Miller Thomson’s Private Client Services (“PCS”) practice is one of the largest and most prominent in Canada, specializing in the day-to-day and long-term planning needs of many of Canada’s most successful private family enterprises and individuals. We provide a complete range of services with respect to estate planning, personal and corporate tax, business succession planning, trusts, estate administration, trust and estate litigation and incapacity and elder law.
Our PCS Group distinguishes itself through our cornerstone publication, Miller Thomson on Estate Planning (“MTEP”) – a preeminent Canadian publication on estate planning. Published by Thomson Reuters, MTEP is a two-volume, twenty chapter publication, covering a broad range of tax and estate planning topics in Canada as well as United States cross-border estate planning. MTEP is regularly updated and marks a truly collaborative effort by our PCS lawyers across Canada.
Our areas of expertise include:
Estate Planning, Business Succession Planning and Personal Tax
- Tax-planned trusts and wills to achieve wealth distribution objectives while minimizing tax
- Succession plans to transition family businesses while maintaining family harmony
- Custom designed estate freeze and income-splitting arrangements
- Practical planning to reduce probate taxes
- Life insurance planning
- Cross-border will and trust planning for clients with dual residence, U.S. citizenship or foreign property
- Charitable giving including the use of private charitable foundations
- Pre-nuptial and Cohabitation agreements
- Applications for probate
- Assisting executors and estate trustees in their duties
- Administration of estates and trusts
- Opinions on will and trust interpretations
- Post mortem tax planning
- Jurisdictional issues
- Preparation of accounts for estates and trusts
We assist institutional fiduciaries on a regular basis with advice designed to reduce exposure and manage the risks that accompany a fiduciary position. We also advise trustees on complex fiduciary issues and advise beneficiaries on their rights and expectations.
Estate and Trust Dispute Resolution, Mediation and Arbitration
Our lawyers are experienced in complex dispute resolution with respect to estates and trusts. We provide a full range of services in trust and estate litigation including:
- Contested proceedings in trust, estate and charitable matters
- Variation of trusts
- Motions for advice and directions
- Cy-près applications for trustees and charities
Incapacity and Elder Law
- Substitute decision-making and mental incapacity planning
- Continuing enduring powers of attorney for property and durable powers of attorney
- Powers of attorney for personal care, personal directives, representation agreements and “Living Wills”
- Advising on the use of trusts and powers of attorney to protect clients’ assets and to effect personal care decisions in the event of long term illness or incapacity
- Management plans, guardianship and committeeship
- Contesting an attorney’s, agent’s, or guardian’s decisions or accounts
Awards & accolades
- The Chambers Canada Guide, an internationally renowned publication that recommends and ranks lawyers in 40 specialist practice areas across Canada, has accorded the band 1, highest ranking to our Private Client Services Group.
- Miller Thomson is ranked as a Band 1 (highest ranking) law firm in Canada in the 2016 Chambers High Net Worth Guide. Click here to learn more.
Miller Thomson receives top honours in 2017 Chambers Canada guide
Thirteen Miller Thomson lawyers and four practice groups are named in the 2017 edition of Chambers Canada. The guide ranks lawyers and law firms in over 40 specialist practice areas across Canada, based on client feedback, peer interviews and an assessment of...
William Fowlis elected to STEP worldwide council
Congratulations to William Fowlis, Partner in our Calgary office, who was recently elected as the Canadian representative on the STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) worldwide council. STEP is the global professional association for trust and estate practitioners. The council is made up...
Miller Thomson lawyers recognized in The Best Lawyers in Canada 2017
126 Miller Thomson lawyers from across the country and in numerous areas of law have been recognized for their expertise in the 2017 edition of The Best Lawyers in Canada. This result is up from 122 lawyers ranked last year....
Miller Thomson receives top ranking by Chambers for international private wealth management
Miller Thomson is ranked as a Band 1 (highest ranking) law firm in Canada in the 2016 Chambers High Net Worth Guide. The guide ranks the leading lawyers and law firms for the international private wealth market in key jurisdictions around the world. ...
