Month: November 2023

5 Reasons to Retain a Family Law Lawyer

Whether your situation calls for an adversarial approach in court or a resolution-based approach out of court, most people facing a separation are grateful to have a knowledgeable and experienced family law lawyer assist them through the family law process.  Here are 5 reasons to retain a family law lawyer.
1.    Specialized Area of the Law:  a lack of familiarity and knowledge about family law issues and procedures will increase the chances of a negative or unworkable outcome for you and your family. 
2.    Objective Advice for an Emotional Time:  a lack of impartiality may easily cloud your judgment. A family law lawyer will let you know if you are being reasonable as to what is possible or workable in your situation, and what is not. 
3.    Family Law Solutions:  a family law lawyer knows how to avert costly and time-consuming litigation for you and your family while protecting your legal rights.  And if that’s not possible in your situation, a family law lawyer can resolve your legal dispute early in the court process or proceed to trial if necessary. 
4.    Paperwork:  whether you are in court or out of court, a family law lawyer knows what is required to increase your chances of a positive outcome for you and your family.  For example, failing to make full and timely financial or income disclosure will damage your credibility and adversely affect your case.
5.    Focus on the Big Picture:  a family law lawyer knows how to achieve the best possible family law solution uniquely tailored to your needs, which may mean helping you compromise on some issues so that you can get more of your “must haves”.   

Who Needs an Estate Plan?

The topic of estate planning usually conjures up thoughts of wealthy people with complicated situations but even with a modest income, if you own any kind of property, for example, a house, bank account, RRSP’s, life insurance, then you have an estate, and as a result, you should also have a plan.

We recommend that every person keep a record of all your assets, that you have your property titled correctly, and that you have the beneficiary arrangements set up properly, especially life insurance through work which many times gets overlooked.

How your property should be titled depends on your marital situation, but typically married couples want to have property titled joint with right of survivorship.  Although sometimes you can’t avoid probate, life insurance and other registered products (eg. RRSP’s) with beneficiary designations will pass outside the estate by contract. If property is titled in just your name, it will have to go through probate. 

Regardless of the value of your estate, every person should have the following important documents: (1) a Will is the first document that you need and it is your opportunity to designate who gets your property; (2) a Continuing Power of Attorney for Property gives someone the right to make financial decisions for you if you are incapacitated or from a convenience perspective, for example, you could be traveling and your spouse needs to make a financial transaction or decision, with a power of attorney for property he or she will be able to do that; (3) a Power of Attorney for Care gives someone the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf.

We recommend that all of your important documents, including Will and Powers of Attorney, be kept in one place, in a binder or envelope, so that if there is an emergency such as a fire, you know where it is and can grab it and run out the door.  It is also a good idea to keep such important documents in a fireproof safe at home or a bank security box.