse to a judicial hearing.

Whatever procedure you use, you may be appointed either a property guardian or a personal care guardian. Here is an explanation of the different roles:

  • Property guardian: Your role as property guardian is to step into the incapable persons shoes for the purposes of making financial decisions and transactions on his or her behalf, as well as protecting his or her financial welfare.
  • Personal care guardian: The essential role of a personal care guardian is to act as a substitute decision maker and make personal care decisions for the incapable person when necessary. Personal care decisions can include where to live, what to eat, safety, clothing, personal hygiene and health care.

Consult With a Trusted Partner

Contact our estate planning law office today to schedule an initial consultation with one of our guardianship and power of attorney litigation lawyers.

Mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution

Not every dispute needs to be resolved in a courtroom, and not every solution is best defined by the law on the books. In many cases, the best answer is the one that you craft yourself.

Working with our partner company, Hull Estate Mediation Inc., we have long been committed to the benefits of alternative dispute resolution and mediation. We can guide you through the private dispute resolution process with the help of impartial and experienced estate mediators who have proven strategies for bringing opposing sides together.

Take Advantage of the Benefits of Alternative Dispute Resolution

Mediation and alternative dispute resolution have substantial benefits, and in cases where the opposing sides can find compromise, negotiation and common ground, the results can be substantially better. The benefits of this process include:

  • Faster resolution
  • Greater privacy
  • Better preservation of assets
  • Less expense
  • Avoidance of additional conflict

A reliable and experienced mediator can help you communicate and negotiate in good faith to find common-ground solutions to complex disputes. Contact our office today to schedule an appointment.

Trustee and Executor Disputes

Estate-Executor Disputes Expertise

Executors and trustees maintain control over the estate or trust. Disputes over how that person disburses assets, compensates themselves and manages an estate or trust can lead to contentious litigation and potentially lead to the removal of a given trustee or executor.

Effective Solutions Based on Proven Knowledge

The majority of trustee-executor disputes come down to questions of compensation or requests for removal. In both plaintiff and defence actions, we offer personalized and experienced representation based on decades of experience.

Variations of Trusts

A Legal Pathway to Will Changes

Variations of Trusts law allows trustees and executors to make alterations to testamentary documents such as wills when all parties involved agree on those changes. The laws governing this practice are relatively complex, but there are advantages to undertaking a variation of a trust.

Even a diligently prepared will, particularly one that hasn’t been updated in a reasonable time, can overlook a key issue or miss an important variable. There are ways for a trustee and the beneficiaries to modify a trust or testamentary document to address these needs.

When all beneficiaries agree that an important trust variation should be made, our office can help navigate the complex processes of the law.