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Fees in Estate Matters

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The Benchers have approved Statements of Principles applicable to lawyers who act in a representative capacity and also to fees generally in the context of estate administration (both those of the personal representative and of the lawyer acting for the personal representative).

These principles were developed as result of the work of the  President’s Special Committee on Lawyers Acting as Executors and Trustees, which was struck in 2008 to address some of the difficult issues that may arise when lawyers act in a representative capacity as either executors or trustees.  In some instances, the lack of a clear line of accountability may put trust funds at risk or result in excessive fees, improper distributions and misinformed beneficiaries.  For these reasons, this Committee was struck to consider the related practice and billing issues, identify some concrete solutions, and make recommendations to the Benchers as to how best to inform and regulate members in the field of estate administration.

At the conclusion of its work the Committee established Statements of Principles relevant to lawyers who act in a representative capacity, and also to fees generally in the context of estate administration. All members practising in this area are encouraged to access the Statement of Principles here

Following the development of the Statement of Principles, the Court of Queen's Bench Rules relating to estates administration were amended. While most of the amendments are consistent with the Statement of Principles, to the extent that they differ, the Court of Queen's Bench Rules prevail.

The Law Society is currently revising the Statement of Principles in order to comply with the Court of Queen's Bench Rules.

Continuing Professional Development Programs to introduce the Statements of Principles were held in Clear Lake at the Western Bar Association Meeting on September 10, 2010 and again in Winnipeg on September 29, 2010. Some excellent resource materials addressing the Statement of Principles and related jurisprudence are available by contacting Corinne Penner, Program Registration Assistant at cpenner@lawsociety.mb.ca 

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