Wills & Estates

Wills & Estates

At Trillo, Perello & Yates, we are proud to serve the estate planning needs of clients in the Kootenays. For all your Wills and Estates needs, please call Troy Trillo today at 352-3125.  For answers to a list of the most commonly asked questions we receive, please see our frequently asked questions.

Estate Planning and Administration Services

Services provided by our practicing estate lawyer, Troy Trillo, include:

Wills and Estate Planning

Having your affairs in order and a Will drawn can be a huge relief to family members when you die, as it can provide guidance on how your affairs are to be dealt with, and save considerable time and money. Not only does it ease the burden on family members, but it is the best way to ensure that your intentions and wishes will be followed. However, making a Will is only one part of an estate plan. When a client asks us to prepare a Will, we take a more comprehensive approach, incorporating estate planning, Powers of Attorney and health care considerations.

We ask our clients to start by filling out a questionnaire, which can be e-mailed or mailed to you. While this may take some time to complete, it serves 3 purposes:

  • It helps with estate planning, saving time and money (probate fees) in the future.
  • We find it to be the most efficient used of everyone’s time, so that we can focus on the specific questions and concerns you have, while keeping our rates affordable.
  • It’s a useful checklist/inventory for your executor after you pass, indicating where everything is.

Once the questionnaire is complete (it doesn’t have to be 100%, and we realize there will be questions), then we arrange a time to review the questionnaire, answer questions, and consider estate planning issues. We budget up to one hour for the initial consult for a simple will, spent with Troy Trillo, reviewing the questionnaire together.  With proper estate planning, you can save time and money by minimizing probate fees or possibly bypassing probate all together, particularly when it is between spouses.  We enquire if you have designated beneficiaries on life insurance policies and registered investments (RRSP, RRIF, TFSA).  We also discuss bank accounts, title to real property (land) and vehicles and consider whether joint tenancies would be prudent. This generally applies only to spouses, and we typically do not recommend that children be added as joint tenants, due to the complications that can create like loss of control, taxes, creditor claims, etc., plus the Supreme Court of Canada Decisions in Pecore v. Pecore, [2007] 1SCR 795, 2007 SCC 17 and Madsen Estate v. Saylor, [2007] 1 SCR 838, 2007 SCC 18.

There are also questions in the questionnaire relating to Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements.  A Will only has effect when you die. Until then, if you need someone to assist with financial or health care decisions, we need to consider a Power of Attorney and possibly a Representation Agreement.

Estimated Fees

Single Simple Will— $385.00 + $10 office costs + GST/PST

2 Mutual Simple Wills (two mirror wills, generally used between spouses, where the terms are the same, only names reversed)—$425 + $14 office costs + GST/PST (this is the combined cost for both, they are not $425 each)

Please note, 75% of our wills can be done for the basic rates indicated above, and another 15% can be done for no more than an additional $50.   If we go beyond 1 hour during our initial consult, we generally start billing at the hourly rate.  Additional time and costs (at $325/hr) may apply if more complex issues arise, such as:

Blended Family (children from previous relations)
Trusts for disabled children (Henson Trust)
Trusts beyond the age of 19
Disinheriting a Child or Spouse
Long Lists of Assets and Beneficiaries
Please see our FAQ section for more information about complex issues.

Powers of Attorney

A Power of Attorney allows you to appoint someone to make decisions on your behalf in relation to financial, legal and real estate matters. This is often a spouse, followed by a child as a backup. Some people think a Power of Attorney to their spouse is unnecessary, as everything is already in joint names; but they are forgetting that joint tenancy will really only help with the bank accounts, but won’t be of much assistance with respect to real property or legal matters. If you don’t have a power of attorney, then someone may need to apply for a committee order, which is expontentially more expensive and time consuming. We will discuss all the various versions, including General, Springing, Enduring and limited Powers of Attorney. We generally recommend a General Enduring Power of Attorney with one alternate.

Estimated Fees (for a basic general enduring power of attorney)
Single Power of Attorney—when done with a will, $115 + $5 office costs + GST/PST
Single Power of Attorney—without a will, $175 + $12 office costs + GST/PST
2 Mutual/Mirror Powers of Attorney—when done with a will, $125 + $8 office costs + GST/PST (this is the combined cost for both)
2 Mutual/Mirror Powers of Attorney—without a will, $210 + $15 office costs + GST/PST (this is the combined cost for both)

Representation Agreements, Living Wills and Advance Medical Directives

For health care decisions, you can choose to consider a Living Will, Representation Agreement or Advance Medical Directive. Living Wills aren’t a legally binding document, rather they are an expression of your wishes if the end is near.  Sometimes having this in writing is helpful in providing guidance, or as evidence of your wishes to other family members.  If you want to have a legally binding document appointing a decision maker for health care and personal care, then a section 9 Representation Agreement is your best tool.  Advance Medical Directives and MOST forms (used at IHA), are less than ideal.  If you don’t have a Representation Agreement, there is provision for you next of kin to have temporary decision maker status for your health care decisions (but not personal care), which for some people might be sufficient, for others the next of kin may not be who you would want.  We will review these options with you, and you decide what you would like.

Estimated Fees
Single Representation Agreement—when done with a will, $115 + $5 office costs + GST/PST
Single Representation Agreement—without a will, $190 + $14 office costs + GST/PST
Mutual/Mirror (2) Representation Agreement—when done with a will, $125 + $12 office costs + GST/PST
Mutual/Mirror (2) Representation Agreement—without a will, $205 + $16 office costs + GST/PST
Advance Medical Directives – we are not recommending these at this time.

Grants of Probate and Administration

Should the time come where you need to apply for a Grant of Probate (if there is a Will) or Administration (if there isn’t a Will), we’re here to assist you. We can advise you of your rights and responsibilities as executor/administrator, provide you with checklists and help with the application process and forms. As an executor/administrator, you are entitled to retain the services of a lawyer, accountant and other professionals to assist you, and the cost of that should generally be borne by the estate. We try to keep our fees reasonable, and for a very simple estate, our fees can be as low as 4.5hours at $325/hr up to obtaining the grant. Once we receive the grant, some people don’t require our services, they personally deal with filing taxes, clearance certificates, consent/release forms from beneficiaries (as applicable) and distributing the estate. We’re always available to assist with communicating with beneficiaries, advertising for creditors, obtaining releases and consents, calculating compensation for the executor, passing accounts and distributing the estate. Again, these services are provided based on our hourly rate.

Estimated Fees
Fees are based on an hourly rate ($325/hr) which for the simplest of estates can amount to fees starting as low as $1,462.50 + taxes and disbursements for the Probate application (not including passing accounts, distribution or income tax issues).