Frequently Asked Questions

The questions and answers on this page are for information purposes only and are not legal advice to the public or anyone in particular.
If you have a specific question or legal issue, please contact us!

Call us at 250-385-1383 or toll free at 1-888-385-1383 and explain briefly what kind of problem you are having. Our reception will forward you to the right lawyer who can assist you.

We offer an initial telephone consultation at no charge. During that time, we listen as you outline your situation and offer you advice on whether you have an issue that requires legal representation. If you require our services, we will then discuss your options and our fee structure so that you can make an informed choice.

We offer a range of fee structures depending on the type of legal problem that you have. Generally, we require a retainer which is a deposit you make to our trust account. As we work on your file, we are able to deduct our legal fees and disbursements from that deposit. The size of the retainer that we request depends on the type of legal services you need and the specific facts of your case.

Our legal fees are comprised of the work performed by our lawyers on an hourly basis as well as disbursements, which include taxes, filing fees, long distance charges, photocopying charges, courier fees, and other fees charged to us in the course of our work for you.

A contingency fee allows us to work on your matter and not charge you legal fees until we receive money on your behalf. In these types of matters, because we are assuming some of the risk of recovering money on your behalf, we will negotiate with you what percentage of recovery we will take as our “contingent” fee. However, even when we take a matter on a contingency fee basis, you will remain responsible for payment of disbursements incurred on your behalf.

We offer contingency fee arrangements in some personal injury and civil litigation matters, determined on a case-by-base basis. We do not offer contingency fee options for family law matters. We encourage you to contact us to discuss whether this option is right for you.

We accept cash, credit cards and debit. Please contact us if you would like more information about our fees.

Your lawyer will need your identification, basic personal information, and any documents related to your issue. You should be prepared to describe the history of events in relation to your issue. We recommend that new clients prepare a chronology of events prior to the meeting.

We are located in the heart of Victoria, at the intersection of Douglas Street and Courtney Street. The first hour of parking is free at the City of Victoria parking lot located under the Main Branch of the Victoria Library.

Generally, assets that are in your name would be included in your estate. Exceptions include assets that you hold jointly with another (those assets will go to the surviving owner) and assets for which you are able to designate a beneficiary such as RRSPs and insurance policies. The dollar value of the assets actually in your name that are not held jointly or designated to a beneficiary form the assets that comprise your estate, and it is the dollar value of those assets that are used to calculate probate fees.

Probate is the court order that is issued allowing your executor to execute the provisions of your will. Probate is the legal sanction to your executor to carry out the terms of your will and distribute your estate in the manner described in your will. Your executor requires a grant of probate before he or she can obtain control of a number of the assets in your estate including investments held in financial institutions, real estate and the like. Once the grant of probate is obtained, an executor can then proceed to liquidate the estate in preparation of distributing it as set forth by your will. If there are persons that are entitled to make a court application to vary your will, the executor must wait to distribute your estate, or obtain the consent of all those persons who are entitled to apply or named in the will to an earlier distribution. An executor must also obtain a clearance certificate from the Canada Revenue Agency before wholly distributing your estate.

Probate fees are calculated on the value of your estate, at date of death, in accordance with the following formula:

  • No fee if the estate is worth less than $25,000;
  • A basic fee of $208 if the estate is worth over $25,000;
  • A basic fee of $208 plus $6 per $1,000 (for a total of $358 for the first $50,000) if the estate is worth between $25,000 and $50,000;
  • $358 plus $14 per $1,000 of estate value over $50,000 if the estate is worth over $50,000.

These figures are current to November 2018 and are subject to change.

Following your death, your executor will be responsible for ensuring that your tax return for the calendar year in which you have died is prepared and filed. At the same time, your executor will also be required to file final tax return which effectively “closes your account” at the Canada Revenue Agency. This return will deal with any taxable dispositions that resulted from your death, such as capital gains that must be paid if you held any capital investments at the time of your passing. Following the filing of the final return, a clearance certificate is issued by the Canada Revenue Agency which then allows the executor to complete distribution of the estate. Executors can be held personally liable for ensuring that