Will & Estates

A man in suit and tie writing on paper.

Wills And Estates

Families and individuals trust the work of Murphy Law Chambers to handle their personal legal needs in Newmarket and the Central East Region. Our wills and estates lawyer maintains a broad-based practice that serves those who seek guidance to plan their estates, want assistance after a loved one passes away or find themselves in a dispute over the terms of a will.

When clients come to us, they receive straightforward advice based on our lawyer's more than three decades of service in this community. Clients know where they stand, what issues need to be addressed and how we can help them.

Comprehensive Legal Practice

Our estate planning work is designed to ensure clients' asset protection and preferred distribution of assets following their passing. Working with other legal tools, such as powers of attorney, we offer comprehensive planning services. We anticipate a potential time of incapacity in life and work with clients to draft testamentary documents that give effect to their legal wishes.

Estate administration is the conclusion of the affairs of a loved one's estate. We stand by family members through all aspects of this process, from applying for the certificate of appointment of estate trustee to fulfilling the terms of the will. Estate trustees receive ongoing support to ensure they meet their legal and ethical obligations to the estate.

Estate disputes, sometimes called estate litigation, is another part of our practice. This broad area encompasses will challenges, removal of estate trustees and surviving spousal estate claims (Section 5 of the Family Law Act).

Will Preparation

Preparing a will is an important part of estate planning. Even for those with modest assets, it is a unique opportunity to state their preferences for property distribution after their passing. Beyond just financial assets, thoughtful drafting of a will allows for special considerations to be made for beneficiaries, including family heirlooms and other items of personal significance.

Drafting A Will: What To Think About

Although a will is essential, it has limited application as part of your estate plan. It speaks only from the time of your passing. This means any issues, such as incapacity and medical treatment during life, are not addressed in a will. Other legal tools, such as powers of attorney and "living wills," may be used for these other purposes.

Major functions of a will include determining how property is distributed, who you prefer to be guardian of your minor children and who will be your estate trustee. A will names all heirs and beneficiaries. Special considerations can be made for dependents with unique needs, such as children with disabilities who require long-term care.

Despite the sanctity of the will in law, it must meet certain legal requirements. Otherwise, it is vulnerable to challenge in a court of law. At Murphy Law Chambers, our thorough will drafting services will help ensure your wishes are respected.

Acting as an Estate Trustee

Even if you are prepared to be an estate trustee, and your loved one has taken great care to organize his or her affairs before passing, the process is difficult. Often while still grieving, trustees take on great responsibility to handle all aspects of the estate. They must do so in a way that meets legal requirements and upholds ethical standards.

Murphy Law Chambers can help you with the process. Estate trustees do not have to do it alone. Our firm, located in Newmarket, is a fixture of the local community. Our lawyer is committed to one-on-one, personal service for clients who are tasked with fulfilling a detailed to-do list while meeting their duty to the estate.

When Your Loved One Passes Away

In Ontario, if you are named as an estate trustee, you will likely have to apply for "Letters Probate," or, as it is now called, a "Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will." When this is complete, you can continue to administer the estate, which usually involves the following:

  • Notifying beneficiaries
  • Opening estate bank accounts
  • Collecting estate assets
  • Paying estate debts
  • Filing a final tax return
  • Distributing/transferring estate assets

In addition, you may have to "pass the accounts" of the estate. This is where a court approves the estate accounts, specifically when it is required. You may have to pass accounts in any number of circumstances, including if there is a minor beneficiary or if your handling of the estate accounts is under challenge from a beneficiary.

What happens if there is no will? In this case, the person is said to have died in testate. Close family members, usually the surviving spouse, can apply to the court for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee Without a Will. This Appointment Gives the state Trustee the necessary legal authority to administer and distribute the states assets pursuant to the intestate provisions of the Succession Law Reform Act.

Estate Litigation

One aspect of the wills and estates practice at Murphy Law Chambers is estate litigation. This is the resolution of disputes that arise within the broad category of wills, estates and trusts. Drawing upon his background in family mediation and years of experience in estates law, our lawyer uses a wide range of legal knowledge and skills to best represent client interests.

Comprehensive Estate Disputes Practice

Murphy Law Chambers is dedicated to the full assessment of legal options. Often, our clients are disappointed with the terms of a loved one's will or have found themselves in the midst of a family conflict that affects their legal rights to an estate. Our role as a law firm is to help clarify the situation for our clients and provide them with a roadmap toward achieving resolution.

Among the different kinds of estate litigation we handle are:

  • Will challenges
  • Will or trust interpretation
  • Dependants' support claims
  • Removal of estate trustee
  • Surviving spouse estate claims (Section 5 of the Family Law Act)
  • Lawyer negligence in will or trust drafting
  • Passing of accounts

If your concerns are not reflected in this list, we nonetheless encourage you to get in touch with us. Our lawyer will talk you through your personal circumstances to determine what legal options you may have.

Removal of Estate Trustee

Removal of Estate Trustee

Surviving Spousal Estate Claim

Surviving spousal Estate Claim