Planning a Will: When Should You Write a Will

Planning a Will: When Should You Write a Will

Planning a Will
When to write your will has never had an exact age. We always think of wills as a last testament we do on this earth. Read on to learn about planning a will and when should you write a will.

No one enjoys thinking about the prospect of dying one day. Sadly, it's part of life, and it's something that happens to all of us, regardless of how wealthy or important we are.

While there's little of consequence to you once you pass, it's important that you consider your final wishes. These can go beyond what you'd like your last days to look like and include plans for your home, minor children, pets, and personal property that you'll leave behind.

Planning a will is something everyone should do, regardless of how much they're worth or what money they have. Many people make the mistake of believing that a will is only for someone with a lot of money to burn.

Having a will goes beyond your assets, and can prevent problems and fights among family after you pass. If you're planning on creating one, it's never too early to get started.

Learn more about what situations call for reasons to have a will, and what you can do to get started on the process.

You Have Minor Children and Want to Ensure for Their Future

If you're the parent of young children, it's important to think of their needs and plan the best future for them. This includes picking a friend or family member that is a capable guardian if you and your spouse both pass away.

Before you make this choice, consider carefully the individual you have in mind. Whoever you pick, you want to make sure your child is with a guardian that loves and cherishes them.

When picking a guardian, here's a few things to keep in mind:

  • Have more than one person/couple you can ask
  • Be upfront about how much inheritance gets left behind for your child
  • Make sure you feel truly comfortable about who you're picking, and that you're not just doing it out of duty

If you don't have a will in place when you pass, your child could end up in the hands of a family member who's more interested in inheritance than they are taking care of the child.

This is an important example why having a will is crucial at any age. What you plan for the future can determine how your child's life gets shaped if you pass away before they turn 18.

There's Been a Change in Your Relationship Status and You're Planning a Will for Your Spouse

Getting married (or remarried) is always an exciting change to anyone's life. And although divorce is not always planned, it's still a relationship change, for better or worse.

When you're undergoing changes that involve taking or losing a partner, it's time to change up your will.

In the event that you pass after a divorce, you don't want your will to name your ex-partner as someone benefiting from your estate. If you have a new partner and want certain items left to specific people, it's important to name that, too.

If you're married and you die without a will, it's automatically assumed that everything goes to your partner. For those with children from a previous relationship, it's crucial to put on paper what you want them to inherit.

Among the reasons to have a will, planning and thought behind who gets what are the most important factors.

You're Leaving Behind a Business

A business that you've established and built from the ground up is something to feel proud of. It's also important to figure out what you'd like to have done with it after you pass.

Many business owners make plans to leave their business to their children. You can decide if this is a route you'd like to take, or if there is an employee or another worker who you'd rather leave the company to.

Decisions like this become difficult if a plan isn't made out. Family members can take the will to court and challenge the lack of decisions as to who gets what.

If you didn't want to sell your company and had dreams of passing it down to someone else, you need a will. Think of your business as your child, and treat it the same way; look for someone who can administer the same loving care you provided when you ran the company. A good corporate lawyer that understands estate planning can help plan the succession of your business.

There's a House Among Your Assets and You Have Plans for It

Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases you'll make in your life. Perhaps you've gone house hunting and finally found the ideal place that makes you feel comfortable.

While you're sure to enjoy your time in your home, you'll need to consider what to do with it after you pass away.

Many people choose to sell off the home and split the proceeds between family members. Others decide it's better to leave the home to a specific family member and keep it around for others to enjoy.

In many cases, if there is no will, your home gets sold and the profit gets split. Even if this is what you want to happen, it's still a good idea to get everything down on paper.

You might not want everything split in an even manner. Perhaps you'd rather see the money go to a charity, or you'd like to leave it to someone in your extended family.

Changes Occurred and It's Time to Write a Will Again

If you've had any changes in your life, consider how your will stands up and what you'd like to do to amend it. Changing a will typically occur with the addition or departure of friends or family members from your life.

But it can also occur when you acquire wealth and want to make plans for how that money gets spent.

This includes situations such as:

  • Winning the lottery
  • Getting a large inheritance from family members
  • Winning a lawsuit

When one of these instances occur and you expect to have a large amount of money left over, it's time to think about how you'd like to handle it should the situation arise. Sit down with an attorney and make time to plan out your last will and testament.

You'll feel confident about having the money go to the correct channels and know that if there was anything you had planned, your will helps to carry those wishes out. While having an unexpected windfall is a good thing, making plans on what gets done with it after you pass is just as important.

You've Had a Near-Death Experience

A near-death experience is a scary but real reminder that our time on earth is limited. If you've had one, you're no doubt thankful you're alive and still with your friends and family.

If you've gotten through this experience, you're no doubt thinking about how to handle a situation should something like this occur again. If you didn't have a will and other stipulations in place, now is the time to handle that.

Preparing your estate is an important function many people overlook when they're younger or if they haven't had any experiences that bring them to the brink of passing.

Now is the time to think about:

  • What assets you have now
  • Who gets what
  • If there's anything you want someone specific to have
  • How to plan for medical needs, if your near-death experience relates to that
  • Using life insurance as part of your succession plan

Having your wishes down on paper not only makes sense, it gives you security and peace of mind. You can feel confident that if something happens, everything is planned out and you won't feel the burden of wondering how to manage things when you become too far gone to do so.

You Don't Want Fighting Among Family Members

When a family member passes, fighting and other problems are something that occurs in a bid to lay claim to the money, possessions, property, and even pets. Even if you don't have a lot of items or goods to give others, it can still cause problems when there's no will in place.

In some cases, family members simply take what they want without telling anyone else. In others, individuals fight and try to claim what is theirs without telling anyone else.

In the worst case scenarios, this can go to probate court with no will in place. Items and money get split evenly, but if you wanted to leave something specific to a certain person, there's no promise that this happens the way you want it.

In order to avoid the issues that come with family and friends fighting over who should get what, it's better to have a will in place. You'll rest assured that anything of value you have goes to the person intended and keep family affairs from blowing up.

You Want a Specific Amount to Go to Charity

If there is a charity that's near and dear to your heart, you no doubt want to leave something to it when you pass on. Gifts for charity after passing can get viewed as a final act of love after you've left the world, supporting a cause that you always believed in.

This can range from anything, from animals, the environment, children, or a scholarship fund from the college you graduated from. If it's a cause you've supported your whole life and you want to encourage other people to do the same, this is the perfect time to do so.

