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Estate Solutions

Estate Planning

A properly planned estate can save you and your family considerable expense and distress upon death or incapacity. Duncan Craig LLP provides more than just legal expertise in regard to Wills, Trusts, and Estates; we provide creative solutions for the most complex estate issues. Whether it is drafting a will or a trust, planning for incapacity with the use of an enduring power of attorney and a personal directive, or by a restructuring of your holdings: we can assist you in achieving your goals.

Estate Administration

The administration of an estate requires special advice, particularly given the complexity of today's tax laws. Our Estate Solutions leaders, Helen Ward and Michael Klaray, have numerous years of experience practicing exclusively in this area of the law and are actively involved in the reform of estate law. They are supported by a highly skilled team of lawyers, who take an active role in community and professional education, as well as by the rest of our full-service firm. This support allows us to provide comprehensive and innovative solutions for all of your issues, no matter how unique. We work together with your personal representatives (executors, attorneys and trustees) to ensure that your estate is managed carefully and distributed expeditiously and in accordance with your wishes. The administration of trusts requires special advice, particularly concerning the investment of trust assets in accordance with the prudent investor rule.

Resolving Estate Disputes: Litigation

Estate litigation is unique. We believe that your representation in court requires a lawyer who knows estate law thoroughly and understands the impact of estate disputes on families. Because of the effect of estate disputes on family relationships, we encourage our clients to try to resolve matters by mediation and other forms of alternate dispute resolution.

Resolving Estate Disputes: Mediation & Collaborative Law

We have acted as mediators as well as counsel for parties in estate mediations. Mediation is a voluntary process in which the parties make decisions together based on their understanding of their own views, each other's and the reality they face. Click here to read more about the Mediation Process.

We are also leading the way in the development of collaborative law in the settlement of estate disputes.

Reform of Estate Law

The Wills and Succession Act was proclaimed in force effective February 1, 2012. The legislation made significant reforms to archaic wills law and it is having a significant impact on all will and estate planning in the province of Alberta, as well as the administration of estates. The accompanying amendments to the Matrimonial Property Act were not declared in force and that part of the Bill was eventually withdrawn. It is unknown whether the Province will revisit reforms in this area of the law. The Estate Administration Act was proclaimed in force effective June 1, 2015. The legislation made significant reforms to outdated estates law and is a welcome development in the law of estates in Alberta.

The next major development in the reform of estate law will be the implementation of the Uniform Trustee Act as recommended by Uniform Law Conference of Canada. The purpose of the Uniform Trustee Act is to provide a modernized statute that makes substantive reforms to both statutory and non-statutory rules of trust law. In August 2012 the ULCC approved the report and published the Uniform Trustee Act. The next step is for each of the provinces and territories to consider the adoption of the proposed legislation.

Our group has spent significant time lecturing on the impact of these developments and is well prepared to ensure your obligations are known and your rights protected. We continue to be involved in the reform of estates and trusts law.

Helen R. Ward


Michael Klaray


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