Mona received her Law Degree from the University of Manitoba in 1978, her Chartered Arbitrator Certificate in 1996 and her Trust Estate Practitioner (TEP) designation in 2013. Her goal is to deliver timely services locally to her clients. She is passionate about helping her clients and is never afraid to take on new challenges.
Farm and Small Business Planning:
Mona grew up on a farm in Southern Manitoba, she and her husband farm at Sperling. Mona chose to practice law in Carman for the last 39 years and to focus on farm and small business tax and succession planning. She enjoys helping her clients solve issues such as "how to transition the farm or small business to the next generation while being fair to the other children" and "planning effectively for tax and family law". She loves the challenge of helping develop a unique solution for each family. She works collaboratively with her client's accountants, financial planners, insurance, and other advisors as "collaboration is imperative to make a comprehensive client centered succession plan". She says "the money we can save by using simple and legal tax planning solutions gives the client more options. It's better to have the tax saving in the client's jeans than the governments." An estate plan often involves corporate reorganizations with family trusts; estate freezes or moving assets to new corporations commonly referred to as "butterfly". Mona enjoys working closely with tax expert Andrew Winkless who has been in the Carman office for 11 years.
Vacation and Cottage Succession Planning:
Mona and her husband Gordon bought cottage property on Lake of the Woods in the late 80's and she soon realized that cottage succession planning is quite similar to farm succession – Cottages and farms are both unique, high value assets to which clients have sentimental attachment and both potentially attract huge tax liabilities. Mona and Andrew have assisted many cottage and vacation homeowners in planning in Canada and the U.S. These plans always include family law considerations and usually the execution of use agreements to set the ground rules if more than one family member is to receive the cottage. Sometimes when planning doesn't happen, Mona uses her training as an Arbitrator and Mediator to assist in solving disputes.
Wills and Estates:
Planning in the above areas has made Mona a skillful and seasoned drafter of complicated tax planned Wills, Shareholder Agreements, and Property/Use Agreements. Mona combines her 40 years of knowledge of small business law and people to help her clients choose the right solution and to assist in quickly winding up an estate while saving tax when clients pass on. Mona has been an active member of the Society of Estate and Tax Practitioners (STEP) and has been a guest speaker on "farm tax" at STEP and CPA seminars. Mona's goal is to finish every estate file within one year. She believes estate matters are as important and deserve the same attention as other files.
Property Management for Foreign Clients – International Taxation – Treaties and the Farm Industry Board:
Mona represents numerous foreign clients who own farmland in Canada. She assists them in renting out their land to the best tenants at above average prices. She also advises on International Taxation and Tax Treaties and has made over 40 appearances before the Farmland Ownership Board (now called the Farm Industry Board).
Real Estate and Development:
Mona has helped her clients at all levels: including negotiating with the City of Winnipeg in a 110 lot residential subdivision, condominium and life leases set up and normal purchase/sale/mortgage. Whether it's buying a small lot to building your dream home, or a commercial strip mall, Mona enjoys advising her Real Estate and Developer clients.
Family Law – "Smart Planning the Split":
Mona practiced Domestic Law and particularly Family Property division and valuation for over 25 years. Now she uses her knowledge of Family Law and Tax to help couples who are divorcing plan "Smart". When couples separate there is often less money, but by using a cooperative and conciliatory approach and the tax rules available upon divorce she can save both spouses a lot of money.
Advising Agricultural Organizations and CAFA:
Mona acts as counsel to numerous non-profit farm organizations from the very small to multi billion-dollar budgets. She advises on board governance, privacy laws and employment and human relation policies, financing and liability, as well as developing shared use agreements for new technologies. She appeared at the Supreme Court of Canada (SCC) in 2004 representing the intervenor Canadian Canola Growers Association (CCGA) on the issue of genetically modified cells and genes.
She is a founding member of Canadian Association of Farm Advisors (CAFA) and authored chapters in their manual on Family Law/ Wills and Estates and Farm Tax Planning. She and her colleagues Harley Shepherd and Andrew Winkless have authored numerous publications for the Manitoba Department of Agriculture related to Farm and Small Business law and tax.
She is a frequent lecturer at Chartered Professional Accountant meetings, the Law Society of Manitoba and Public Seminars on Farm and Small Business Tax and Succession Planning.
Mediation and Aboriginal Law:
Recently, Mona has expanded her area of practice to include Mediation and Aboriginal Law. She was involved in a major land claim that was mediated by former S.C.C Justice Frank Iacobucci. She recently furthered her training in Mediation through the Arbitration and Mediation Institute of Canada. She believes in alternative dispute resolution (ADR) because "most clients do not want to be in court and the adversarial system does not respond effectively or in a time sensitive manner to peoples disputes." She has acted as a third-party neutral arbitrator in many private commercial disputes and was appointed as a Panel Chair under the Canada Labour Code for 8 years. She also chaired the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) appeals tribunal for Manitoba for 6 years. Mona plans to use her Arbitration and Mediation skills to help clients with disputes relating to vacation homes, estates, cottages, farm, and businesses where parties choose alternate dispute resolution rather than accessing the courts. In Med/Arb, she would act as a Mediator trying to resolve the dispute with agreement from all parties, but if an agreement could not be reached, she would become the Arbitrator and issue a binding decision.
In her spare time Mona enjoys her 2 grandchildren, exploring Lake of the Woods, travel, cooking gardening and fitness training.
Areas of Practice:
- Corporate and Commercial Law, Mergers, and Acquisitions
- Residential Real Estate
- Commercial Real Estate and Construction
- Domestic and Family Law
- Mediation and Arbitration