In your will, you can state if you'd like donations to your charity in lieu of flowers. If you have a certain amount of money that you don't plan on using and there's no one you want to give it to, you can request the charity gets it instead.

By outlining your plans for your money and what charity you want it to go to, you'll know that your final wishes get carried out and it won't get divided among friends or family members. This makes things easier not only for you, but also for your executor and everyone else in your family who now has a clear vision for your plan.

Your last wishes might even inspire family members to get involved with the charity, as a way to honor your memory.

You're Concerned About Being in a Vegetative State

If you have an illness that's expected to take over your ability to think clearly, or you worry about this possibility happening, make sure you outline not only a plan in your will but also have a power of attorney and a personal directive "living will" set up. A power of attorney allows another individual to act on your behalf and make choices for you.

This ranges from deciding how long to keep you on life support, to making out checks and signing them on your behalf if you can no longer do banking. Having a power of attorney is a serious matter and not one to take lightly.

Your will can outline if you want anything extra to go to the person who has taken on these duties, and what your plans are for your finances. A power of attorney is helpful since you can keep this person up-to-date on your will, and let them know how you'd like things handled.

Many people make the person who has power of attorney their executor, but it's not a requirement.

The important thing is that you're aware of what can happen should you fall into a vegetative state, and you have someone to help you.

Learn More About Reasons to Have a Will

If you don't have a will set up already, it's important to get started now. Many people put off the process, thinking that planning a will is too difficult. If you have any questions about using your Will as as part of your Estate Planning tools; or for any questions regarding Probate Law, please understand that you do not have to go through this process alone. Contact us, and see how we can help you make the process understandable and easy to handle. We have helped 1000's of people just like you.

Top 10 Reasons to Hire an Edmonton Corporate Lawyer

Top 10 Reasons to Hire an Edmonton Corporate Lawyer

Hire a Corporate Lawyer
Are you on the fence about whether or not you should hire a corporate lawyer in Edmonton, Canada? Read on to learn why you should hire a corporate lawyer.

When most people launch a business they focus on the financial, marketing, and staffing matters first. Hiring a corporate lawyer is often last on the to-do list.

In fact, most businesses don't hire a lawyer until after they have a problem. That's not smart. Shrewd business planning means consulting a lawyer to identify potential problems. A good corporate lawyer helps you avoid problems before they occur.

Dealing with legal issues is expensive and frustrating. Business owners can't expect to be familiar with every law that applies to Edmonton companies. That's why the most astute business owners get competent legal advice.

Legal problems can show up in any size business. Keep reading to learn why you a lawyer for business dealings like contracts, partnerships, and employment is so important.

When Should You Hire a Corporate Lawyer?

The simple answer is you should hire a lawyer before you need one. Corporate attorneys know how to help clients prevent problems, and maintain their legal affairs.

When you hire an attorney after a disaster, the lawyer spends valuable time and resources getting up to speed on your company's situation. They have to review company history and business practices. They must question and understand everything before they can guide you.

A lawyer hired at launch, or long before the crisis already knows your business. An attorney who is familiar with how the company works, and what's at stake can act immediately. There won't be a delay, or added expense before the issues are addressed.

Small business owners hire professional accountants and insurance agents without pause. You should hire your corporate attorney the same way. Set up a relationship so you are both ready if you need consultation or representation.

If you're still unsure, here are ten reasons for hiring an attorney for your business.

1. Protect Against Lawsuits

If you hire an attorney after you've been sued, it's probably too late. At that point, a good attorney may get the charges reduced, but they can't get rid of them.

If you're proactive and put your business affairs in proper legal order at the outset, you may avoid the lawsuit.

A corporate lawyer tries to preempt problems by including protections in the client's legal documents. For example, a well-defined agreement has clear information on everyone's rights and responsibilities. It addresses issues that may occur if something goes wrong.

2. Mitigate Damages

If you find yourself in a personal injury case a lawyer can help mitigate the damages. It may be an employee or a customer who files the lawsuit.

Either way, the lawyer needs complete honesty from you so he can get the best result. If the employee or customer was hurt due to your actions, say so. It's better for your lawyer to learn the details from you so he can prepare your case.

3. Draft and Negotiate Contracts

Doing businesses means entering into contracts. When a customer, employee or supplier requires a contract, ask your lawyer for advice on legalities. A lawyer knows the legal ins and outs and can review a contract to be sure your business is safe.

It's easy to miss important points that could cause trouble later. One example of this is signing a contract that doesn't have a dispute clause. Without a dispute clause, your business could end up in a lawsuit. The dispute clause allows for mediation as a way to solve the issue.

What if you have an executed contract, but the other party breached it? Your attorney can explain your legal options and responsibilities.

Experienced corporate lawyers draft and negotiate all kinds of contracts. Here are just a few examples:

Sales Contracts

  • Bill of Sale
  • Sales Agreement
  • Purchase Order or Offer
  • Warranty
  • Limited Warranty
  • Security Agreement Between Lender and Borrower

Employment Contracts

  • Contract for Employment
  • Noncompete Agreement
  • Independent Contractor
  • Consultant Agreement
  • Distributor Agreement
  • Sales Representative Contract
  • Confidentiality Agreement
  • Nondisclosure Agreement, Reciprocal Nondisclosure Agreement
  • Agreement for Employment Separation

Leases

  • Lease for Real Property
  • Equipment Lease

General Business Contracts

  • Franchise Agreement
  • Advertising Agency Agreement
  • Indemnity Agreement
  • Covenant Not to Sue
  • Settlement Agreement to End Lawsuit
  • Release from Liability
  • Transfer Assignment of Contract
  • Stock Purchase Agreement
  • Shareholders Agreement
  • Partnership Agreement
  • Joint Venture Agreement
  • Agreement to Sell Business

In most cases, a corporate lawyer generalist can create your contracts. If the situation calls for a specialist, your lawyer can help you make that decision. That's another reason to have a strong attorney relationship in place.

4. Incorporate a Business

There's more to incorporating your business than paying a fee. You need a legal pro to help you navigate the process so you get through it without complications. If you're not familiar with all the legalities, a corporate lawyer can guide you. The first step is to decide if the business is a sole proprietorship, a partnership, a Limited Liability Corporation, nonprofit or corporation.

The type of business structure you choose determines your exposure to legalities like liability, tax obligations, setup fees, and other expenses. It also affects how you can legally fund your company.

A consultation with an experienced corporate lawyer is vital for making the best decisions as you start your business. The attorney can help with documents as well as decisions.