Rachel Blumenfeld discusses transfer of family assets on CBC Radio
Rachel Blumenfeld practices in the areas of trusts and estates, and personal tax planning. She appeared in a June 22, 2016 segment for CBC’s The Current discussing what can happen when ownership of family assets are transferred from aging parents to their children. Listen to...
Miller Thomson participation at 18th Annual STEP Canada Conference
Our National Private Client Services Group will be participating in and sponsoring the 18th annual STEP (Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners) Canada Conference scheduled from June 9 -10, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. Over 700 delegates have registered,...
Rachel Blumenfeld awarded STEP Canada-Toronto Branch Volunteer of the Year
Congratulations to Rachel Blumenfeld, Partner in our Private Client Services group, who was recently honoured as Volunteer of the Year by STEP Canada’s Toronto Branch. The Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP) is the leading international association for trust...
William Fowlis receives Society of Trusts and Estate Practitioners (STEP) Founder’s Award
Miller Thomson congratulates William Fowlis, the firm’s Corporate Tax Lead, on being awarded the STEP Founder’s Award. The award recognizes STEP members who have made an exemplary long-term contribution to the Society in their branch or elsewhere in the voluntary...
Miller Thomson receives top honours in Chambers Canada
Twelve Miller Thomson lawyers and four practice groups were ranked in the recently published first edition of the Chambers Canada Guide. The Guide ranks leading lawyers and law firms practicing in all provinces and territories across Canada, in over 40...
Miller Thomson’s participation at the STEP Canada Conference
Our National Private Client Services Group participated and were Gold Sponsors of the 17th annual STEP (Society of Trusts and Estates Practitioners) Canada Conference on June 18 and 19, at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre. The conference was a huge...
Rachel Blumenfeld speaks at STEP Disability Planning seminar
Martin Rochwerg speaks on post-mortem planning
Martin Rochwerg presents “Post-Mortem Holdco Planning” for the CBA’s Will, Estate and Trust Fundamentals for Estate Practitioners program.
Miller Thomson speaks at STEP Canada conference
Gail Black moderates a session on “A Professional’s Toolkit for Identifying and Addressing Decisional Capacity and Undue Influence” on June 9. Rachel Blumenfeld presents “STEP Toronto on Jewish Laws of Inheritance and Estate Planning in Canada” on June 9. Martin Rochwerg...
Rachel Blumenfeld speaks on estate planning
Rachel Blumenfeld presents to members of TEC Canada on “Issues in Estate Planning”.
Rachel Blumenfeld speaks on estate and gift planning
Rachel Blumenfeld presents “Recent Changes to Estate and Gift Planning” for donors of the McMichael Canadian Art Foundation.
Rachel Blumenfeld speaks on trust planning
Rachel Blumenfeld presents “Planning Using Trusts” for STEP Toronto.
Rachel Blumenfeld speaks at Tax and Estate Planning Forum
Rachel Blumenfeld is a panelist for sessions on “Cross Border Workshop” and “Planning and Working With U.S. Estate and Gift Tax Treaties” at the STEP International Tax and Estate Planning Forum.
Susan Manwaring and Martin Rochwerg speak on estate and tax planning
The 2016 Guide to Complex Issues in Estate and Tax Planning is presented by Osgoode Professional Development. Susan Manwaring speaks on “Charitable Donations: What You Need to Know”. Martin Rochwerg is Program Co-Chair.
Sheila Crummey and Amanda Stacey speak on trusts and estates law
Sheila Crummey and Amanda Stacey present at the Ontario Bar Association’s Institute 2016 on “New and Continuing Challenges in Trusts and Estates Law”.
Amanda Stacey speaks at OBA civil litigation course
Amanda Stacey is a speaker at Ontario Bar Association’s Institute 2016 program on “Litigation Minefields: Tax, Estates, Criminal, and Other Unanticipated Issues”.
Tax Update Seminar
Miller Thomson presents a complimentary tax seminar. This seminar is designed for accountants, financial advisors, tax professionals, private business owners, and others who deal with tax related issues. Our seminar focuses on: New Tax Rules affecting Trusts, Estates and Charitable...
