Teryl Scott Lawyers Inc. has 25 years experience. We have caring family lawyers, and estate lawyers who assist with your estate planning. Our Wills and Estate lawyers troubleshoot your major life events.  We recommend preparing your Wills,  Powers of Attorney and Living wills (end of life directives) now. Before you need them.  

If you don’t have these documents, you may have to hire a lawyer to make an application to court in order to appoint a medical proxy, an executor, and/or a power of attorney. Being proactive reduces the cost of obtaining these documents because there is no need for a court application to appoint these people.

Welcome to the easy, affordable way to get your Will and Estate Plan completed.

The estate lawyers at Teryl Scott Lawyers Inc. need to know the following in order to prepare your documents:

  • Who will be the executor and alternate executor of your will– that is, who will take over financially for you when you die?
  • Who are you gifting your assets to?

And if you have children:

  • Who will be the guardian of your children?
  • Who is the trustee– who manages your children’s inheritance while they are minors?
  • How old would you like your children to be when the trust expires and they start to manage their inheritance independently?

Wills and Estate Planning in Nova Scotia

Here are some of our most frequently asked ​questions about Wills and Estate planning:

One of the goals of estate planning is to create a Will which acts as a plan to identify the guardian of your children and how assets and wealth are distributed.  A Will also clarifies that debts must be paid before the gifts are released.

A Will must meet specific drafting and signing requirements in order to be legal. Therefore, it should be done with a lawyer to ensure its validity and to ensure your wishes cannot be overturned.

The benefits of using an estate planning lawyer may include:

  • reducing probate fees
  • ensuring a valid Will
  • ensuring your children are emotionally and financially taken care of upon your death according to your wishes.

An estate planning lawyer typically prepares three documents: a Will, a Power of Attorney and a Personal Directive. These documents appoint someone to step into your position if you are unable or unwilling to respond.

A Will appoints a legal representative after death. A Power of Attorney appoints an alternate financial decision maker to act for you while you are living. A Living Will/Personal Directive appoints someone to make your medical decisions if you cannot make them yourself.

A Wills and Estate lawyer must file extra court paperwork (i.e., an “application”) in probate court to appoint a person to handle the estate. These applications typically cost between $2,000 and $3,500.

An executor (personal representative) is an individual appointed to carry out the instructions in your Will. Their power takes effect immediately upon your death.

They are responsible for implementing your Will. They ensure the payment of debts and then transfer your assets to the beneficiaries.

After death, a Will needs to be submitted for probate, particularly when financial institutions like banks or investment companies are involved. These companies typically require legal recognition from a court that they can release funds to the executor/personal representative named in the Will.

If there is no Will, an administrator must be appointed through probate court to distribute your assets and pay your debts. Asking the court to appoint an administrator (executor) can cost in the range of an extra $2500.

How Estate Planning and Will Lawyers Help

Estate planning lawyers do more than just create Wills. Our lawyers can provide guidance on who is the best type of person to be your medical proxy. They also provide suggestions on who are the best types of family members or friends to appoint as a trustee of your children’s trust. They can also make suggestions on who typically receives the “rest and residue” of your estate and how to minimize probate fees.

Estate planning is not only important for naming beneficiaries upon your death, but an estate lawyer also creates documents such as a Power of Attorney. This document gives someone authority to manage your finances if you are absent, ill, or incapacitated.

A Power of Attorney allows someone to conduct your financial affairs during your absence. If you needed to sell your house, for example, while ​traveling, your Power of Attorney could sign the deed for you. The document is a type of trust, however, so it can never be used to personally benefit the person given the power without consent of the person who granted the power.

Our estate lawyers can help you draft an Enduring Power of Attorney which legally designates someone to handle your financial affairs while you are living. ​Its power expires upon your death, and then the executor named in your Will takes over.

If you do not have a power of attorney and you were incapacitated, a lawyer would have to submit a guardianship application to the court. 

​The application typically costs $5000 and this is when there is no dispute within your family about who should be appointed guardian. The Power of Attorney states who you want to conduct your financial affairs and avoids the cost of the guardianship application. 

A Personal Directive legally designates someone to make medical and personal care decisions on your behalf. Before the Personal Directives Act was created in Nova Scotia, this document used to be called a Living Will. The Personal Directive can only be used by your medical proxy (substitute decision-maker) when you are not mentally capable of making these decisions yourself.

You can also use a Personal Directive to provide detailed instructions about your medical care in a particular situation. For example, whether you wish to have your life prolonged and under what circumstances.

How to Write a Will Without an Estate Lawyer

Some try to write a Will without an estate lawyer, but it is NOT recommended. Wills are not just complicated to write, they are challenging to sign in a way that ensures they are valid under the Wills Act.

You also need a lawyer or commissioner of oaths to sign the affidavit of execution. An Affidavit of Execution documents that your witnesses actually witnessed your signature and initials.

We do NOT recommend drafting your own Will. The biggest risk in writing your own Will is that it won’t be considered a valid Will. An incomplete or incorrectly executed and witnessed Will is the same as having no Will.

An invalid Will will not take care of your children or your assets according as you wish. An invalid Will can lead to in-fighting among family members.

Estate Lawyer Fees

Wills & Estate Planning$375$575
Power of Attorney$150$250
Personal Directives$150$250
Estate Package (Includes all 3)$595$895

If your employer has an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), you qualify for a 25% discount on Teryl Scott Lawyers Inc. fees. The firm also honours our active and former military personnel with a 25% discount. Discounts cannot be combined with any other discounts.

Estate Planning Client Reviews

  • review rating 5  Lisa is just wonderful! Very kind and compassionate, patient yet efficient and supportive. I highly recommend her!

    thumb Sandy Davison

    review rating 5  Lisa is extremely knowledgably, and a brilliant legal mind, a true strategist. Thanks G Skinner

    thumb wayne skinner

    review rating 5  Lisa does excellent, thoughtful work and with a gentle manner that makes it easier to navigate the system - highly recommend! Cathy Leslie

    thumb Catherine Leslie
  • review rating 5  Lisa goes above and beyond. Nice to find someone with strong ethics and who is using her profession to try and make the world a better place. She looks to settle conflict-not to continue it. The minute you meet her you will trust her and she will take care of you. She is upfront and reasonable with her rates. Don’t look any further.

    thumb Glenn Nightingale

    review rating 5  Passionate, friendly and caring lawyer. You could not have a better advocate.

    thumb Rosie Hatton

    review rating 5  Lisa is incredible. Kind, caring and compassionate. As well as knowledgeable. I couldn't have made it through to the end of my divorce without her support! I would highly recommend her!!!

    thumb Courtney Blandin

Other Resources

For more information on estate planning, the Canadian government has helpful resources.

Contact us for any specific questions you may have.