5. Local, Province, and Federal Compliance

The government in Canada, Alberta, and Edmonton all have laws and regulations. Rules can differ between provinces. That's why its essential you consult with a lawyer who knows how to comply with the law.

If any government entity investigates or files suit against your business, you need an attorney. The cause for an investigation varies.

It may be a labor investigation due to an employee complaint. Or, perhaps there's a tax dispute. Your attorney can direct you on the best way to deal with any legal issues.

You're probably aware that province and federal laws each have their own procedures. Each government has rules on construction, taxes, and more.

There are additional regulations when your business has dealings across the country and overseas. You need legal expertise to guarantee your company follows necessary rules and regulations.

You may feel comfortable researching regulations on your own, but it will take valuable time and effort away from your work. A lawyer knows the law.

Hiring one at the start saves money in the form of time and potential legal problems. A corporate lawyer makes sure you are in compliance at every level of government.

6. Employee Concerns and Issues

Unfortunately, employee-related issues are a major factor in any business. If a situation goes sideways you'll be short on money and help. But, if you have an attorney versed in employment issues, you can resolve problems faster.

The place to start is with your hiring processes. A lawyer can help you avoid employment-related issues in several ways.

  • Facilitate hiring
  • Administer worker's compensation
  • Draft employment agreements
  • Employee dismissals with no legal repercussions

No company wants an employee lawsuit. If you have a lawyer on retainer you can reduce the risk.

Consult your lawyer when deciding whether to hire someone as an employee or an independent contractor. There are specific legal requirements for both. An experienced attorney knows how to stay in compliance with employment laws.

If you hire an independent contractor, your lawyer can draft an agreement that suits your company. If you use an existing contract, ask the lawyer to review it before anyone signs it.

Always consult an attorney before hiring or firing employees. You don't want to put your company, or yourself, at risk for a discrimination complaint. A lawyer advises on what you can and can't ask during an interview.

He also protects your interests if you face an employee lawsuit.

7. Filing a Patent

Have you designed a new product or service? If so, you must file for a patent to protect your interests.

Patents are time-consuming. Sometimes they're hard to get approved in a timely manner without a lawyer's help. If your corporate lawyer isn't familiar with patents, get a referral for a specialist.

An experienced patent attorney knows the ins and outs of the process. A lawyer with patent experience can help you get your patent in a reasonable amount of time.

8. Purchase or Sale of a Business

Legal issues arise with both buying and selling a business. It's more complicated than other everyday purchases. It's smart to have an attorney involved. A lawyer can help with valuation of the business.

If you need agreements, permit transfers and licenses a lawyer can handle it. An experienced corporate lawyer can help you get the most value from the transaction.

An attorney is useful during the sale. He can monitor proper stock transfers, vet buyers, and help to negotiate the deal. A corporate lawyer works to get the most value for your money when you're the buyer.

9. Environmental Issues

Environmental issues are a big deal. Federal compliance standards are part of society working to save the environment. If you aren't aware of regulations your company could find itself in the middle of a lawsuit. Or worse, you could face a federal complaint.

A business lawyer knows the issues on a local and federal level. He can help your company stay compliant so you avoid issues before they happen.

If an environmental issue arises and you don't have an attorney, consult one right away. Issues can come from manufacturing, emissions, developing raw materials, or waste disposal.

There are other ways you can encounter environmental issues. You may buy land and learn later that it has hazardous waste beneath the surface.

You'll need an attorney to sue the seller for not disclosing it. The attorney will pursue your case so the seller pays for cleanup costs.

It's important to note that engaging a lawyer before the purchase may have exposed the problem. You could have walked away from the deal, or made the sale contingent on an environmental cleanup.

Either way, a corporate lawyer can save you time, money, and frustration.

10. Business Structure

Beyond incorporating your business, you'll need a legal education on:

  • Setup costs
  • Tax obligations
  • Continuing expenses
  • Potential liabilities
  • Employee concerns

Legal documents aren't a DIY project. Sure, it's tempting to handle legal aspects on your own. Yet, it won't save you money if you don't fully understand what you're doing.

In fact, trying to save money could end up costing a lot more in the form of a lawsuit or penalty. Consult a lawyer to structure your business properly and avoid legal problems.

You'll be glad you can focus on your company instead of a court case. Let your attorney create and file all the documents required for your business.

Hire a Corporate Attorney Before You Need One

A good corporate attorney is a valuable asset to every business. If you haven't hired an attorney yet, consider it now. It's never to early to build a relationship with your lawyer so he's ready to assist when you need legal help.

Remember, corporate law is complicated. Navigating corporate law requires a well-trained and experienced professional. You need a team to guide your company through any and every potential legal ramification.

When you take proactive action towards potential problems, often you can avoid them.

Don't wait to hire an attorney until you have a legal problem. Find the best lawyer for your situation. Study their website, review testimonials, and ask friends and family for referrals.

If you need a corporate lawyer, contact the team at Verhaeghe Law Office in Edmonton. Our lawyers have years of experience in corporate law for both small and medium size businesses. From Federal Incorporation to Provincial Incorporation to Succession Planning to Builders Liens to contract review and drafting, with few exceptions, we can handle pretty much anything that comes our way. We look forward meeting with you and becoming your corporate lawyers. As an added bonus, when we become the registered office for your corporation, we will not charge for any personal guarantees, notary services or travel consent forms.

Probating an Estate? Understand the Duties of an Executor or Executrix

Probating an Estate? Understand the Duties of an Executor or Executrix

Duties of an Executor
Probating an estate can be a long, arduous task when it's not in the right hands. Understand the duties of an executor or executrix and what role they will take throughout the process.

It's difficult enough to handle the death of a loved one but when you're named the executor of the estate in the Last Will and Testament, it gets even more complicated. Your will often hear two phrases in Wills and Estates Law:

i. Testate; and;

ii. Intestate.

Testate is when someone dies and there is a Last Will and Testament. A probate lawyer, working with the Executor or Executrix (also called the Personal Representative) will make an application for Letters of Probate to the Probate (Surrogate Court) under the Wills and Succession Act. The ultimate goal is to get an Order of Probate which will give a final determination that the Last Will and Testament is valid and most current will; it appoints the Executor/ Executrix (Personal Representative); and, it absolves them from liability once they have discharged their duties in liquidating and paying out the Estate to Creditors and Beneficiaries.

Intestate is when you die without a will and you leave a will behind. Instead of Letters of Probate, the Estate Lawyers will make an application with the Surrogate Court for Letters of Administration than name a Personal Representative for the Estate who carries out the same duties as an Executor.

