Estates & Wills & Trusts

Transfer of wealth has changed the estate litigation bar

Toronto trusts and estates lawyer Ian M. Hull says one of the biggest changes he has noticed in the area of estate litigation over the last decade is the sheer amount of money at stake.

With some reports estimating that baby boomers are set to inherit $1 trillion in the next two decades, Hull says not only has this transfer of wealth created more estates work generally, but now "there's much more money that's being fought over than ever before,” he tells AdvocateDaily.com.

Hull, co-founder of Hull & Hull LLP, says this definitely brings a different feel to the estate litigation bar.

“Before, estate litigation was a small niche area of litigation and now it's grown into what I would describe as a medium-sized niche with a much higher volume,” he says.

Hull, who was called to the bar in 1990 after receiving his LLB from the University of Windsor, initially thought he wanted to explore a broad-based career as a general litigator.

“I realized quite quickly that I thought it would be better to specialize and so I started to hone in on construction lien work,” he recalls. “Then I thought it might be good to specialize in the area my dad [Rodney Hull] was involved in. I think my father was getting to the stage in his career where he wanted some full-time help and he approached me about starting a firm,” Hull says.

Father and son co-founded the firm in 1998, which has grown into a top-ranked boutique lawyers practising in Toronto, Oakville, and Kingston.

Hull also maintains a mediation practice through Hull Estate Mediation Inc. and is a lecturer at the Ontario Bar Admission Course and guest lecturer for the Canadian Bar Association and the Law Society of Upper Canada. He has also authored numerous articles and has written four books on estate law issues.

Hull says his reasons for being such an active and involved member of the bar are twofold.

"First, I do feel I have a responsibility to give back to the profession,” he says. “Secondly, I've always enjoyed being a speaker and author. It keeps me current and keeps me in a position to be a thought leader."

Always at the forefront of new developments, Hull recently authored a paper and spoke about the difficult legal consideration of testamentary capacity and the impact of Narcissistic Personality Disorder on one’s soundness of mind.

"That was a really interesting twist on issues around capacity that I pushed forward on and sought input from some doctors that I know who gave me guidance,” he says. “It was good fun."

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