Westcoast Wills and Probate Lawyer

Vancouver | North Vancouver | Burnaby | Squamish

Westcoast Wills

Vancouver | North Vancouver | Burnaby | Squamish
North Vancouver Wills Lawyer

Alter Ego Trust and Joint Partner Trust

Our trust lawyers can help you create an alter ego trust or a joint partner trust.  Independent advice is also provided by a tax lawyer as part of the cost to ensure that the trust is the most tax efficient and beneficial to you. You should get tax advice before setting up and alter ego trust or a joint partner trust, as there are often tax consequences.

About Alter Ego Trusts and Joint Partner Trusts:

Both alter ego and joint partner trusts are “inter vivos” trusts, meaning you transfer your assets into the trust during your lifetime.  After it is set up, you would have assets in the trust, and assets still held by you personally. The assets in trust would pass according to the trust document, and your personal assets would pass by your will, or otherwise by joint ownership or beneficiary designation.  Both these trusts have basically the same concept, benefits and drawbacks.  The difference is that an alter ego trust is for one person, whereas a joint partner trust is for married or common law couples. Joint Partner Trusts (JPT) are often called Joint Spousal Trusts (JST).


To be able to qualify for one of these trusts, you must be:

  • 65 or older
  • entitled to receive all of the income from the trust
  • the only person (or people for spouses) entitled to receive or have use of the income or capital of the trust
  • a resident of Canada

Westcoast Wills & Estates tends to recommend these trusts only to those with an estate worth over roughly $2 million if the sole reason for setting up the trust is to avoid probate. The probate fee on $2 million is roughly $28,000.  There are other reasons for setting up these trusts though.


  • No probate fee on the assets in the trust (in BC, the probate fee is roughly 1.4% of the total value of your assets)
  • Eliminate the probate process for the assets held in trust (the probate process can often take well over a year)
  • Privacy (no third party will know what assets are in the trust, whereas probate filings are public for assets passing by wills)
  • Some usefulness for disinheritance situations (discuss this with our trust lawyers, as care must be taken)
  • Can maintain the Principal Residence Exemption for homes transferred into the trust.


  • Added complexity to your life
  • The trust may need to file annual tax returns
  • More expensive than a will to set up (although the savings of probate fees more than justify this expense in the long-run)
  • Possible negative tax consequences for improperly managed trusts on the year of death
  • Expensive to add real estate to these trusts recently

Next Steps:

If you are unsure if setting up this type of trust is right for you, the experienced trust lawyers at Westcoast Wills & Estates can answer all of your questions. We routinely provide clients with the advice needed to decide. These trusts are usually complimented by basic WillsPowers of Attorney and Representation Agreements

What sets our trust lawyers apart?  See our homepage and reviews from former clients.

Contact an alter ego trust and joint partner trust lawyer in Vancouver, North VancouverBurnaby, or Squamish.


Westcoast Wills & Estates



Email: info@westcoastwills.com

alter ego trust lawyer vancouver


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executor advice from a probate lawyer in Vancouver

Westcoast Wills & Estates



Email: info@westcoastwills.com