There's a lot of work that goes into closing down the life of someone. Especially if they owned a lot of property, have many beneficiaries, or didn't bother to leave a will behind (Intestate).

And if you don't know what you're doing, it's going to take even longer.

To help you avoid costly mistakes, we're sharing with you information to make your job a little easier. Here is a guide to understanding the duties of an executor.

The Duties Of An Executor

The executor of estate is the individual usually named by the recently deceased to handle and oversee the probate process. Executrix of estate is an old-fashioned term to mean a woman is handling the probate process.

Sometimes the gender-neutral term "personal representative" is used rather than executor or executrix. This term is also used in circumstances where the deceased didn't leave a will.

The executor of estate is responsible for taking the will through probate, paying off all debts, gathering assets, and notifying beneficiaries of the process.

Let's go through the process together.

Gathering All The Documentation

What does an executor do first? They start by locating all necessary documentation in order to ensure the process goes as quickly and smoothly as possible.

Some people think that the estate attorney will have copies of this documentation at their office, but that's rarely the case. Instead, you're more likely to find all the necessary documentation somewhere in the home or in a safe deposit box of the recently deceased.

You'll need to locate their Last Will and Testament, any funeral, cremation, burial or memorial instructions, and/or a Revocable Living Trust. Most people store all these documents together in a safe place.

Once they're found, you can give them to an estate lawyer, preferably one experienced in the area of Probate Law. You can always hire the same attorney who created the documents in the first place.

Other Necessary Information To Gather

You'll need to find information about the decent's assets. This includes their bank and brokerage statements, any stocks and bond certificates, life insurance policies, titles to boats and/or cars, corporate records, and any deeds.

Then you'll need to gather information regarding their debts. This includes any credit card bills, utility bills, mortgages, personal loans, medical bills, and even the bill for the funeral.

If it's not already available, make a list of what the deceased person owed versus what they owned. Look to see how each asset is titled. You can find a title in their individual name, as a tenant in common, in a trust, or in joint names.

You'll also have to gather the prior three years of their income tax returns to save. The IRS can still perform an audit even after someone has passed away.

Heading To Probate Court

After the executor of estate has organized all the paperwork, it's time to head to probate court. In Alberta, the proper title for probate court is the surrogate court or more properly the Surrogate Division of the Court of Queen's Bench of Alberta.

If you haven't already, hire an estate attorney to act on your behalf in probate court. It's too complicated to handle on your own.

The attorney will make the application with the probate court.

Once there is enough information to draft the court documents required to open the probate estate, you'll be named executor of estate. You'll then be required to review and sign certain documents to open the probate estate.

You'll first have to sign an Application for Probate Administration. Then you'll sign the Oath and Acceptance of Executor/Personal Representative.

Other documents you'll typically sign are:

  • Appointment of Resident Agent
  • Joinders, Waivers, and Consents
  • Petition to Waive Bond
  • Order Admitting Will to Probate
  • Order Appointing Personal Representative/Executor
  • Order Waiving Bond
  • Letters of Administration/Letters Testamentary

Once the probate estate is opened with the probate court, the Executor of estate must establish date of death values for all of the decedent's assets. The executor must also make a notification of death.

Keep in mind that depending on how intricate the will was (or if there was no will found), probate court can take anywhere from a few weeks to years before any next steps can be taken.

Especially if someone chooses to contest the will.

Making Notifications Of Death

As executor of estate, it's your duty to make all necessary notifications of the death. That includes any beneficiaries who aren't already aware.

Sometimes, this is a formal process if the will is complicated. In other cases, it's as simple as making some phone calls and writing a few e-mails and/or letters.

At this point, it makes sense to start terminating certain services that the decedent had such as their magazine subscriptions, certain utilities, and any credit cards that have no balance on them.

For any creditors who are still owed a balance, you'll have to contact them to make arrangements to pay them in a timely manner. Many states also require that a newspaper notice is placed to alert any creditors you may have missed.

Again, if you refuse to pay creditors in a timely manner, they can make a claim against the estate for payment. If you feel that a claim isn't valid, you can decline payment.

However, in many provines, a creditor is allowed to petition the court to override the executor of estate's decision. If this happens, you're usually required to appear in court to defend your position.

It's recommended that you find a way to amicably settle all debts to avoid having to head to court.

How To Value The Decedent's Assets

Now that the probate estate is open with the probate court, it's now time to establish date of death values for all the decedent's assets.

It's an important step since most states require that an inventory of the probate assets and their date of death values must be filed with probate court within 30-90 days after opening the probate estate with the court.

It's now time to locate and contact all financial institutions to obtain the date of death values. You'll have to hire a professional appraiser to assess the value of any real estate and personal effects like jewelry, collectibles, artwork, and closely held businesses.

Keep in mind that probate court only requires date of death values to be listed on the estate inventory. However, if any of the estate is taxable for federal and/or state death tax purposes, you'll need those death values established for their nonprobate assets as well.

Non-probate assets include anything owned though joint ownership with survivorship rights such as a house with joint tenant owners or bank accounts in two or more names. Also included are retirement accounts such as R.R.S.P.'s with beneficiary, along with annuities, certain G.I.C.'s and life insurance.

After the date of death values are determined for all assets, the next step is to pay their final bills and any ongoing expenses of administering the estate.

Paying The Final Bills

One of the duties of an executor is to pay the final bills of the decedent. You'll also have to pay any ongoing expenses incurred to administer the estate.

That might mean paying the appraiser, a professional organizer, the attorney, and the accountant. If you find that there isn't enough cash to pay their expenses and taxes, this is the time to evaluate whether you can sell any of their assets to raise funds for payment.

It's your job as executor of estate to determine what bills were owed at the time of death. If they are legitimate, you'll have to pay the bills. If you don't, those creditors can contact the courts and sue the estate for lack of payment.

Keep in mind, not all bills are final at this point. Some bills, such as certain utilities and legal fees, rent or mortgage payments are ongoing until everything is finalized.

After you've paid the final bills and all estate expenses are under control, you'll have to pay any income and death taxes that are owed.

Pay Their Taxes

As Ben Franklin once wrote, "Nothing is certain except for death and taxes." Even if the person passed away early in the year, you are still responsible for paying their taxes that year.

As the Personal Representative of estate, it's your responsibility to prepare and file the deceased's final federal income tax returns. You'll also have to pay their taxes in a timely manner.

