WILLS & ESTATES

We can help you navigate the complexities of estate administration with a minimum of difficulty.

For our Asian clients, we can also assist with some of the more difficult problems that arise with assets being in multiple jurisdictions. If there are problems amongst heirs, we have experience dealing with estate litigation.

You can click on the cases below to see a sampling of the estate litigation files we have dealt with over the years.

For probably 80 – 90% of our clients, a will is the best way to deal with your estate. But sometimes your circumstances may be such that you know there could be a problem amongst your heirs. For example, for someone in a second marriage with children from a first marriage, it is unfortunately quite common for disputes to arise.

In those situations, we can “avoid the problem” through a number of planning techniques other than wills. The key is to avoid the problem before it becomes a problem. We can discuss these options with you when you come in to see us.

  • Wife Taking Son’s Mother’s Money

    A son held significant moneys that belonged to his mother. When the son’s wife found out about the moneys as the son was dying (he was not in the same house as the wife at this time), the wife got the son to transfer the money to her. We successfully argued that the money still belonged to the mother despite the fact that the son transferred the money to his wife on the basis that the son was holding the moneys in trust for his mother (what is known in law as a “resulting trust”).
    Pan v. Pan Estate, 2010 BCSC 1230
    Pan v. Pan Estate, 2011 BCSC 856

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  • Brother Replacing Sister as Executor

    A mother died, leaving her estate to her two children. The main asset of the estate was the house in which she was living when she died. The sister was named as executrix in the mother’s will. The sister, using a power of attorney and a property transfer signed while the mother was alive, sold the house and then put the net sale proceeds into her and her husband’s accounts and refused to turn half of the money over to her brother. She also claimed that the mother had authorized that she be paid for her time taking care of her mother and so brought a claim against the estate. We were able to have the mother replaced as executrix by her brother, citing a conflict of interest.
    Browne v. Brown Estate, 2015 BCSC 28

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  • Great Uncle Trying to Reclaim One Half of Title to a House That He Had Transferred to his Great Nephew – Resulting Trust Claim Dismissed

    An elderly man wanted his brother’s then five year old grandson to inherit his house after his death, so he transferred the house to himself and his great nephew as joint tenants. Six years later, he had a fall and was hospitalized. The hospital recommended that the man have someone take care of him while he continued to live in the house. When the man was released from hospital, he hired a woman to look after him. Unfortunately, three months after she started “taking care of him”, the half of the house that was still in the man’s name was transferred to the woman, and the man started asking that the other half be transferred back to him. He eventually sued the (now 11 year old) great nephew, saying that the interest of the great nephew was held in trust for him so he could get it back at any time. We defended the nephew and the court found that there was no resulting trust, i.e. that the elderly man had gifted the property to the great nephew and now could not get it back.
    Wong v. Huang, 2012 BCSC 975

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