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Trust account
Estate Planning
What is a Trust?
A large number of the folks we advise first walk in the door wanting to talk about “having a trust,” “making a trust,” “using a trust,” or having an “in-trust account.” In our experience, very few people arrive with much of an idea of what a trust actually is or the basics of how a trust operates. Fortunately, we enjoy explaining such things.
Award real estate
Company News
Award from First Canadian Title (FCT)
Paul Nettleton and Kiersten Alteen of Robson O'Connor LLP were presented with an award from First Canadian Title (FCT), the primary national company responsible for Title Insurance for Real Estate purchases and mortgages.
Estate Planning
Discretionary Trusts and Spendthrift Beneficiaries
Sometimes, one wants to leave an inheritance to a beneficiary, but the beneficiary is not a person to whom large sums of money or valuable assets can be safely given. In a previous article, we discussed using discretionary trusts to provide for someone with a disability who might lose their disability benefits if they inherit too much. This article will discuss a distinct but similar question: How can I leave an inheritance for someone who cannot manage money?
Adult children and family
Estate Planning
Adult Children and Beneficiary Designations for Estate Planning
Estate planning involves myriad decisions. One set of these is a critical collection of decisions relating to the possibility of naming one’s adult children as beneficiaries or contingent beneficiaries of assets like Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs), Tax-Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs), and life insurance policies.
Estate Planning
Estate Planning for Minor Children
Without a will specifying that assets destined for minors are to be held in trust for those minors until they reach the age of majority, the personal representative of a deceased’s estate may be obliged to pay the shares of the estate due to those minors to an entity known as the Public Guardian and Trustee.
Probate law
Estate Planning
What is Probate and Why is it Needed?
Losing a loved one is a challenging experience, and dealing with the legal matters of their estate can add an additional layer of complexity. In British Columbia, when someone passes away, the process of administering their estate usually involves obtaining a document known as a "Grant of Probate."
Buying or selling your home
Real Estate Tips
Purchasing or Selling your Home
One of the many services that our office offers in a Real Estate context is the review of your Contract of Purchase and Sale prior to signing off.
Estate Planning
In-Trust Accounts
Nearly every day, our clients pass along estate planning suggestions they have been offered by well-meaning bank staff, friends, neighbours, and the lovely gentleman who takes great care of the lawn.
Estate Planning
Power of Attorney and Private Company Shares – Tax Traps for the Unwary
Trustworthiness and competence are the two most important criteria when deciding whom to appoint as one’s attorney in one’s power of attorney for financial and legal affairs.
Real Estate Tips
First Time Home Buyers’ Program
The first-time home buyers’ program reduces or eliminates the amount of property transfer tax you pay when you purchase your first home. If you qualify for the program, you may be eligible for either a full or partial exemption from the tax.
Estate Planning
Canadian Powers of Attorney and United States Persons
We frequently encounter folks who wish to appoint a US citizen or a US resident as attorney under their power of attorney. Often folks wish to appoint a child who has moved to the US for work, or a spouse, sibling, or friend who lives in Canada but is a dual citizen.
Estate Planning
What About Unsigned Wills?
What makes a will valid in British Columbia? What makes an amendment to a will valid?
Estate Planning
It’s Never “Just a Will”
We often hear some variation of the following: “I have a simple life and I want a simple will. Why are you asking for detailed information about my house(s), bank accounts, investments, life insurance, etc.?” In today’s post, we will provide a brief overview of why such information is so important for a lawyer asked to draft someone’s will.
Estate Planning
Blended Families and Estate Planning – Part 2
In part 2, e focus on the related topic of will variation claims, a matter that should be of serious concern for anyone living in a blended family.
Estate Planning
Blended Families and Estate Planning
Families in which one or both spouses have children from a previous relationship, known as blended families, present some particularly tricky challenges when it comes to estate planning.
Estate Planning
What Happens if I Die Without a Will?
This is a question we are asked regularly, usually by a relative of a deceased individual who does not have a will. This month we will explain some of the basics of the laws in British Columbia relating to dying without a will, also known as “intestacy” or “dying intestate”.
Estate Planning
Who is in Charge if an Executor Dies Before Completing Administration of an Estate?
