December 27th, 2019

Sydney, NS – Sampson McPhee Lawyers are pleased to announce the naming of Liam Gillis
and Tyler MacLennan to their partnership. On January 1, 2020, Gillis and MacLennan will join
the three present partners, Robert Sampson Q.C., Harvey McPhee Q.C. and Elsbeth Cassidy.
“Liam and Tyler have proven to be exceptional lawyers and are well respected by their clients
and our community at large,” says Robert Sampson, Founding Partner, Sampson McPhee.
“Liam and Tyler continue to impress with their ability to handle complicated cases, as well as
their passion for helping the communities they serve, here in Cape Breton. On behalf of our
entire team, we want to congratulate our two new partners on their achievements and welcome
them to our partnership team!”

Both Gillis and MacLennan joined Sampson McPhee in 2015, after receiving their Juris Doctor
from the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. Gillis’s practice focuses primarily on
civil litigation and personal injury, as well as labour, employment, and property law.
MacLennan’s practice focuses on corporate and commercial law, including corporate
restructuring, shareholder disputes, contracts and tax planning.

“It’s an honour to be named a partner at Sampson McPhee. This announcement speaks to the
firm’s commitment to attracting and retaining fresh talent, as well as the firm’s continued growth.
I am grateful for the opportunity to build my career at home in Cape Breton,” says Gillis.
MacLennan adds: “Both Liam and I look forward to continuing to provide the utmost
professionalism and quality service to our clients and to expand on our contributions to the
practice of law as a whole.”

For over 35 years, Sampson McPhee has provided innovative and practical solutions, timely
and efficient service and a breadth and depth of knowledge and experience in all areas of the
law to a diverse client base. As Cape Breton Island’s largest law firm, they provide services of
the highest calibre in every area of law, a goal to which the members of the firm are committed
to at every level.

Media Contact:
Robert Sampson Q.C.
Founding Partner, Sampson McPhee Law Firm

Including Your Whole Family in Your Will


Cape Breton families are growing increasingly complex. As of the 2016 Census, of the 12,960 families with at least one child under the age of 24 in Cape Breton, only 6,295 (48.6%) were intact families. 1,125 Cape Breton families with at least one child under the age of 24 were stepfamilies. 

Complex families can make the distribution of your estate…well…complex. However, if you have a stepfamily and want to ensure your whole family receives something from your estate, the most important step you can take is having a will prepared. In Nova Scotia, if you die intestate (without a will), the Intestate Succession Act governs the distribution of your estate. The Intestate Succession Act does not provide for step relations. Therefore, if you want your step relatives to receive anything from your estate, you will need to prepare a will. 

When it comes to preparing your will, here are some additional considerations for complex families:

Choosing an Executor: If you are concerned about tension and conflict between your family members following your death, you should carefully consider who you choose to be the executor of your will. In some situations it may be wise to choose a neutral third party as opposed to a family member. 

Mutual Wills: Some spouses with blended families choose to execute mutual wills. Spouses frequently create “mirror” wills, leaving everything to their spouse, and in the event their spouse predeceases them, to their children. However, you may want assurance that in the event you predecease your spouse, your children will still benefit from your estate. A mutual will includes a clear clause whereby the spouses agree that following the death of one spouse, the surviving spouse is prohibited from revoking or changing their will. 

Life Interests: Providing a spouse with a life interest is another option that may be attractive if you are trying to balance the interests of your spouse and your children in a blended family. A life interest enables the testator to leave an asset, for example a home or shareholdings, to their spouse, for the remainder of the spouse’s life, and then, on the spouse’s death, to their children. In some cases, a life interest to your spouse may be a better fit than leaving an asset for your spouse and children to share, which can lead to conflicts and even the forced sale of the asset. 

Sampson McPhee has prepared this publication to provide legal information of a general nature. It is not intended to provide legal advice. If you have any questions or concerns one of our lawyers will be happy to assist you. You can reach us by calling 902 539 2425.