Our Fees & services
Please note that we limit our services to the areas of wills, estates, probate matters, trusts, business succession planning, powers of attorney, health care directives, elder law, and adult guardianship. We do not work in any other areas of law, although we are happy to refer you to another firm. To request an appointment call us at 709 221 5511 or send us an email.
Our regular hours are Monday to Friday, 9 am to 5 pm. Appointments are available outside these hours by request.
All prices are subject to HST.
For information about estate litigation, click here.
1% of the value of the estate, minimum fee of $4000
If you're an executor or administrator, we can help you deal with the estate you're handling. We'll provide as much or as little help as you need. Every executor and every estate is different and we'll tailor our services to your needs. Some of the basic services involved in estate administration are giving a legal opinion on the validity of the will, applying for probate and preparing Release documents.
If you want more assistance than that, we are prepared to take on almost all estate tasks, including, among other tasks:
- writing to banks and insurance companies to determine assets
- placing values on assets
- preparing an estate inventory
- notifying beneficiaries
- transmitting real estate from the
deceased to the estate
- arranging for insurance of vacant premises
- collecting estate assets
- paying bills and expenses
- calculating your executor's fee
- communicating with impatient beneficiaries
- carrying out an interim distribution
- instructing an accountant regarding
tax returns and Clearance Certificates
- preparing the executor's accounting
- final distribution of the estate
Individual - $750
Couple - $950
We'll help you plan how you want your assets to be distributed after you have passed away, and create a solid will for you. Our approach is to hold a frank, open discussion in which we'll encourage you to talk about your goals as well as your worries. We'll help you set up a plan in which your will works together with your life insurance designations, your joint property arrangements, your RRSPs, your second home, and even your blended family.
We'll also help you with Powers of Attorney and Health Care Directives, so you'll be covered if you ever lose your capacity. Each wills package includes a will, Enduring Power of Attorney, and Advance Healthcare Directive for each person.
Our planning discussions are interactive. We'll make suggestions, and give honest feedback on your ideas. Together, we'll come up with a plan that is tailored exactly for you.
*Couples price applies to both legally married and common-law couples.
Applications for Probate/Administration
1% of the value of the estate, minimum fee of $4000
When someone has passed away, often Letters of Probate or Administration are required in order for the estate to be dealt with. This is one of the most common services we provide, and we can help you obtain either Letters of Probate or Administration.
This service includes meeting with the executor or applicant for administration, reviewing the estate, determining the value of the estate, obtaining all necessary consents and renunciations, completing the application to the court, executing and filing the application, and obtaining the completed Letters of Probate or Letters of Administration.
We will also review with you what the role of executor or administrator entails, and how to get started. If you require Letters of Administration, we will also discuss your options for being bonded as an Administrator.
*This fee is the same whether the consult is one hour or longer
One of the ways we are different from most law firms is that we encourage you to sit down with us for a discussion if you have a legal question or concern, without obligating you to hire us for any further work. We're happy to provide you with as much or as little help as you need.
If you have questions about an estate, will, or other related situation, we can book a one-time consult to answer all your questions.
The fee includes a written summary of everything discussed and is the same regardless of how long the conversation is.
These meetings sometimes lead to us being hired to do additional work, but our goal is to provide you with what you need - a place to ask a question with no pressure to pay for extra services.
Please note that any post-consult follow up is not included. Should you have any additional material you would like to cover we would be happy to schedule a second consult. Any follow up will be charged on an hourly rate, which we will discuss with you before completing any work.
If your will was made many years ago, if it was home-made, or if you'd just like a second opinion, we'll sit down with you to give a frank opinion on your will.
We'll address any shortcomings in the document itself, such as problems with witnessing or wording. We'll review your current family and financial situation to determine whether your current will still meets your needs and goals.
We'll provide an opinion on whether you need a new will. If your will is still suitable, we'll let you know that. If we think you need a new will, we'll advise you of the changes we recommend. You are not obligated to hire us to make any changes.
The fee for a will review does not include drafting a new will. If you decide to have us draft new documents for you, the fee for a will review will be deducted from the price for a wills package.
When a person loses his or her capacity and does not have documents in place, someone needs to apply to the court to be appointed as the guardian of that person. Whether this is due to age or a disability, a guardian makes financial and personal care decisions.