The estate will need to file taxes for every year the state is open, when closing the Estate, the Personal Representative will need to apply for a Final tax Return obtain a Tax Clearance Certificate from the C.R.A.

And if the estate earns any income while you're in the process of administering everything, as the executor of estate, it's your responsibility to prepare and file all required federal estate income tax returns (IRS Form 1041) along with any required state estate income tax returns.

You'll have to prepare and file IRS Form 706 if the estate is taxable for federal and/or state estate tax purposes. And you may also have to file and prepare an inheritance return.

In Alberta, there are no Estate Taxes payable. Once you've handled their tax issues, your next step is to make distributions to the beneficiaries.

How To Manage The Distributions To All Beneficiaries

One of the duties of an executor is to ensure all beneficiaries receive their assets. By this point, you may have some beneficiaries wondering why everything is taking so long.

But before the beneficiaries get paid, everyone else gets paid first. Meaning, all taxes and any expenses related to the estate get first priority. The beneficiaries only are entitled to whatever is leftover.

Be aware that if you choose to pay beneficiaries too early and unexpected expenses arise after the distribution, it's your own personal responsibility to pay those expenses out of your own pocket.

For any estates where the administration is expected to take longer than a year, it's recommended the executor of estate work closely with the estate attorney and the accountant to set aside enough assets for ongoing estate expenses.

That way, you can also make the distribution to the beneficiaries in multiple stages without having to dig into your own pocket.

Paying The Executor

Now that the question, what does an executor do has been answered, you're probably realizing how much time and effort are involved in this process.

You might even feel that you should be paid for your efforts. Luckily, you will be. But how much you are paid depends on which state the decedent passed and where the will is probated.

Often, there is a provision included in the will to ensure the executrix of estate is paid. Unless the provision isn't too over-the-top, the courts are happy to honor the provision (usually 1-4% of the gross value of the Estate for every year that it is open).

Many executors choose to waive payment if they're closely related to the deceased and are already a beneficiary in the will. This is especially true in cases where the will isn't complicated.

For those who do accept payment as the executrix of the estate, your payment comes out of the estate and decreases the amount left over for the beneficiaries.

Keep in mind, if you do accept payment, it is taxable whereas cash inheritances typically are not taxable. Most executors realize they stand to inherit more money that's not taxable if they forego payment.

Work With Us

As you can see, probating an estate isn't easy. The duties of an executor are long, complicated, and stressful.

Many people feel they can save more money by not working with Probate Lawyers. Others feel lawyers are more interested in making money than making a difference.

Which is why it's so important to hire the right law firm. We pride ourselves on our relationships with our clients. Keep reading to learn how our clients feel about our services. Over the last 60+ years, our firms has probated 1000s of Estates from as low as $25,000.00 to as much as several million dollars. We do offer a free initial consult to review your paperwork and to point you in the right direction. We are here to help people just like you.

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Probate Lawyer in Canada

Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Probate Lawyer in Canada

Hire a Probate Lawyer
Estate planning is an important process to be carefully considered. Learn how to make an informed decision with our helpful tips on hiring a probate lawyer.

Have you been appointed as the administrator of a deceased loved one's estate? Are you considering hiring a probate lawyer?

Probate of an estate is the process of declaring the will of the deceased person to be valid and accurate and distributing their belongings. This makes the will officially the final say and will of the deceased person.

The result of this process is that the deceased's executor or administrator is granted control of the assets. It is subsequently the expectation that the executor will distribute the assets to the heirs, as they are listed in the final will.

It might not sound so complicated at this stage, but trust us it's really complex.

It's also a huge responsibility for one person to undertake. After all, the consequences of error could result in a personal liability for the executor. This could end up with an exhausting and stressful court case.

That's why many administrators conclude that they need to hire the services of a probate attorney to help you through the probating of the estate. Keep reading to find out the top 10 reasons to hire a probate lawyer in Canada.

Why Hire A Probate Lawyer?

Probating an estate is a complicated and difficult process. As the executor, you could be expected to take on a range of responsibilities and duties related to the managing the estate and distributing it.

Without the assistance of a probate lawyer, you could tie yourself in knots and get very confused. It's simply not worth risking making a mistake. After all, even the slightest error could have grave consequences.

While being an executor named in the will involves a great deal of pressure and responsibility. Not to mention the emotional difficulty of recently losing a loved one. You don't want the legal problems that go with this if you make mistakes.

That's why hiring a probate lawyer can reduce the stress and risk of errors. With the help of a professional and experienced attorney, you could find that the whole process goes much quicker as a result. Find out more about our legal resources, on our website.

it's important to remember that the cost of hiring a probate attorney doesn't lie with you as the executor. But rather, the estate pays for any services or expenses involved in probating the estate.

Finally, not all Wills are probated. For example, if there is a jointly owned asset, such as a house or bank account, most likely (almost always) that asset will pass to the surviving owner. The same with an asset with a named beneficiary, such as a life insurance policy or R.R.S.P.; these assets will pass to the Beneficiary outside the estate; which negates the need to probate and estate if these are the only assets. Another important consideration are creditors. If a person owes money when the die -and- the only assets are those with a named beneficiary; it is most likely that unsecured creditors will not be able to seize these proceeds.

Let's take a closer look at the top 10 reasons to hire a probate lawyer in Canada.

1. Avoid Any Conflict

Probating an estate without the assistance of a probate lawyer can increase the probability of conflict within the family.

As a report for CBC warns, there is always a risk of tension between family members with any transfer of wealth. This can further intensify without legal assistance.

Plus, it's perfectly reasonable that people who are associated with the deceased would want to be included in the probating process.

However, if anyone other than the executor and probate lawyer become involved in the probate process, this could cause confusion and anger for many other members of the family and named heirs in the will.

That's why it's best to eliminate the chances of any conflict arising in the family. With the help of a lawyer, there will be greater clarity in the probating process. This also reduces the probability of misunderstandings.

And finally, by hiring a probate lawyer, you as the executor demonstrate to everyone that you are handling the estate planning process appropriately.

2. Speed Up Access to the Estate

You might be surprised to find out that the executor of the will doesn't get access to the estate straight away. This is only achieved after the probating of the estate.

But the problem is that this can take quite a long time. The time it takes mostly depends on the size and complexity of the estate. For instance, if the deceased only owned one bank account and one property it could be relatively quick. However, it is often much more complicated than this.

Even the shortest period of time you can go through the probate process is approximately three months. However, in many circumstances, it takes over a year to probate an estate.

