You should decide whether you want to hold the property so that if one owner dies, the other takes that interest immediately (joint tenancy), or if you want the interest to flow through the estate (probate required) of that person (tenants in common). Usually for happy spouses, you would hold it as joint tenancy. In most other cases, such as brothers holding land, you want to be able to will the land to other people (such as children), so tenants in common should be used.
Should we hold land as joint tenancy or tenants in common?
Should I get title insurance?
Many property purchasers often wonder if they should buy title insurance. Banks/mortgage companies will want either a plot plan survey showing the house/buildings or will want a title insurance policy. But even if you aren't using a mortgage or have a plot plan survey, it may be a good idea to have a title insurance policy to protect you. They can protect against fraud, survey errors, underground issues (like your septic tank is actually on your neighbour's property), encroachments, and a host of other problems. The policies cost a few hundred dollars, but when you are investing thousands in your purchase, it may be a wise investment to tack on the insurance. We offer discounted rates on title insurance because of the volumn of property transactions we handle.
Any risks in buying shorefront property?
Are you holding onto undeveloped shore front property in PEI? If you ever want to develop it (build a cottage), or sell it to someone (and no doubt they will want to build a cottage on it), keep in mind the following: Generally speaking, a building cannot be built within "75 feet (22.9 metres), or 60 times the annual rate of erosion" of the beach or bank. Because of this, you, or the person you hope will give you lots of big dollars for the land, may not be able to get a building permit. The government prescribes the "annual rate of erosion" based on where the land is. Keep this in mind. And if you are a buyer, you want to make the contract conditional on a proper assessment (site suitability and building permit).
What should I worry about when buying vacant land?
If you plan on building on vacant land, the sale should be conditional on obtaining a building permit, PERC (septic tank soil test) test, among other things depending on the circumstances. The building permit is good for two years. The risk in not making it conditional on these items is that if you wait a few years then decide to build, you could then find out that you cannot even build on the land - and your investment was wasted. Now this is a rare occurrence, but it happens more often then you think. Say the government determines your land or part of it is "wetland" - this means you cannot build within so many feet of that area of the land. Another example is if it's shorefront and the rate of erosion and setbacks make the land virtually unusuable.
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Why is litigation costly?
This is a multi-faceted question which really comes down to one major factor: Time. Law suits take an incredible, mind-boggling amount of time. It takes time to draft and respond to claims, it takes time to perform legal research on specific questions relevant to your lawsuit, it takes time to gather, test, triage and prepare evidence, it takes time to prepare witnesses, and it takes time to prepare for and attend at hearings.
Better question - can we make it less expensive?
A better question is what can we do to make litigation less expensive? The problem, as we see it, in private practice today is that a lot of work performed for clients is either unnecessary or redundant. When preparing a claim or a defence to one, lawyers often appear to take a “zero or 100” approach, either they are working on that matter with 100% of their resources or they are not working on that matter at all. We feel that a more nuanced approach is necessary as clients become more and more cost-sensitive. Whether it be compartmentalized legal work on your matter, a limited scope retainer, or another solution, we will work with you to find a solution. At Lecky Quinn we’re cognizant of our litigation clients’ cost sensitivity and we work with them on finding methods to keep costs down, keeping them fully informed on the strategic, legal, and cost-benefit implications of the various options we present at every step.
Can a Criminal Record affect my ability to travel?
Yes. A criminal record appears on CPIC (Canadian Police Information Center) which is a law enforcement database that all police departments and the RCMP have access to across Canada. Every country has their own rules and practices about who they permit entry. One common consideration is the existence of a criminal record for the individual seeking entry. Many countries have access to CPIC. For example, CPIC can be accessed by the US Customs and Border Control, Homeland Security, and the FBI. When you attempt to cross the border into the United States, your name may be searched by border agents. If you have a criminal record, they will then have access to it, and may deny your entry. If you travel frequently for work or for leisure, a criminal record can have severe, detrimental, and long-lasting effect. Hiring a competent criminal lawyer may be the difference. Don’t leave your future to chance, call us today.
Can a Criminal Record affect my employment?
Yes. Many employers require that you provide them with a criminal records check. Convictions, absolute discharges within one year, conditional discharges within three years, fines, suspended sentences, and jail sentences are all available to your prospective employer with a criminal record check. Even minor offences can have a monumental negative effect on your employability. This is because the RCMP only provides the information that there is a “not clear” after searching your name in the CPIC system. Employers will often retract a job offer at the first sight of seeing a “not clear” as it is not worth their resources to look into it further. Don’t risk your livelihood and that of your family. If you’re charged with an offence your first call should be to us.
- Defence areas of practice include:
- Do I need a will?
If you have property or children, you should have a will. A will disposes of your property on death, but is also important to indicate who you wish to become guardian of your children.
- When do you need to probate an estate?
The probate process gives the executor the authority to act on behalf of the estate. If there is land in the estate, it will need to be probated. If land was held in joint tenancy (usually with spouses), the land would flow directly and so no probate would be needed. Probate will also be needed where there is high value investments or RRSPs or other similar types of assets.
- What is an executor?
An executor is the person you appoint in your will to act on your behalf after your death. It should be someone you absolutely trust and that you have faith that he or she (or they) will follow the terms of your will. Executors have a lot of power to handle your property - so appointed someone you trust is essential.
- What happens if a person become incompetent but do not have a power of attorney?
If someone becomes incompetent and they never executed a power of attorney, the public trustee (a government official) then takes over to handle the affairs of that person. There is a process - generally two doctors must sign off that the person is incompetent. Having the public trustee manage your affairs is often not ideal, obviously, and fees are charged. However, a loved one or friend can make a court application to become committee and guardian of that person. The simple and obvious solution to avoid a court application and to avoid the public trustee from becoming involved is to execute a power of attorney before age or infirmity strike.
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What are the benefits of mediation or collaborative practice?
The traditional litigation process, although it has its places, often has a very negative effect on children and parents. Mediation or collaborative practice is a more gentle (and often faster) way to address issues and work to a resolution. The process involves both parties working with most often one lawyer (like myself; sometimes two lawyers though). The lawyer and the parties sign an agreement whereby if they decide to litigate in the future they must find other legal counsel. This "opens up" the discussion and the lawyer is able to provide unbiased legal services and guidance for both so that a parenting plan and overall agreement may be reached.
What is a parenting plan?
A parenting plan is an agreement (or may be part of a broader agreement such as a separation agreement) which sets out how children will be cared for and supported. Perhaps the most important element is the schedule - the times that each parent will have the children. The variety of arrangments is "limitless" really. Some do alternating weeks; some do alternating weeks with one weekday overnight; some do a 2-2-3 arrangment; some do a 3-3-4-4 arrangment. See more on my family law page.
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