Wills and Capacity Planning

At RLR Lawyers, we understand the importance of hereditary customs, family practices and traditions to First Nations peoples and communities, particularly when it comes to planning for the future of your family legacy. Our lawyers can assist you with the preparation of wills, estate, and capacity planning documents that:

  • set out your wishes for your care if you become incapable by illness, accident or injury during your lifetime, in an Enduring Power of Attorney (for your financial and legal matters) or a Representation Agreement (for your personal, health and medical matters as well as end of life care).
  • set out your wishes regarding the distribution of your assets after death, including who you wish to benefit from your estate (your Last Will and Testament).

We can help ensure that your care, and the care of your estate, remain in the hands of your family and chosen representatives, whether you live on reserve or off-reserve. We can also help you take the steps necessary to ensure that your chosen representatives have the authority to deal with your personal, health and medical care matters and/or your financial or legal matters, rather than having either of those matters falling within the jurisdiction of Indigenous Services Canada.

Estate Administration On-Reserve

First Nations people living on-reserve face a particular set of challenges when dealing with the administration of the estate of a family member. Unlike First Nation individuals who live off-reserve, on-reserve individuals are subject to federal law (this means the Indian Act), which involves a very different estate administration process to the estate administration laws, rules and procedures enacted in British Columbia under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (the BC Probate system). This can make matters more complicated, especially when there is a dispute between family members over the terms of a Will such as, who is to receive specific assets from the estate or who is to receive a share of the estate monies.

Our lawyers have experience dealing with the Indian Act estate administration process and the Estates Unit of Indigenous Services Canada as well as with First Nation estates subject to the BC Probate system. Under both systems, our lawyers have helped executors of First Nation estates navigate the estate administration process, while ensuring that their family member’s estate is being dealt with in a manner consistent with their hereditary customs, family practices and traditions.

Estate Litigation

Our lawyers also have experience helping individual family members protect their rights as a beneficiary of a First Nation estate. We can also advise and represent individual family members who want to challenge a will under the Indian Act – whether to void a will, to challenge the appointment of the executor of the will or to transfer jurisdiction to the BC Probate system.

Click to learn more about our Estate Litigation Practice.

Click to learn more about our Family Law and Matrimonial Property law services.

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