When you find yourself in a situation where you need to contact an Estates lawyer, you might ask yourself: What should I have ready? In all matters involving Wills, Estates, incapable persons, and so forth, it is essential that you have the appropriate information at the ready.


1. Your Name and Contact Information

Intake calls are meant to gather essential information about you, as a potential client, and about the matter at hand. Oftentimes, the first thing a clerk will ask you for is your full name and contact information (e.g., phone number, email, etc.). This is necessary so that the firm can keep track of their potential clients, ensure prompt and effective communication, and schedule introductory meetings with potential clients.


2. The Name and Date of Death of the Deceased or The Name of the Incapable Person

During an intake call, the clerk will ask you whether the matter involves a deceased or incapable person. For a matter involving a deceased person, the clerk will require their full name and date of death. In the case of an incapable person, the clerk will only require their full name. This information is required to complete a conflict search (which I will discuss in the next section).

  • If There is a Will or No Will – (Deceased)
    • If the matter involves a deceased person, the clerk will ask whether they died with a will (“testate”) or without a will (“intestate”). This is so that the assigned lawyer knows whether instructions have been left about the distribution of Estate assets.
  • If There are POA Documents – (Incapable)
    • If the matter involves an incapable person, the clerk will ask whether there is/are Power of Attorney(s) for personal care and property. This is so that the assigned lawyer knows whether there is someone to make decisions on behalf of the incapable person with respect to their care and property.


3. All Parties Involved in the Matter

When law firms take calls from potential clients, it is required by the Law Society of Ontario (LSO) that the responsible lawyer clerk, etc. complete a conflict search of all names involved in the matter. This way, we can ensure that we are not currently representing (or have previously represented) any parties involved, which would create a conflict.

Any significant persons involved in the matter need to be shared with the correct spelling of their name, any names they are “also known as”, as well as their role in the matter. For example, you need to explain whether the individual is an Estate Trustee, Beneficiary, Power of Attorney, etc.


4. A Brief Summary of the Situation At-Hand

By providing a brief summary of your matter, the clerk can gain a better understanding of the services you require and determine whether their firm would be best suited to your needs.

For instance, you can discuss any general issues you have encountered with other parties, and how it may be interfering with the administration of an Estate. This communicates what type of matter the firm might be dealing with and the next steps the assigned lawyer would need to take.


While specific questions about fees and retainment cannot be discussed at the time of the intake call, providing this information is essential for Estate lawyers to fully understand your situation and know how to best help you.


Hannah Henley

Nothing contained in this post constitutes legal advice or establishes a solicitor-client relationship. If you have any questions regarding your legal rights or legal obligations, you should consult a lawyer.