This service includes completing the application for guardianship, obtaining the necessary consents and renunciations from family members, obtaining an affidavit of mental status from the person's physician, executing and filing the application at the court, and receiving the completed guardianship. We will also review with you what the duties are for a guardian.
We will also discuss your options for being bonded as a guardian.
Deed of Assent/Conveyance
Often wrapping up an estate includes passing property from one person to another, or removing someone's name from the title of a house.
Our fee includes completing the Deed, the application, and filing the forms with the Registry of Deeds. Once the document has been registered we will provide you with the original.
As well, the Registry of Deeds charges an application fee on all documents. In some cases, this fee is based on the value of the property. We will provide you with an estimate of the fee before we file the document. Any Registry fees that we pay on your behalf will be charged to you separately from the fee for creating the document.
Please note that we only accept Deeds that arise from an estate. Please contact us for information about processing a real estate transaction outside of an estate.
Reading of the will
We can assist an executor who wants to hold a meeting of the beneficiaries of an estate to let the beneficiaries know the contents of the will.
We'll convene the group at our office, advise them of the contents and terms of the will. We'll answer their questions about the will, probate, procedure, the executor's role, and anything else that concerns them. This ensures that all parties know where they stand, and takes pressure and questions off the executor.
It's up to the executor to decide whether he or she wants to hire us to assist with the estate. If the only needed service is to read the will, we will provide that with no further obligation.
Fees are for the entire group. Each person will receive an invoice with their portion of the fee.
First Half-Day Session (includes preparation)
Each Subsequent Half-Day Session
We offer a comfortable, relaxed, private setting where you and your family members can work out your important estate-related matters. Our mediations are conducted by Lynne Butler. Lynne takes the time to gather information from all parties prior to the actual mediation itself in order to pinpoint the issues that need to be addressed. Everyone is heard during mediation, and everyone has the chance to speak.
Mediation of most disputes takes a full day or more of discussion. We schedule our mediation sessions in half-day increments. Estate mediation offers a workable alternative to going to court. Mediation is a process that allows family members to come to a mutual agreement on disputed matters with the help of a trained, neutral mediator who will guide the discussion and document the results. Mediation is much cheaper than going to court, takes much less time, offers greater privacy and flexibility, and best of all, it does not pit family members against each other.
Mediation works when the people involved acknowledge they don't see eye-to-eye on a matter related to an estate or will but agree that they'd rather work it out than fight it out. This is also an excellent forum for family meetings to work out plans for supporting aging parents. The parties may not be in dispute, but simply need a structured environment and a neutral third party to run proceedings, as well as a method of summarizing their plans into an agreement.
PREPARATION OF TRUST
Preparing a trust can be a helpful estate planning tool. Some of our clients have consulted their financial advisors, but we can certainly prepare trusts for clients who have not yet had that conversation.
This fee includes the preparation of the trust, any necessary revisions, and execution of the document. The fee is the same regardless of the type of trust you require.
Whether or not we charge to travel to someone's home depend on if the person is mobile, and where they live. If you are mobile and have requested that we come to your home, we will charge our travel time at the usual hourly rate used for litigation, regardless of your location. If you are in long-term care or palliative care, or are admitted to the hospital within the St. John's/Mount Pearl/Paradise area, there will not be any travel charges.
If you are not mobile and live within the St. John's/Mount Pearl/Paradise area, we will not charge a fee. If you are not mobile and live outside of these areas, there will be a fee of $20.00.
We will always do our best to provide you with the most precise quote that we can. We reserve the right to charge an additional fee if the work is described to us at the beginning as being "basic" but turns out to be much more complex. We will always check with you before doing anything over and above what we discuss.
We accept Visa, MasterCard, American Express, bank drafts, debit, and e-transfers. For in-office purchases of books, guides, kits, and seminars we can accept cash. We can also accept cash for notarizing documents. Receipts will be provided for all transactions.
With the exception of litigation, we do not add fees for printed pages, emails, phone calls, copies, etc. For some types of transactions, a levy charged by the Law Society of Newfoundland and Labrador may apply.
"It took me a really long time to get my mom to agree to go to a lawyer. She was really nervous because it was intimidating, but she felt really comfortable here." - R.P.
"I'm really glad we came back here to get [probate]. This was such a good idea." - C.M.