This not only means that the executor doesn't get access to the property, but also the life insurance policy, investments and bank accounts.

However, with the help of a probate attorney, you can hasten the process. This way the executor can gain access to the estate much faster, which means the distribution of the assets is completed much earlier than without any legal assistance.

3. Avoid Any Claims Against the Estate

There are many famous claims against estates that feature in the news, but this happens to ordinary people as well.

There are many different circumstances in which there are claims against the estate. For example, it's not uncommon for someone to claim that they should be mentioned in the estate when they're not.

Or, it could be that one of the beneficiaries claims that the estate is not being distributed fairly in accordance with the will of the deceased.

If the deceased has outstanding debts, this might also result in a claim against the estate.

However, many of these problems can be avoided or mitigated by hiring a probate lawyer. This is because this removes any feeling that individual members of the family are able to gain unfairly in the estate planning process.

4. Avoid Rejection by the Court

When probating an estate, the court requires certain legal documents to be completed and submitted. These legal documents require specific information that has to be set out in a particular way. If any mistakes are made in this process, this could cause the court to reject the estate.

But if you hire a probate lawyer to assist you with completing and submitting these documents to the courts, you could save yourself the risk of being rejected. With the correct and timely submission of the legal documents, you'll avoid wasting time doing it again.

After all, the court will keep rejecting your legal documents until they are right. If it takes you four and five times, so be it. But you can make sure it's done correctly and efficiently with the help of a lawyer.

5. Get Responses to Any Questions

Being the executor of the will is not something that many people experience many times in their life. Therefore, it's perfectly normal to have endless questions about the probating and estate planning process.

This could range from anything from - does every asset need require probate or just some? - to - Who pays the outstanding debts and bills of the deceased?

Many of these questions can be quite stressful and risky if left unanswered. You might be having sleepless nights wondering whether you have notified everyone who needs to know about the passing away of the deceased person.

You can make sure that you are well-informed and supported by hiring a probate lawyer to answer any question you have - no matter how big or small.

6. Identify Potential Financial Problems

As the executor, you're expected to take responsibility for any outstanding debts and any other expenses required in the probate and estate planning process.

Handling their own finances is probably enough trouble for many people. Taking care of someone else's is extremely time-consuming and difficult on your own.

Whether it's the unpaid income tax, general funeral expenses or personal loan payments, there are many potential financial problems that can arise after the death of a loved one. But it's difficult to find out about them and to address them.

Every deceased person's financial situation is different. And therefore, the obstacles and problems are always different.

Debt and loans are especially confusing and problematic. They can be handled most effectively with the legal advice of a probate lawyer.

7. Deal with Finances Correctly

After identifying the financial problems, such as unpaid loans, it's time to deal with them. But without the legal assistance of a probate lawyer, there's always the risk of over or underpaying.

The other problem that you might encounter as the executor of the will is the requirement to notify any creditors of the deceased. It is usually required to present a death certificate along with other legal documents to the creditors.

There are many potential pitfalls when it comes to handling the finances of the deceased person. But you can easily overcome many of these with the aid of a probate lawyer.

This way you can make sure you're completely on top of any financial issues so that you don't make any mistakes in such a sensitive area.

8. No Probate Lawsuits

There are often reports of disputes and tensions among family members over the details of the will of the deceased person. The worst case scenario is that this disagreement results in a family probate lawsuit.

This is definitely something you want to avoid. After all, any estate lawsuit is always going to take time and money. But there is also the emotional cost of damaging family ties.

Therefore, by hiring a probate lawyer, you can significantly reduce the probability of a lawsuit going to court.

9. Support the Executor

Being the executor of the estate is a huge responsibility. There are many things to consider and take into account as the executor. There is also a variety of different tasks to carry out, which partly depends on the specific circumstances of the estate of the deceased.

The executor has to read the will, get in touch with all of the beneficiaries and mediate disputes between people in the family. But these are only the primary tasks of the executor. There are also minor responsibilities from tying up loose ends to informing people of their loved one's death.

It is in the middle of this huge workload that the support of a probate lawyer is invaluable. Not only can they offer you support with the everyday responsibilities, but they will also use their experience to guide along the way.

10. No Delays

There are a whole bunch of possible delays that could prevent the executor from carrying out his/her responsibilities.

This is especially the case if the will has not been validated. If this happens, it's possible for the deceased's bank to deny any access to the executor. This can result in substantial delays to the whole process.

You can have peace of mind by hiring a probate lawyer to contact banks, local authorities and other third parties. With experience and knowledge of how to handle such matters, they are likely to avoid any unnecessary delays in the process.

Although it's true that you can probate the estate by yourself, this poses a significant risk of delays. By hiring a lawyer, you can ensure that everything is taken care of and that all the beneficiaries receive their assets in a timely matter.

Hire a Probate Lawyer

As the executor, you don't have to leave yourself with all of the responsibility of probating the estate. There are many legal pitfalls that you can into that can result in litigation against you.

To avoid any of the legal issues and get the support you need for the estate planning, hire a probate lawyer.

With an experienced lawyer by your side, you'll be able to ask any questions you have along the way. We have probated 1000's of estates; and, just as important have walked 1000's more through the process of avoiding the expensive cost of probate. We do offer free reviews of these types of situations to help you determine if probate is required or not.

If you need a lawyer, don't wait until it's an emergency. If you have any questions about the probating process or the validation of a Will, head to our contact page to start a conversation with us or call us on (587) 410-2500 today.

12 Things to Know Before Filing a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

12 Things to Know Before Filing a Sexual Harassment Lawsuit

Harassment Lawsuit
Deciding to file a sexual harassment lawsuit is a big decision and we're here to help. Read on to learn 12 things to know before filing a harassment lawsuit.

Sexual harassment may make you feel like you're alone, but unfortunately, it's more common than you might believe.

Maybe it's because so many people internalize their feelings when they experience it. After all, we're taught by society to believe that harassment is a misfortune - it's not as bad as stalking or assault. So why talk about something that's "not that bad"?

You don't need to live with sexual harassment. No one does. This isn't just our opinion - Canada considers protection against harassment to be a human rights issue.

It's your right as a human being to live and work in a space where you're not the victim of sexually charged comments, inappropriate behaviors, or retaliation for choosing not to respond to another person's advances.

Because Canada believes in equality for all Canadians when it comes to sexual harassment, it's easier to file a harassment lawsuit to remedy your issues.

We understand that filing a harassment lawsuit may still sound scary, so we've put together a list of 12 things to learn before you start the process.

