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Profiles of Excellence: This law firm provides expert assistance to simplify probate and property sales

Fast & Company Law Firm’s unique program enlists the assistance of a lawyer and real estate agent to navigate the combined probate and property sale process
Marie-Louise Fast, Founder of Fast & Company Law Firm. Photo via TwinLens Photography.

So, here you are.

You’ve recently lost a loved one, family member, friend, or even a business partner, and they’ve named you to be the executor of their estate.

You’ve heard it can be a complicated and long draw-out task, one full of responsibility and even liability - both personal and financial.

What do you do?

Burnaby lawyer Marie-Louise Fast, who founded her company Fast & Company in 1988, advises that first of all, don’t get overwhelmed.

You don’t have to go through this alone and without the professional help and experience of a lawyer, and even a real estate professional if the estate includes property.

Fast & Company’s expertise and focus is in probate administration, as well as real estate and business law; the firm is adept at leading you through the process and fulfilling your role as the estate’s executor.

“It’s (being an executor) is much more complex and complicated than most people think,” Fast says. “There is rarely such a thing as a simple estate. And once you get into the ‘weeds’ you realize there’s a lot of potential risks, exposure and liability for executors if you don’t get legal advice, and get it right.”

While doing it by yourself is theoretically permitted, the average person will not have the benefit of any legal advice to guide them through the process, which could have you end up being liable to the beneficiaries of the estate, including the payment of taxes.

“Many of my clients come to me because they have tried to do it themselves and have given up because it’s too complex and time-consuming,” Fast says.

So, once you realize some professional help is needed, how do you choose the right legal firm to assist?

“You want to be looking for a firm with lawyers who have a number of years of experience working on estates, and knows the best ways to expedite the process,” Fast says. “Someone

with some empathy for the grief loved ones are experiencing and sensitivity for the family dynamics”Ideally, they should also be familiar with the prospect of real estate being involved.”

Photo via TwinLens Photography

On that subject, Fast says she developed a unique program that combines the talents of a lawyer and real estate agent.

Called Relex, it essentially enlists the know-how of two professionals in their respective areas of expertise for the price of one.

“They work as a team to market the estate’s property in a seamless, one-stop shopping experience,” Fast explains. “The client benefits from legal advice right from the start of their transactions to the very end when a property is sold, and the client saves all the usual legal closing costs. It’s a ‘win-win’ scenario.”

Relex not only offers added confidence the executor is protected, but can also be used for those just seeking to undertake a real estate transaction not associated with an estate.

“Anybody who wants to buy or sell property can use the program,” Fast says.”

In addition, executors also need to possess patience for the estate/probate process to unfold.

“I tell my clients it will take a minimum of six to nine months. And it often takes a lot longer than that,” Fast says, adding it is vital for an executor to make beneficiaries aware of that timeline.

“They (beneficiaries) are most always quite anxious, so when the executor sets out the realities of the process from the outset the job will be much easier,” Fast says.

Also helping smooth out the process, in most cases, is Fast & Company’s provision of waiving the requirement for a retainer (upfront legal fees), to get the estate work underway without delay.

To learn more about Fast & Company, visit, or call 604.273.6424 to get in touch right away.