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Estate, Trust, and Incapacity Litigation

Wills, estate trusts, and powers of attorney often involve complex legal issues that lead to litigation. Our lawyers have specialized expertise to assist individuals who require guidance resolving contentious matters relating to estate administration, wills and trusts, beneficiary claims, powers of attorney and guardianship.

A testamentary document such as a will, trust, or codicil, or a power of attorney sets out an individual’s wishes following death or in a situation where that person’s capacity is diminished. Such testamentary documents often do not sufficiently dispose of assets, are ambiguous, unclear, or fail to make adequate provision for a dependent. These situations often lead to disputes.

At Lawrences, we have extensive experience in dealing with will challenges and executors or heirs of an estate who are concerned about the circumstances surrounding the preparation of a will, or believe they have been wrongly excluded, or feel that family members or others influenced the completion of a will, or that a family member lacked capacity to make a will.

We have extensive experience in both advancing and defending claims and resolving matters in a manner that meets the needs of our clients.

We have also advanced and defended breach of trust or breach of fiduciary duty claims against executors, trustees, or other personal representatives. We have acted in cases involving claims for compensation or unjust enrichments where the deceased failed to live up to legal obligations and promises made while alive.

We have represented estate trustees, beneficiaries, and claimants with an aim to provide efficient and results oriented legal advice in resolving estate and incapacity litigation disputes.

Mar 20, 2015 | Case Study

Greedy Estate Trustee

The Problem A friend was appointed as executor of an estate where the deceased had directed in his will that the residue of the estate be divided e...

Mar 20, 2015 | Case Study

Improper Bedside Will

The Problem A couple prepared wills, leaving their estates to each other and on the death of the last spouse, to their two children, a son and daug...

Feb 03, 2014 | Case Study

Providing for Dependents in Blended Families

The Problem Our client has two adult children from his first marriage. He also has two more children with his second wife. When he married, he own...

Jun 03, 2015 | Presentation

Tips and Traps when Preparing Estate Accounts; How to Avoid Estate Litigation

Estate litigation often means thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees and a significant delay in the administration of an estate. In addition to possibly depleting the assets of an estate, estate litigation often destroys families and relationships. At times, the total monies spent in legal fees is not much less than the value of the entire estate.

While estate litigation involving will challenges is fairly common, a significant amount of estate litigation involves estate accounting and the propriety of the conduct of executors and trustees in the management and administration of an estate. Some litigation is unavoidable, particularly where there has been mismanagement or a breach of trust by the executor or trustee. However, a significant amount of litigation can be avoided by maintaining proper estate accounting and understanding the role of an executor or trustee of an estate.

Nov 11, 2013 | Presentation

Estate Litigation and Costs: Protecting Your Client (and Yourself)

At the outset of litigation, costs can sometimes be a distant thought, as the reality of being saddled with the fees of one’s opponent have not yet become tangible. However, judges are lending more consideration to costs, and counsel should be increasingly mindful of that. Years ago costs were not really an area that justified acute attention. Nevertheless, with the development of this area in the estates context, it becomes clear that this last-leg of combat requires strategic thinking from the inception of litigation. The conduct during the proceedings can have a large determination as to how costs are finally apportioned.

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© 2015 Lawrence, Lawrence, Stevenson LLP

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43 Queen Street West, Brampton, ON, Canada L6Y 1L9
Telephone: 905.451.3040 Fax: 905.451.5058 Email: