Geoff White found his Shangri-La in Kelowna after moving his estate law practice from “back east” in 1997. His heritage law office is focused in estate planning, administration and litigation.
He is a Past-Chair of the CBA’s National Elder Law Section and current Chair of the new Okanagan Branch of the international Society of Trust and Estate Practitioners (STEP). He has also been a contributing member of recent Law Reform projects of the BC Law Institute.
Geoff has presented many times for CLEBC on topics such as trusts, wills & estates, and elder law. He will be presenting at the Estate Planning for Blended Families course on May 22, speaking on Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements. Geoff is an editor of the BC Probate & Estate Administration Practice Manual and recently helped to deliver the CLEBC programs for BC’s new Wills, Estates and Succession Act, which took effect in 2014.
How and why did you get involved with CLEBC?
As a sole practitioner in a new province, CLEBC was an essential resource for my practice. After a few years on the receiving side, I jumped at the invitation from a colleague to give something back. What I learned? Contributing has given me even more in return.
What are you are currently working on (or have most recently worked on) with CLEBC?
Our editorial meeting of the probate practice manual is coming up soon. Last year was a huge undertaking with the revisions for WESA. I expect the manual will not only evolve with WESA, but also has future possibilities to be ever more effective and innovative.
What has been your most memorable CLEBC experience?
‘Memorable’ would be almost leaving all my speaking material at the airport behind security just before my top-of-the -morning presentation (thank you ‘red jacket’ volunteer-saviour!).
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you have received?
Focus on what you know.
What advice would you give newcomers who are interested in working in the legal profession?
Build your network of information: resources, but also individuals. As lawyers we sell our knowledge and our ability to apply it. The more access you have to the knowledge and good advice of others, the more successful you will be.
What has been the most rewarding part of your career?
Becoming a trusted advisor to clients. It is an honour and privilege to learn part of their life story and to make a difference in preserving their legacies.
Other than law, what are you passionate about?
Besides my family… coaching soccer, triathlons, the history and potential of Haiti, snowboarding, cross country skiing, motorcycling, science/tech innovation, card games, chocolate, great ideas, historical fiction, movies, modern a cappella, scuba diving… OK, so is that list diverse or just distracted??
What are some of your favourite legal resources? (blogs, websites, etc.)
CLEBC of course! I moved my practice from another province—which shall remain nameless but thought it was the centre of the universe. Yet it did not have a robust association like CLEBC. CLEBC has been an incomparable revelation of comprehensive, focused and timely information. We are very lucky. I also enjoy the blog of my colleague, and sometimes fellow combatant, Stan Rule: Rule of Law at http://rulelaw.blogspot.ca/
Anything you’d like to shamelessly promote? (favourite charity, social cause, etc.)
Many, but I’ll focus on “PLAN: Planned Lifetime Advocacy Network.” They are a Vancouver-based charity that provides information and resources for families of loved-ones with disabilities. They have great technical information, but they also emphasize the most important issues: what makes a “good life”?