Representative Mandates

At O'Sullivan Estate Lawyers, we are known for our depth of knowledge and skill in navigating all matters related to trust and estate law. After over 20 years in operation, our firm stays on the leading edge of trust and estate law. Legal colleagues recognize our leadership in the field, and clients continue to benefit from our expertise and experience.

Below is a sampling of the many and varied aspects of trust and estate law that we have been involved with over our years of practice.

Estate Planning

  • Creating estate plans for numerous high net worth and ultra-high net worth Canadian citizens and residents for tax minimization and general wealth protection using sophisticated testamentary trusts, multiple wills and other techniques.
  • Creating, negotiating and advising on high value marriage and cohabitation contracts, including protection of estate and trust assets and family business assets from property division on relationship breakdown.
  • Multiple will planning for clients involving separate situs wills.
  • Advising on and establishing inter vivos trusts for income-splitting purposes, including trusts for children's education funded by prescribed-rate loans.
  • Planning for clients with children with disabilities, including the creation of testamentary Henson trusts as part of an estate plan.
  • Advising on and establishing charitable foundations.
  • Advising on gifts of life insurance proceeds by U.S. citizens to Canadian charities.
  • Establishment of testamentary charitable trusts involving unique terms and conditions with two major U.S. public charities to achieve the donor's objectives in perpetuity.
  • Advising on and establishing alter ego and joint partner trusts for multiple purposes.
  • Preparing cottage use and ownership agreements.

Cross-Border and Multijurisdictional Estate Matters

Creating complex estate plans for clients with legally significant ties to more than one jurisdiction, including:

  • For many Canadian resident clients with U.S. Estate Tax exposure given a spouse's status as a U.S. citizen and/or children who are U.S. persons.
  • For many Canadian resident clients with U.S. Estate Tax exposure given ownership of property in the U.S.
  • For Canadian residents with U.K. Inheritance Tax exposure given ownership of property in the U.K.
  • For Canadian residents with beneficiaries subject to Irish Capital Acquisitions Tax.
  • For a Canadian resident/German citizen with substantial assets and a U.S. citizen spouse, including liaising with German and U.S. legal and tax counsel; and for a Canadian resident, dual Canadian/Swiss citizen with substantial Swiss private company holdings and charitable bequests.
  • For a Canadian citizen/U.K. resident deemed domiciliary with Jersey trust interests and substantial Canadian private company holdings, including charitable planning.
  • For a Canadian citizen/U.K. resident deemed domiciliary with Canadian, U.K. and U.S. holdings.
  • For a Canadian citizen/U.K. resident deemed domiciliary with substantial Canadian holdings, and real estate in four different jurisdictions with regard to multiple will planning.
  • For a Canadian citizen resident in Monaco with U.S. Estate Tax exposure given ownership of real estate and shares in the U.S.
  • Creating Ontario powers of attorney and liaising with U.S. legal counsel to create a unified incapacity plan involving several U.S. states. Advising on estate planning issues in conjunction with cross-border tax counsel with regard to a U.S. citizen becoming Canadian resident in respect of pre-existing U.S. revocable trusts and children's trusts and immigration trust planning.
  • Designing and establishing several trusts in conjunction with U.S. counsel to hold multi-million dollar vacation homes for Canadians with U.S. real property.
  • Advising on trust planning for the acquisition of valuable Canadian real property by a Canadian citizen, U.K. resident and his U.S. citizen, U.K. resident spouse.
  • Establishing substantial testamentary trusts to segregate the entitlements of children and grandchildren after the completion of a complex estate administration, including appointment of capital to a U.S. resident trust for U.S. resident beneficiaries and migrating and resettling several Cayman-based inter vivos trusts to Ontario as part of an extensive family re-organization.
  • Liaising with foreign counsel on foreign probate proceedings.
  • Acting on various large-scale and complex estate administrations including with multijurisdictional aspects, including estate administrations involving:
    • a Canadian resident/U.S. citizen decedent with significant U.S. charitable bequests.
    • Canadian estate with several private corporations and public company control issues, Canadian and U.S. beneficiaries.
    • four wills, assets in Canada, France and the Dominican Republic, testamentary trusts and holding companies.
    • a Quebec will and Bahamian will, assets in Canada, Bahamas, the U.S. and elsewhere.
    • high-value estate of entrepreneur with active business and several dozen holding companies located in several jurisdictions with complex testamentary trust provisions.
    • Advising on the establishment of trusts and property division issues in a complex high value divorce.
    • Acting for executors on a claim for dependant's relief and equalization of net family property where a deceased spouse died intestate with children and minor grandchildren of a predeceased son, including liaising with the Children's Lawyer and obtaining court approval of settlement in a claim for dependant's relief and for entitlement to survivor's pension benefits where cohabitation in dispute.
    • Acting on a claim for equalization of net family property and support under the Succession Law Reform Act for a non-titled spouse in circumstances raising alleged fraudulent conveyances and depletion of family property.
    • Providing legal opinions on the issue of domicile, including in the context of a Canadian citizen/Japanese resident decedent with a multi-national estate and a dual Canadian/U.K. citizen with substantial assets.
  • Advising and acting on several international probate proceedings, involving Japan, Bahamas, Jersey, Guernsey, Cayman Islands, California, Ohio, Connecticut, Arizona, Florida, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, Spain, Norway, British Virgin Islands, Brazil, Ireland, and South Africa.

Estate and Trust Administration and Fiduciary Advice

  • Advice on numerous high-value estate administrations.
  • Advice to trustees regarding the requirements of Ontario trust law in the context of compliance with tax legislation of a foreign jurisdiction's new tax legislation in respect of trusts.
  • Advice on trust issues arising in an estate freeze and corporate re-organization of a large private company with active businesses.
  • Advice to trustees regarding duties to income and capital beneficiaries.
  • Advice to trustees of large intergenerational trust with unique incentive provisions regarding trustee disclosure and informational duties.

Court Applications and Estate Litigation

  • Acting on a complex matrimonial litigation matter involving various trust interests, including arbitration and submissions by the trustees.
  • Acting as co-counsel to adult capital beneficiary on trustee's court application for advice and directions involving high value trust and whether even-hand principle had been ousted with regard to payments under the trust.
  • Advising on claim by beneficiaries against executors for breach of trust and fiduciary duty involving negligence in the administration of a high value estate involving choses-in-action and royalties.
  • Advising on claim by beneficiaries for in an action for breach of fiduciary duty involving high-value corporate ownership interests.
  • Acting on a highly litigious application for removal of trustees, successfully negotiating settlement to complete estate administration, change trustees of continuing trusts and obtaining court approval in conjunction with the Children's Lawyer.
  • Court applications for guardianship of the person and property of adult children and minor children with substantial property interests.
  • Advising on will and trust interpretation matters.
  • Providing legal opinions on matters relating to trustee appointments, replacements and removals.
  • Successfully negotiating contested passings of accounts on behalf of both corporate and individual executors.
  • Acting for a beneficiary on a complex estate litigation matter involving an action to set aside a will and estate freeze involving valuation issues, several court motions, mediation and arbitration.
  • Acting for trustee for unique trust established to fund directors, litigation expenses, involving complex cross-border litigation involving multiple defendants and counsel.
  • Acting as an expert witness and providing legal opinions in several separate multi-million dollar personal injury actions involving guardianship of an incapable person including future cost of compensation for guardians and legal fees.