Family Law Issues in Estate Planning
Patricia Fourcand and Nathalie Marchand deliver a presentation entitled “Family Law Issues in Estate Planning” during a breakfast and conference organized by RBC Dominion Securities Inc., D’Amico Family Wealth Management Group on March 19th 2014 at 1 Place Ville-Marie, 41st floor at 8h30....
Recent Tax Developments 2013 – Regina
Miller Thomson presents a breakfast seminar, “Recent Tax Developments” hosted by the Regina office.
Recent Tax Developments 2013 – Saskatoon
Miller Thomson presents a breakfast seminar on “Recent Tax Developments,” hosted by the Saskatoon office.
Recent Tax Developments 2012 – Regina
Miller Thomson’s Regina office hosts a breakfast seminar on “Recent Tax Developments.”
Recent Tax Developments 2012 – Saskatoon
Miller Thomson’s Saskatoon office hosts a breakfast seminar on “Recent Tax Developments.”
Recent Developments in Estate Planning and Business Succession
Miller Thomson’s National Private Client Services Group hosts a seminar covering recent developments in Estate Planning and Business Succession.
James Hutchinson speaks on “Utilization of Tax Losses and Debt Restructuring”.
James Hutchinson speaks on “Tax Planning for Farming Course – Succession Planning: Use of Trusts and Tax Issues”.
Owner-Manager Tax Planning
James Hutchinson speaks on “Owner-Manager Tax Planning” at the 8th Annual Tax Planning for the Wealthy Family.
Dependant’s Relief Claims under the Succession Law Reform Act
Key Developments in Estates and Trusts Law in Ontario, 2015-2016 Edition, Chapter 11
CRA Interpretation: Tax Implications of a Contractual Right to “Split” a Multiple Life Policy
Introduction The Canada Revenue Agency (the “CRA”) recently released an interesting interpretation (2015-0608261E5 (the “Interpretation”)) regarding the “splitting” of a universal life insurance policy between the two lives insured under the policy. More particularly, the CRA was asked whether there...
Becker v. Becker: Testamentary Capacity
Introduction In Becker v. Becker, the Supreme Court of British Columbia considered whether a testator who had been hospitalized with an inoperable brain tumour had the requisite testamentary capacity to execute new Wills and whether suspicious circumstances were present that...
Zeligs v. Janes: Severing Joint Tenancy
Joint tenancy is a common form of ownership for family holdings and is often used for estate planning purposes. The main benefit of a joint tenancy is the right of survivorship which provides that when one joint tenant dies, his...
Additional Property Transfer Tax in BC Effective August 2, 2016
Effective August 2, 2016, a new tax of 15% of fair market value is payable by “foreign nationals” or “foreign corporations” who acquire “residential property” in the Greater Vancouver Regional District. This tax is in addition to the current Property...
Morrison Estate (Re): Should Beneficiary Designations be Subject to the Presumption of Resulting Trust?
Introduction The recent Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench case, Morrison Estate (Re), 2015 ABQB 769, considered whether the presumption of resulting trust should be applied to beneficiary designations in respect of registered plans and life insurance policies. The Supreme Court...
Trust Interests and Family Law Rights – What Estate Planners Need to Know After Tremblay and Mudronja
Introduction Since the enactment of the Family Law Act (“FLA”), Courts have struggled with determining, firstly, if and when the interest of a spouse in a discretionary trust qualifies as “property” as defined in the FLA for purposes of equalization...
Estate of Annie MacKay v. Dawn MacKay: Joint Account Holders as Fiduciaries
In a recent decision, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice ruled on whether a non-contributing joint bank account holder owed a fiduciary duty to the contributing joint bank account holder, and whether she was in breach of that duty by...
Abdollahpour v. Banifatemi: Use of the Word “Dowry” Not Enough to Import Cultural Expectations into Deed of Gift
In Abdollahpour v. Banifatemi, 2015 ONCA 834, the Ontario Court of Appeal ruled on how particular cultural practices should be treated when being used as a basis for legal arguments. The case involved an Iranian couple who separated after more...
Testamentary Freedom and Policy Constraints
It is a hallmark of common law jurisdictions that testators have freedom of testamentary disposition , subject only to three exceptions. In other words, an individual may dispose of his or her property as he or she wishes, even if...