Sometimes, an executor dies after beginning, but before completing, administration of an estate. Then, the question arises: who is responsible for completing the administration of the estate? Usually, this question is answered by the provisions of one’s will specifying alternate executors. On occasion though, either a will’s drafting does not address this possibility, or despite providing for several alternative executors, none of the named alternate executors are willing or able to take on the role.
Estate Planning
Can an Attorney Sell to Himself Using a Power of Attorney?
When one is appointed as an attorney under a power of attorney document that has been put in place by another individual (the “donor”) and acts as an attorney for the donor, one is acting as a fiduciary in relation to the donor. This means that one is subject to the associated duties, restrictions, and potential liabilities of a fiduciary.
Health Planning
BC Moves to Allow Remote Witnessing of Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Representation Agreements
For hundreds of years in common-law jurisdictions around the world, a will-maker has been required to sign their will in the physical presence of the witnesses and the witnesses have been required to sign the will in the presence of the will-maker. Similar requirements have generally been applicable to the execution of Powers of Attorney and documents that allow one to appoint someone to make health and personal care decisions (a “Representation Agreement” in BC).
Health Planning
Employee Safety Requirements in Phase 2 of BC’s COVID-19 Restart Plan
As we roll into Phase 2 of BC’s Restart Plan many employers in BC are looking to open their doors again and bring staff back to the workplace. Before doing so, employers should make sure they are aware of, and have a plan for, how to meet new health and safety requirements that have been…
Canadian Law
Transparency Register
The British Columbia Business Corporations Act will soon require private BC companies to create and maintain a “Transparency Register”. A company’s Transparency Register must be kept within that company’s records book and must list information about “significant individuals”. As a result of COVID-19, the deadline for having a Transparency Register in place has been extended…
Estate Planning
Disclosure Requirements under the Property Transfer Tax Act – A Brief Overview
Over the past few years, various levels of government have introduced a variety of information collecting mechanisms in an effort to improve transparency surrounding property ownership and fight financial crime. This month we will discuss some relatively recent changes to the reporting required under the Property Transfer Tax Act (the “Act”). When an interest in…
Estate Planning
“When I Die” File
Often people focus on who will be in charge of their estate and who will benefit from it when planning for their eventual passing. Certainly, these are important issues and putting a will in place to address these issues is a vital part of most estate plans, but there are additional steps that can be…
Estate Planning
Environmental Contamination Risk
Last month we explained that the decision to act as an executor is not one to be taken lightly – it is a role that comes with significant duties and exposure to risk. We had initially intended to discuss the duties of an executor in this month’s post, but a recent question inspired us to…
Estate Planning
Dealing with Creditors of an Estate
One of the first things on the minds of many potential executors or administrators of an estate (also known as the “personal representative” of the estate) is what to do about creditors. People often die with, for example, a mortgage or credit card debt. As we discussed last month, the initial duties of a personal…
Estate Planning
Disability Benefits and Estate Planning for a Disabled Beneficiary
In British Columbia, if a person over the age of 18 is living with a severe mental or physical impairment, they may qualify for financial assistance under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act, S.B.C. 2002, C. 41 (the “Act”). For an individual to qualify, a Medical Professional must provide an opinion that…
Travel Tips
Travel Consent Letters for Minor Children
The Government of Canada strongly recommends that children (people under the age of 19 in British Columbia) carry a consent letter from their parents or guardians if travelling outside of Canada alone or without all their parents and legal guardians. The purpose of such a letter is to provide evidence that the child has permission…
Estate Planning
Distributions, Releases, and the Duty to Account
The Trustee Act requires that an executor or administrator of an estate (also known as the “personal representative” of an estate) must provide an accounting of the estate to the beneficiaries (and any unsatisfied creditors) within two years from the date the Grant of Probate or Administration (the “Grant”) was issued. Before distributing estate assets,…
Estate Planning
210-Day Prohibition on Distributions to Beneficiaries
The Wills Estates and Succession Act (“WESA“) prohibits the executor or administrator of an estate (known generally as the “personal representative” of an estate) from making a distribution from the estate to any beneficiaries until after 210 days have expired from the date the Grant of Probate or Administration is issued. A distribution may be…
Estate Planning
Overarching Duties of an Estate’s Personal Representative
Duty to Avoid Conflict of Interest There is a general prohibition against an executor or administrator of an estate (known generally as the “personal representative” of an estate) acting in a situation in which there is a conflict between the personal representative’s interests and the interests of some of the beneficiaries of the estate. It…
Estate Planning
Dealing with Taxes for an Estate
Last month, we discussed some of the considerations that the executor or administrator of an estate (also known as the “personal representative” of the estate) must attend to in dealing with creditors of the estate. This month we will focus on a related topic – dealing with taxes on behalf of a deceased person’s estate.…
Estate Planning
Initial Duties of Executor or Administrator of Estate
When the time comes to decide whether to act as executor or administrator of an estate, it is important to have a sense of where to start. This month we provide a listing of some of the typical initial duties a personal representative of an estate should attend to at the outset of their involvement…
Estate Planning
Do I Want to Be an Executor?
