Estate Planning, Inter Vivos, Testamentary Trusts, Succession Planning, Charitable Giving


Estate Planning
Estate planning is the process of arranging your personal, business, and financial affairs to maximizing the value of your estate by reducing tax obligations, and simplifying the probate process. The process of estate planning can begin even before your retirement, and should go hand in hand with Succession Planning if you run a business or corporation.

Our lawyers, collaborating with an accounting professional, can assist you both in making decisions about how to structure your affairs and by giving effect to those decisions.

In planning your estate, you are not restricted to a will. Estate planning also includes transferring ownership of certain assets or business interests while you are still alive, either by transferring them into joint ownership, placing them into a trust, or delivering them to a beneficiary entirely as an advancement under your will.

Inter Vivos and Testamentary Trusts

A Trust is a relationship where a person (called the Trustee), holds and controls property for the benefit of another person or persons (called the beneficiaries). Trusts are one of the most flexible tools in estate planning, and can be used not only to benefit a person while maintaining restrictions on the use of that benefit, but also to minimize tax liabilities.

Trusts can be established both during your life (an inter vivos Trust), or upon your death by establishing it in your will (a Testamentary Trust). Trusts can be made both for the benefit of friends and family, and for charitable purposes.

Because Trusts have been abused in the past to illegitimately avoid taxes and creditors, the rules and formalities of Trusts are onerous and complex. A carelessly settled Trust can easily be collapsed, or its earnings taxed at the highest income tax rate. Our lawyers can assist in navigating the intricacies of Trust Law, helping you plan and structure a Trust customized to your needs, and helping you give legal effect to your intentions.

Succession Planning

If you are preparing for retirement, and operate a corporation or business, then retirement may not be as simple as no longer showing up for work. Especially if you have employees or ongoing contractual obligations, winding up or leaving your business can complicate or delay your retirement. Given the substantial amount of time and effort you have spent building up your business, you may also prefer that your business continue to operate after your departure. Our lawyers can assist you in preparing for your retirement so that you experience no unforeseen complications or difficulties in leaving your business.

Whether you choose to wind up your business, or to transfer it to someone else, the assistance of a lawyer with a broad knowledge of business and corporate law is vital. Our lawyers can inform you of and guard against problems involving the transfer of your business, the transfer of corporate shares, sale of business assets, employees, leases, ongoing general security agreements and other ongoing contracts.

Charitable Giving

Charitable giving is not restricted to one-off charitable gifts. You can also provide money to charities in your will, or by way of a Trust. Our lawyers can assist you by properly drafting your will or Trust such that your charitable gifts go to the correct charitable organization, or that if your intended charity no longer exists at the time of your death, an appropriate alternative is selected.