Areas of Wills and Estates Law

Create a Roadmap for Your Future

Estate Lawyers

Estate Planning

Our Wills and Estates Law team is ready to support you through some of the most difficult decisions of your life. We’ve been around a long time and we understand how deeply personal these matters can be. Whether you are looking to create a roadmap for the future of your family business, solidify your children’s future, or ensure the cottage stays in the family, you can count on us.

We will guide you through some of the most important decisions you will make in life, including:

  • Creating wills, trusts and will substitutes
  • Creating powers of attorney for both property and personal care, including “living wills”
  • Planning involving the use of spousal trusts if you are in a second or subsequent marriage or relationship
  • Planning to avoid or reduce probate taxes through multiple wills or Alter Ego and Joint Partner Trusts
  • Planning for recreational properties including cottages
  • Planning for beneficiaries with disabilities, including “Henson” trusts if you have a beneficiary who is on the Ontario Disability Support Program (ODSP)
  • Corporate law and tax advice to facilitate the transfer of your family business
  • Estate freezes to give you tax certainty while passing the future growth of your family business to the next generation
  • Tax planned trusts to minimize income taxes and provide for future generations
  • Planning related to family law matters, including will-protection agreements and marriage contracts
  • Advice related to cross-border planning if you own U.S. property or are considered a U.S. citizen, dual citizen or deemed resident under U.S. law
  • Advice in relation to international wills, including those for individuals who travel often but are not residents of that country, ensuring the will is effective if an incident occurs during travel

For assistance with your estate planning or administration enquiry, please contact Claire Rivoire by email or 613.544.0211, ext. 8029.

Estate Settlements

Estate Administration

The management and settlement of estates can be stressful and time consuming. When dealing with such deeply personal matters, you don’t want to have to worry about legal challenges as well. We get it. Our extensive experience in these matters allows us to help you avoid acrimonious and expensive litigation when dealing with the administration of estates. You can rely on us to advocate for and guide you through the process with experienced support and professionalism.

We can assist with all areas of estate administration including:

  • Obtaining court approval for the appointment of estate trustees with or without a will
  • Resealing Applications for wills probated in another commonwealth jurisdiction
  • Passing of accounts for trustees and attorneys for property
  • Executor or trustee compensation
  • The replacement, retirement or removal of executors and trustees appointed under a will or trust deed
  • The interpretation of wills and trusts
  • Winding-up or varying of trusts
  • Guardianship applications, for property and individuals
  • Tax planning for estates, including disclaimers, renunciations and surrenders
  • Administration of charitable trusts and corporations

For assistance with your estate planning or administration enquiry, please contact Claire Rivoire by email or 613.544.0211, ext. 8029.

Estate Disputes

Estate Litigation

A death in the family is difficult enough without the involvement of a lawyer. However, familial deaths can lead to disputes that require court assistance to resolve. Our Estate team is experienced and resourceful; many of our lawyers regularly teach, write, and present across Ontario on these types of matters.

At Cunningham Swan, we have unique access to our Litigation team who work alongside us to resolve your Estate Litigation matter.

We advocate for executors, beneficiaries, family members and charities who have contentious matters in the following proceedings:

  • Challenges to the validity of a will
  • Interpretation of wills and trusts
  • Passing of accounts where the accounts are challenged
  • Removal of Estate Trustees
  • Abuses of powers of attorney
  • Dependants’ support claims
  • Guardianship and capacity disputes
  • Equitable claims, including mutual wills, quantum meruit, proprietary and promissory estoppel, and unjust enrichment

For assistance with your estate planning or administration enquiry, please contact Claire Rivoire by email or 613.544.0211, ext. 8029.

Estate Lawyers

Our Wills and Estates team understands the weight of the decisions you are making and is committed to providing the highest level of support. 

Brian Gillingham*


Brian Gillingham is a Partner in our Wills and Estates Law group, focusing exclusively

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Ryan MacNeil


Ryan is an Associate in our Wills and Estates group. His practice focuses exclusively

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Alexandra Manthorpe

613.544.0211 ext. 8069

Alexandra Manthorpe is a Partner in our Wills & Estates group. Alexandra completed a

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