We are going to start off by beginning a series of posts about what being an executor or administrator of an estate entails. Terminology First, we should begin with a bit of terminology. If one is named in someone’s Will as an executor one is referred to as an executor. If one is not named…
Estate Planning
What about Will Kits?
It is not uncommon for people to ask us about will kits. While some people can purchase and use these kits without it causing a problem down the road, doing so is often a risky business. Provincial Rules Apply Firstly, it is very important to ensure that a will and the circumstances of its witnessing…
Estate Planning
Presumption of Resulting Trust
Thinking of adding someone other than your spouse’s name onto your house, vehicle, bank account, or other major asset? Plan for the principle of resulting trust first! It is not uncommon for a parent, particularly if their spouse has died, to consider adding their adult child’s name on title to their house or to their…
Wills & Estates
I Just Want a Simple Will
People frequently come to us and say, I just want a simple will”. They then inform us of their circumstances and intentions. In a great many cases, there are several elements that cry out for estate planning that goes beyond a “simple will”. For blended families (couples in which one or both has children from…
Did You Know?
Registering a Business Name in British Columbia
In most cases, regardless of whether one’s business is a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation, one’s business’s name must be registered with BC Registry Services to conduct business in British Columbia. There are some exceptions. For example, sole proprietors doing business under their own name need not reserve a name; but generally, reserving a business…
Financial Tips
The Perils of Bank Drafts Part 2 – Crossing the Border
Last month we discussed the risks of using a bank draft to send money by mail or courier, namely, what can happen if a bank draft is lost in transit. This month, we will be addressing a different wrinkle relating to bank drafts – crossing the border. As reported by CBC in July of this…
Financial Tips
The Perils of Bank Drafts Part 1 – Lost in Transit
Banks often portray bank drafts as a safe and convenient way to move large sums of money. What is frequently left out of the conversation is what will happen if the bank draft gets lost before being cashed. To see how important this can be, one need only look to the plight of Ms. Lorette…
Real Estate Tips
Vancouver and Ladysmith Homeowner Grant Application Processes
You may have heard in the news that Vancouver has recently stopped accepting paper applications for the BC Homeowner Grant, moving instead to an online-only application process. This has caused concern that some people in the region lack either a computer with internet access or the computer literacy to easily complete the online application.[1] Here,…
Wills & Estates
Appointing a Guardian for your Child in your Will
It is unfortunately common for people, particularly young adults, to neglect putting in place estate and incapacity planning documents. As we have discussed in a previous post, most adults would be well advised to put an enduring power of attorney in place. Not having one can have unfortunate and expensive consequences.  Today however, we will…
Wills & Estates
Plan for your Pet(s)
If you live in British Columbia and you own a pet, you may wish to consider making specific arrangements to provide for your non-human family members upon your passing. Despite how much we pet loving folks care about our pets and consider them to be part of our family, they are considered our property as…
Company News
New Duncan Office
472 Trans-Canada Highway, Duncan We have opened a new office in Duncan to better serve that region at mid-Vancouver Island. Located inside the RE/MAX of Duncan office, for real estate transactions, transfers, mortgages/refinances, purchase and sale transactions, please call 250-597-0464.
