Catherine D.A. Watson Coles, KC Estates and Tax Lawyer at McInnes Cooper, Haliifax

Catherine D. A. Watson Coles, KC, T.E.P.


About Catherine

Catherine Watson Coles is an estates and trusts lawyer in our Halifax office, leader of the firm’s regional Estates and Trusts Service Group and a member of McInnes Cooper’s Board of Directors. She brings extensive experience and knowledge in trusts and estate planning and administration, from simple wills and trusts to complex international structures.

Catherine has worked with everyone from individuals to large corporate clients to ensure that their families are protected and their objectives are met in the most efficient and tax effective manner. She has a particular interest in and knowledge of the area of families planning for disabled beneficiaries and frequently acts as trustee as part of McInnes Cooper’s executor and trustee service offering. She also works with families to assist and advise them through areas of discord after the death of a loved one.

Catherine is a regular speaker on the subjects of estates, trusts and tax planning to various professional and public organizations across Canada and abroad. She is a frequent author of articles on these subjects in various newspapers and newsletters. She has also been an instructor at the Bar Admissions Course in the area of estate planning and lectures on the topics of estate planning, trust and tax issues in various forums.

Catherine is the past President and Chair of the Access to Justice and Law Reform Institute of Nova Scotia, a member of McInnes Cooper’s Board of Directors. She is the past President and a current member of the Halifax Estate Planning Council and is a member of the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners, the Canadian Bar Association, the Nova Scotia Barristers’ Society, the Canadian Tax Foundation and the International Bar Association. Catherine is also a past member of the Steering Committee of the Senior Estates and Trust Practitioners Forum and past Senior Co-Chair of the International Bar Association’s Private Client Tax Committee. She has previously served as Chair of the Editorial Board of STEP Inside, the national publication of the Society of Trust and Estates Practitioners. She was formerly Chair of the Wills & Estates Section of the Canadian Bar Association – Nova Scotia and is the Co-Founder and past Chair of the Pride Business Network in Toronto, Ontario. Catherine currently sits on the Board of Trustees for the Mental Health Foundation.

Awards & Recognitions

  • Ranked in the High Net Worth Guide 2023 for Private Wealth Law – Band 3
  • Repeatedly Recommended by The Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory for Estate & Personal Tax Planning (most recently in 2024)
  • Named Best Lawyers® Trusts and Estates Law “Lawyer of the Year" (2022)
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers® Canada for her practice in Trusts and Estates (since 2012)


  • Member, Board and Law Reform Committee
  • Past-President, the Access to Justice and Law Reform Institute of NS


    • LL.B., Osgoode Hall Law School (1993)

    Bar Admissions

    • Ontario (1995)
    • Nova Scotia (2002)


    • English