Wills, Trusts & Estates

Boughton Law helps plan for the distribution and management of estates during life and after death. The lawyers in our practice work to give you peace of mind and create a concrete plan that takes care of those closest to you.

The thought of planning for the end of life may seem intimidating at first, but estate planning and detailed wills can help cultivate peace of mind for you and your beneficiaries. Having an organized, carefully thought out plan for the administration and the distribution of your estate is an important first step to taking care of your loved ones later in life.

Boughton Law’s Wills, Trusts, and Estates Practice Group is experienced with estate planning and transfer of wealth. We advise on legal structures such as trusts, wills, joint ownership, life insurance arrangements, inter-vivos gifts, and alter-ego trusts. In particular, business owners benefit from our effective planning strategies that consider asset ownership, protection, and distribution. In many cases, we are retained by trustees, executors, and administrators to obtain probate of wills or advise on the administration of trusts.

Ensuring that your estate is managed just as you want it, and that the people you care about are looked after is our goal. We are proud to be your trusted legal advisor and can help plan for additional support for yourself or a family member in the case of incapacity or disability. We work with other Practice Groups in our firm, such as the Tax Practice Group, to take advantage of potential tax saving strategies. We also have relationships with many charitable organizations should you wish to make a donation as part of your estate management.

If wills and estate plans are contested, our Estate Litigation Practice Group can help to resolve disputes and where necessary, represent you in court proceedings. Click here to learn more.

Boughton Law is a part of Meritas®, a global alliance of independent, full service law firms. With access to firms operating in over 230 markets worldwide, we can draw upon the expertise of trusted foreign legal advisors and even provide referrals if needed.

  • Frequently Asked Questions
    What is a will?
    A will is a legal document which sets out the will maker’s directions as to who should receive their estate upon their death. A will exercises the legal freedom to leave the will maker’s estate to people they choose. Without a will, the law dictates who administers the will maker’s estate and how it is to be divided.
    What are the legal requirements for a will?
    • A Will must be in writing.
    • A Will must be signed by the will maker who must be mentally competent and at least sixteen years of age.
    • The signing of a will requires the presence of two adult witnesses, both of whom must sign the will in the presence of each other and the will maker.
    Who is the executor?
    An executor is the personal representative appointed in a will to look after the will maker’s affairs after his or her death. An executor can be any person who is at least nineteen years of age. They can be, and commonly are, a relative or one of the beneficiaries. Spouses usually appoint each other as executor of each other’s estate. Ultimately, the executor should be competent, capable of managing business affairs, and trustworthy. In a large or complicated estate, some may consider the appointment of a trust company as an executor.
    What are the powers of an executor?
    The power to administer the estate and carry out duties should be set out in the will These powers are often set out in standard form in the will (legal term: “boilerplate”), and usually include the ability to preserve assets, deal with real estate, invest estate money and settle claims against the will maker’s estate. For the most part, executor powers should be broad and general.
    What are the executor’s duties?
    The executor’s duties include: arranging a funeral, preservation of property, assembling and selling assets, paying taxes and debts, and distributing the will maker’s estate as set out in the will. The first duties of the executor are to pay the will maker’s debts, funeral expenses and any taxes. The executor then distributes any special gifts of property and pays out cash legacies, if any. Lastly, the executor sets up any trusts and distributes the residue of the estate.
    What is the residue of an estate?
    Residue is the legal term used to describe what is left over in an estate, after payment of all taxes, bills, expenses, and distribution of any specific gifts. A residue clause is necessary so that absolutely everything in the estate is properly distributed under the will. Residue usually comprises the largest part of the estate. An example would be, “I leave the rest and residue of my Estate to my spouse …” or “to divide the rest and residue of my Estate equally among my children…” Residue can be left to one person or divided into shares or percentages and given to a number of people.
    Somebody said that I need a testamentary trust. What is it?
    A trust is an arrangement where money is placed in the hands of a trustee in order to use it for the benefit of someone else. Testamentary trusts are trusts established in a will. They are often used to create ongoing benefits for spouses, minor and/or adult children, and disabled beneficiaries.
    Can I create a trust for my minor children in a will?
    Yes, usually the executor is appointed as trustee to manage estate money to be held for minor children. The terms of the trust are spelled out in the will, and the trustee pays out income and benefits to look after minor children. When the trust ends, the executor (trustee) distributes the remaining estate.
    What about guardianship of minor children?
    The law permits a person to appoint a guardian of minor children by will. One should consider appointing a guardian who is not the person selected as executor. The executor manages the estate funds, and pays them to the guardian for the child’s benefit.
    Can I have more than one will at the same time?
    There are good reasons to have more than one will at the same time. For instance, if the will maker owns property in a different jurisdiction, it makes sense to set up a second will that covers the laws in that jurisdiction. For large estates, there may be possible savings by organizing the will maker’s estate in different wills.
    What is meant by “mirror image” or “reciprocal” wills?
    This occurs when couples reflect their common intentions for their combined estates. They first leave everything to each other, and then on the death of the last to die, each will contains identical provisions that divide the estate among their children and/or other beneficiaries. After the death of one person, the survivor is free to make a new will.

    The following is general information only and is not intended as legal advice for any specific situation.

    Laws vary from place to place. Any reference to the law is specific to and restricted to matters in the Province of British Columbia, Canada, and may not be applicable to situations in other jurisdictions.