1. Identify Whether Your Treatment Is Harassment

The Alberta Human Rights Commission provides a list of examples of potential harassment. The list isn't exhaustive, but it should help you determine whether what you're experiencing is gender-based harassment.

Perhaps you identify with one of these behaviors:

Sexual harassment can be expressed in many ways, from very subtle to very obvious, through any of the following:

  • suggestive remarks, sexual jokes or compromising invitations;
  • verbal abuse;
  • visual display of suggestive sexual images;
  • leering or whistling;
  • patting, rubbing or other unwanted physical contact;
  • outright demands for sexual favours; and
  • physical assault.

This list is by no means exhaustive. Additionally, it also only includes verbal harassment. Harassment can also take place physically.

If you're unsure whether the treatment you've received counts as harassment, speak to a member of your company's HR team or consult a lawyer.

2. Remember: Harassment Is Rarely About Desire

One of the most common misconceptions about sexual harassment is that it's related to sexual desire.

Very often, sexual harassment has little to do with desire but often more with sexual power. In many cases, harassment is more related to hostility or rejection.

For example, a co-worker may demand a hug from you not because they believe you need a hug or they don't understand you don't want a hug but as a display of power and hostility based on their conceptions of your gender.

In other words, they don't do it to be close to you but to intimidate you.

In a study published in 2017, researchers were inspired to learn more about what sexual harassment says about harassers.

Previous research showed that people believe more people - including subordinates at work - are interested in them when they are interested in casual sex.

However, the most recent study showed that people tend to engage in harassing behaviors more when they were feeling low already. Both men and women were more likely to harass others when they experienced feelings of powerlessness or a loss of power before experiencing heightened power.

For example, a person who suffers under a bad manager for years only to see their manager fired and themselves replacing them. While the person in this scenario won't always become a harasser, they're more likely to become one compared to those in other situations.

The psychological insecurity drives people to abuse their influence to compensate for inadequacies and enjoy a sexual advantage.

Other examples of this power shift abound. For example, parents feeling powerless over their lives are more likely to abuse their children physically. Men who've performed poorly in video games are more likely to harass women during gameplay sexually.

3. Sometimes Once Is Enough

Sexual harassment must take place more than once for it to violate the law and your human rights. However, not every form of harassment needs to happen more than once.

Some events are so egregious that once is enough to report it and file a sexual harassment lawsuit.

It doesn't matter whether it's happened once or twice or it's happening to someone else - reporting it is often the only way to change the behavior. The next few steps will guide you through the process.

4. Start by Talking to the Harasser

The first step to take is to speak to your harasser yourself - if this is an option for you. In some cases, informing the harasser that their treatment of you not only makes you uncomfortable but constitutes sexual harassment, they may change their behavior.

It's not always possible to talk to your harasser about the issue. If you believe this to be the case, then it may be time to escalate the problem and get others involved.

5. Inform Trusted Members of Management

If you have reason to believe speaking to the person yourself is either dangerous or confronting them will only make the problem worse, then move up the chain. Tell someone else, such as a manager or supervisor or the HR department.

You should also follow this course of action if you were able to talk to the person, but their behavior hasn't changed.

Your workplace is required by law to have a procedure for dealing with sexual harassment in the workplace if there are six or more employees.

The law that governs sexual harassment in the workplace - the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) - also states that employers must have a plan for how the procedure should work and how the complaint will be dealt with

Even if your supervisor isn't aware of the finer details, they can pull it from company records to become up-to-date.

6. Know That Your Harassment Counts

Unfortunately, even in today's world, many people are unsure of whether the treatment their subjected to counts as harassment.

Often, it's because few of us encounter a legal or formal definition of sexual harassment before we experience this harmful behavior. However, the confusion is often stoked by the way society treats victims of harassment.

You may have heard things like:

"Oh, he doesn't mean it."

"They're just being friendly."

"Don't take it personally - they do this to everyone."

These are mere excuses for poor or illegal behavior. They're intended to explain the harassers' actions away, but they don't mean that what you're experiencing isn't real or very wrong.

Remember, sexual harassment is a violation of your human rights.

The Supreme Court of Canada considers harassment to be:

"unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that detrimentally affects the work environment or leads to adverse job-related consequences for the victims of harassment."

7. Sexual Harassment Laws In Canada Have Evolved

Canadian law on sexual harassment has evolved significantly over the past 15 years.

While these cases were previously dismissed and tossed aside, they are taken seriously today.

What does that mean for you? If you've been through this before - know that times have changed. If an older, trusted person who has also been there tells you that nothing will come of your complaint, know that laws have changed.

Here are a few things that have changed since the 1980s:

  • The definition of harassment is now more specific
  • Harassment is now considered a form of sex discrimination
  • Arbitration is now similar to human rights tribunals
  • Sexual harassment is recognized when it isn't of a sexual nature
  • 'Sexual banter' now counts as harassment in some circumstances

The seriousness of your case isn't just a reflection of this moment in history: it's enshrined in various Canadian laws.

8. The Harassment Doesn't Have to Be Sexual

Sometimes, sexual harassment occurs in a form that doesn't consist of rude or inappropriate comments or requests.

Sexual harassment has several forms, and it's different to being poorly treated.

So, what's the difference between being treated poorly and being sexually harassed?

It depends on your relationship with the harasser. Here's an example:

Perhaps you previously had a romantic or sexual relationship with a colleague. As many relationships do, yours came to an end - mutually or otherwise. If your colleague retaliates against you because your relationship is over, then it may count as sexual harassment.

For example, if you carried out a relationship with a manager, and now they make a point of verbally criticizing you - both personally and professionally - in front of your colleagues, then it may be sexual harassment. It is harassment if the person does so because your relationship ended.

However, a relationship did not need to occur for harassment to count. If a co-worker asked you out on several dates or to spend time with them - and you refused or then refused their advances once with them - and they then retaliate at work, it may constitute sexual harassment.

It's important to remember: a person doesn't need to make unwanted sexual advances to sexually harass you. Punishing you for refusing their advances or ending a sexual relationship is also sexual harassment - and it's wrong.

9. Sexual Harassment Is a Violation of Human Rights

The Ontario Humans Rights Code considers sexual harassment to be a violation of human rights in Sections 7.1 and 7.2. Whether you're working or looking for an apartment, it's a violation of the Ontario Human Rights Code for someone to harass you.

