Erin O’Brien Edmonds

Practice Areas


“The most important part of the work I do is the time I spend with clients to make sure they have a full understanding of what is being done, so they can feel confident as we move forward together.”
– Erin O’Brien Edmonds

Erin is an experienced real estate and estate planning lawyer. 2023 marks her 40th year of law practice. She maintains a robust practice in both of these areas of law, applying her combined knowledge to deal with methods of real estate ownership that precisely meet her clients’ estate planning needs.

Erin also advises the executors of estates on how to manage and transfer real estate from the estate to the beneficiary, or to sell real property held by an estate. She works extensively in the Land Registration system, completing land migrations, subdivisions of land, and creating easements and restrictive covenants.

Erin’s experience as a Trust and Estate Practitioner (TEP) allows her to provide advice to clients who hold assets inside their companies and family trusts, and to craft estate plans with tax savings in mind. She is able to prepare tax planned estates with lasting relevance.

Erin has been recognized by Best Lawyers® in Canada every year since 2010, and was named as Halifax Real Estate Lawyer of the Year four times, in 2016, 2018, 2019, and 2021. Having written and lectured on the topics of real estate and estate planning for many years, several of her papers are cited broadly as seminal materials in their subject areas.

When not working in her law practice, Erin enjoys exercise including yoga and swimming, and enjoying time with friends and family. Erin is proud to have her son Matthew practising law with her at Arcus Legal, and is working to transfer her longstanding law practice on to Matthew over the next few years.

Estate Planning

Erin advises clients on all aspects of creating a comprehensive estate plan, which includes:

  • Drafting Last Wills and Testaments.
  • Advising on the impact of beneficiary designations and joint ownership.
  • Drafting powers of attorney and advising attorneys on their duties.
  • Drafting personal directives.
  • Drafting trusts including Alter Ego Trusts and Joint Partner Trusts.
  • Advising business owners on coordination of corporate and personal assets in the estate plan.
  • Advising on potential probate savings when appropriate.
  • Identifying income tax issues in estate planning.


Erin advises executors and families on the legal effects of Wills, and how to navigate probating a Will in Nova Scotia, including:

  • Applications for Grant of Probate and Administration.
  • Advising on the effects of joint ownership and beneficiary designations passing assets outside an estate.
  • Advising executors on their responsibilities when acting as an executor.
  • Assisting with estate distribution.

Real Estate

Erin works closely with buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate, providing sound advice in plain language to ensure clients understand every aspect of a transaction. She is relatable and has built her practice on representing families over multiple generations. Erin’s services in this area include:

  • Advising buyers of homes and vacant land and commercial properties.
  • Advising buyers of condominiums on the unique provisions of owning a condominium.
  • Advising sellers of homes and land and commercial properties.
  • Mortgaging or refinancing real estate.
  • Certifying title for the migration of real estate from the older Registry system to the digital Land Registration system.
  • Completing deeds for estate planning purposes.


  • B.Sc. (Major in Biology), Dalhousie University (1980).
  • LL.B., Dalhousie University Law School (1983).
  • STEP Trust and Estate Practitioner designation (2005).

Professional organizations

  • Practising Member of Nova Scotia Barristers Society (1984-present).
  • Appointed as Queen’s Counsel (now King’s Counsel) in 2002.
  • Member of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Will Standards Committee.
  • Former Chair of the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society Real Estate Standards Committee (2007-2016).
  • Real Estate Lawyers’ Association of Nova Scotia (RELANS) former chair (2008-2017) and current board member.
  • Halifax Estate Planning Council former President and current member.
  • Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners (STEP) member; recipient of Volunteer of the Year Award (2015).
  • Canadian Bar Association member (1987-present).

Erin O’Brien Edmonds's Team