Estate Planning
Joint Tenancy in Estate Planning
There are two distinct ways in which one can own property with another person: tenancy in common; or joint tenancy. The main difference between the two can be explained by imagining two people, Person A and Person B, who want to own a piece of property (P) together. If A and B hold Property P…
Health Planning
Deemed Consent to Psychiatric Treatment in BC
In BC a person may be involuntarily admitted to a psychiatric facility under the Mental Health Act (“MHA”), and treated without any need to obtain consent, if a doctor is of the opinion that the person “has a disorder of the mind that requires treatment and seriously impairs the person’s ability to react appropriately to…
Health Planning
Temporary Substitute Decision Makers for Health and Personal Care
In B.C., if health and personal care decisions need to be made on your behalf and you do not have (or have the capacity to create) a Section 7 or Section 9 representation agreement, determinations about who can make such decisions will (with some exceptions) be governed by the Health Care (Consent) and Care Facility…
Health Planning
Section 7 Representation Agreements – Substitute Decision Makers for Health and Personal Care in British Columbia
In British Columbia, if one has become incapable of making one’s own health or personal care decisions but still wishes to appoint someone to make such decisions on one’s behalf, one may be able do so by creating a representation agreement in accordance with Section 7 of the Representation Agreement Act (a “Section 7 RA”).…
Health Planning
Section 9 Representation Agreements – Plan for Incapacity, Pick your Person
In British Columbia, if you wish to appoint someone to make health and personal care decisions on your behalf in the event you become incapable of doing so, you may make a representation agreement in accordance with Section 9 of the Representation Agreement Act (a “Section 9 RA”). A Section 9 RA allows you to…
Health Planning
Representation Agreements – Choosing Who Can Choose
In British Columbia, you can appoint someone with the authority to make health and personal care decisions for you in the event that you are unable to do so. You can do this by creating a document known as a representation agreement.   A representation agreement (“RA”) allows you to explicitly grant this authority to…
Estate Planning
Enduring Powers of Attorney – An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure
A power of attorney is a document that allows one to appoint someone else to manage one’s financial and legal affairs if one becomes incapable. Having a valid power of attorney is a critical component of the plan for what happens if one loses capacity. This is true even for folks with very simple or…
Estate Planning
Capacity to Make a Will in British Columbia – Strike While the Iron is Hot
People often intend to create or update their will but put it off. This can be risky. Clearly, there is the possibility that one might pass away unexpectedly without creating or updating one’s will. This is not, however, the only risk. There is also the risk that one might lose the capacity to create or…
Real Estate Market News
For Home Buyers: Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation
Did you know that CMHC has important information for the home buyer which includes mortgage insurance details and much more? This includes: Step 1: Is Homeownership Right for You? Step 2: Are You Financially Ready? Step 3: Which Home is Right for You? Step 4: The Buying Process Step 5: Now That You’re a Homeowner…
Real Estate Tips
Property Transfer Tax
  Did you know that an important part of calculating closing costs when acquiring an interest in real property, is to understand and allow for Property Transfer Tax? When you purchase or gain an interest in property that is registered at the Land Title Office, you’re responsible for paying property transfer tax. Taxable transactions include:…
Wills & Estates
Keep your Important Legal Paper Documents Safe!
In this day and age of electronic storage of documents, there are still certain documents the need to be kept in their paper form. Your will and power of attorney are documents that need to be produced in their original form in order to be recognized.   Accordingly, they should be stored by you safely.…
Estate Planning
Gifting Property Before You Die
The simplest way to dispose of your assets on your death is to gift them to whom you wish to have them before you die. We have all made gifts in our life-birthdays, Christmas, weddings-so we all know what a gift is; it is an unconditional transfer of property to another. As we get in…
Real Estate Tips
Is It Better to Rent or Buy?
The choice between buying a home and renting one is among the biggest financial decisions that many adults make. But the costs of buying are more varied and complicated than for renting, making it hard to tell which is a better deal. To help you answer this question, these excellent interactive calculators take the most…
Wills & Estates
Probating a Will
Most people have heard the term “probate” before, but may not have a clear understanding as to what probating a will entails. When a will maker dies with a will and the estate owns assets that require probate in order to be transferred, an order of the court must be obtained. This order is commonly…
Company News
Independence of the Legal Profession?
The legal profession in Canada is independent from the state. Each Province has jurisdiction to to enact laws that have has their purpose, the creation of a society that governs the legal profession. In British Columbia The Law Society Of British Columbia is the governing society. The Law Society is overseen by a board of…
Canadian Law
The Rule of Law?
I am by no means a scholar, but my practice of law for over 30 years has given me a keen appreciation of how societies that are governed by the rule of law operate. We are fortunate to live in a country where our basic freedoms and rights are protected by law. The law is…
Did You Know?
What’s in a Name?
Our name is the most important manner in which we identify ourselves to others, be they government departments, financial institutions, health care providers, or just casual acquaintances. There is a lot that rides on our name, and consequently using alternate variations of a name for different purposes can create confusion and delay. . . .…
Did You Know?
Paul Nettleton – Real Estate Conveyance Lawyer
Paul Nettleton is our real estate Conveyance Lawyer who is available to assist you with the purchase or sale of your home. If you are a buyer, you will want his services which include: Drafting Reviewing Generally assisting with the Contract of Purchase and Sale For most people, this is the single largest purchase they…
Wills & Estates
Putting off your Will … Until Later…
Let’s face it, having a Will prepared is not necessarily a priority item for most people under 65. When we are younger, death seems a far off notion that we spend little time thinking about. However, consider what the state your affairs would be in should you be in an accident or have a life…
Did You Know?
Use BC Housing for Home Improvements
BC Housing has a great program with government monies available for home improvements. Money is available for home improvements if you or a member of your family is having difficulty performing day-to-day activities independently and safely.  Typically seniors with mobility issues benefit from home improvements with government assistance. For homeowners For landlords and tenants List…
Estate Planning
Joint Tenants vs. Tenants-in-Common
When asked about the title to their homes, most people will respond with the names of people with whom they share title. When asked if the people on title are on as joint tenants or tenants-in-common, they usually don’t know. Joint Tenancy When a property is held in joint tenancy, when one joint tenant dies,…
Estate Planning
Storing Your Will – Let Your Executor Know its Location
You original will is one of the most important documents you will ever create. It should be stored in a secure location that allows you and your executor access to it when required. Until you pass away you may wish that only you have access to the will in case you need to make changes…
Real Estate Tips
10 Habits of Successful Real Estate Investors
Joint ventures, wholesaling and property management are just a few of the ways investors can profit from real estate, but it takes a little savvy to become successful in this competitive arena. While certain universities do offer coursework and programs that specifically benefit real estate investors, a degree is not necessarily a prerequisite to profitable…
Did You Know?
Making a Small Claim in BC
If you have a dispute involving a potential claim of $25,000 or less, you can access the comprehensive and informative website for the Small Claims Court of British Columbia. Learn of the Court Processes, Forms and Rules, Locations, FAQ’s and more.
Did You Know?
Lawyers can also be Notaries
Here in British Columbia, Lawyers are both Notaries and Lawyers. That in practical terms means that lawyers can provide the services of a Notary and can provide additional legal services that a Notary cannot provide. Notaries do not represent clients in court and cannot get involved in litigation.  Lawyers may represent clients on all legal…
Did You Know?
Did You Know…
…that the Continuing Legal Education Society of British Columbia has developed a number of online products that are effectively meeting the needs of distance learners? Such products include: Live Webinars Scheduled rebroadcasts CLE-TV Self-paced eLearning Webinar Archive. Visit CLE BC online and explore areas of interest for yourself. Realtors, Conveyance staff, Mortgage Brokers to name…
Real Estate Law
Use a Real Estate Lawyer at the Beginning, not the End
If you are buying or selling a home in British Columbia, there are a number of benefits to consulting a real estate lawyer at the beginning of the process. Why would anyone sign off on a contract involving hundreds of thousands of dollars and then have the lawyer review it? They are trained to be…
Wills & Estates
Powers of Attorney – An Explanation
Most people have heard the term power of attorney (POA) before but may not fully understand the use and intent of such a document. A power of attorney allows for the appointment of another person to manage your financial affairs on your behalf. Usually the power granted is broad and could encompass allowing someone to…
Real Estate Law
Complete Home Buying Guide for BC
It’s important to be well-informed and well-prepared before you buy. Going about the home buying process carefully, asking the right questions and getting all the information you need can protect you as a consumer and result in a good decision for you and your family. This guide is designed to give you some of the…
Wills & Estates
…And When I Die… Thy Will Be Done
This is an issue that you start to think about more often as you age, watch your children get married, have children, and as your own parent age and eventually pass. Your will can be the most important and far reaching document you will ever sign. But the larger issue is what is referred to…