Section 7.1 says:

"Every person who occupies accommodation has a right to freedom from harassment because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression by the landlord or agent of the landlord or by an occupant of the same building."

Section 7.2 says

"Every person who is an employee has a right to freedom from harassment in the workplace because of sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression by his or her employer or agent of the employer or by another employee.

10. Sexual Harassment Is Part of a Culture

Although Canada has progressive policies on sexual harassment, policy alone won't stop it from happening. It's not enough to allow victims of harassment to pursue remedies as a result of their treatment.

Sexual harassment in the workplace will only stop when our culture no longer allows it.

By reporting your harassment through a harassment lawsuit, you're standing up for victims everywhere.

We understand that the damage has already been done - you've already suffered. However, these lawsuits and complaints are necessary because they remind everyone going through it that it's not okay - its part of a broken cultural system.

11. Employers Should Prevent It - Not Just Punish It

Because sexual harassment is part of a culture, it's essential to work together to prevent it before it wreaks emotional havoc and undue suffering on innocent parties

Your organization should be committed to a culture that emphasizes respect for everyone and the inclusion of women.

Working towards that end doesn't just create a workplace where women (and men) are comfortable coming forward about sexual harassment. Preferably, it prioritizes a power balance that is equal and presents women in real positions of responsibility and authority.

12. You Can File a Civil Harassment Lawsuit

If you find a harassment lawsuit is the best way to begin to remedy your situation, you don't necessarily need to follow the path of a criminal suit.

A civil harassment lawsuit is also an option - and it's now more widely available because some limitations have been lifted. In 2017, the government lifted the limitation on time-sensitive harassment lawsuits, meaning you can file a lawsuit over a case that happened years ago.

Civil lawsuits also allow you more rights and control than a criminal harassment lawsuit. A criminal harassment lawsuit places the decision to prosecute with the Crown, allowing them to proceed with charges even if you don't want that.

Additionally, defendants can be put on the stand whereas they may be sheltered in a criminal harassment lawsuit, they may be shielded.

Ultimately, it allows you to provide the whole picture where a criminal suit may focus on only one part of the story.

Are You Ready to File a Harassment Lawsuit?

Sexual harassment is wrong, and Canadian law protects you from it in the workplace. It's more than wrong, though; it's a violation of your human rights. While set to an objective standard, the person claiming the harassment will need to prove their claim; in a court of law, using the adversarial process which can be emotional and difficult. Our firm also works on a private retainer basis, which means we collect a retainer of several thousand dollars in advance of rendering work on an hourly basis; which means these claims are not only emotionally draining but can be financially exhaustive as well.

If you're unable to work out a remedy for yourself and your employers, you can consider choosing a harassment lawsuit. To learn more about your rights and potential legal recourse, contact Verhaeghe Law Office today. We are here to help you.

8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Canadian Immigration Lawyers

8 Questions to Ask Before Hiring Canadian Immigration Lawyers

Hiring a Canadian Immigration Lawyer
If you're in need of an attorney but unsure where to start, we're here to help. Click here for 8 questions to ask before hiring Canadian immigration lawyers.

272,666 people immigrated to Canada in 2016. Many of them were able to do this without the help of a Canadian immigration lawyer.

But for everyone admitted as a citizen without any problems, there are those who were not able to enter the country.

There are many reasons for this. Some spouses cannot provide accurate proof that their marriage is real and not a "green card marriage." Some people are barred from the country based on past crimes. Still, others have been waiting for their permanent residency card when an emergency threatens their status.

That's why Canadian immigration lawyers are so vital for immigrants. They specialize in the immigration process and are here to help you in your unique circumstances.

But before you hire a Canadian immigration lawyer, there are some important things to consider. Here are 8 questions to ask yourself before you hire a Canadian immigration lawyer.

Questions to Ask Before Contacting an Attorney

Before you hire an attorney, here are some of the questions you need to consider your situation.

1) What is the Process for Becoming a Canadian Citizen?

Before contacting a Canadian immigration lawyer, you need to understand what the Canadian citizenship process is.

In order to become a citizen of Canada, you'll need to apply as a permanent resident first. There is a difference between a permanent residency visa and a temporary residency visa. Permanent residents get their visas with the goal of becoming a citizen.

There are instances when temporary residency holders should contact Canadian immigration lawyers. These include work visa issues or student visa problems. Canadian immigration lawyers can help in all cases but are rarely needed by temporary residency visa holders.

As a permanent resident, you'll need to stay in Canada for at least three years before you can apply for citizenship. While you're in Canada, you'll fall into one of three classes:

  • Family
  • Independent/Skilled Worker
  • Business Class

This means you are either a family member of your Canadian sponsor or working in the country with a work visa.

2) Who is Involved in Your Case?

When applying for a residency visa, you can sponsor a few of your family members, including:

  • Spouse or common-law partner.
  • Your child dependant, 22 years old or younger.
  • Your child, 22 years old and up. They must be dependent on you financially. They may be unable to support themselves because of a mental or physical condition.
  • Your spouse or common-law partner's dependent child.
  • A dependent child of a dependent child.

Unfortunately, that means you cannot sponsor the following family members.

  • Your Parents.
  • Grandparents.
  • Brother or sister.
  • Aunt or uncle.
  • Nephew or niece.
  • Other relatives.

When dealing with children who are in your custody because of divorce, adoption, or other special circumstances, you will want to contact a Canadian immigration lawyer for guidance.

3) What is Your Current Immigration Status?

Before you contact a Canadian immigration lawyer, clarify what your immigration status is. Are you applying for a permanent visa without a work visa? Do you need help navigating the waters of family immigration? Even if you are already living in Canada as a temporary resident, there are laws and individual circumstances that can force you to seek counsel.

Make sure you have all the information on hand before you contact an immigration lawyer. The more information you can give them about your situation, even if it's not ideal, the more they will be able to help you.

If you're unsure about giving your lawyer this information, remember that your lawyer is bound by attorney-client privilege. This means that any details you give them will remain confidential unless otherwise indicated.

4) Why Should I Hire a Canadian Immigration Lawyer?

You're probably wondering why you should even contact a Canadian immigration lawyer in the first place. There are lots of people who successfully apply for Canadian residencies and visas without a lawyer's help.

But before you dismiss the idea, consider a few things. If you're applying for a residency and are not confident in your English language abilities, then having a lawyer guide you through the application process can be priceless. They can not only help you gather all the information you need, but they will protect your rights as an immigrant.

Also, consider how specialized your situation is. If you're applying for a residency as a sponsored spouse, but have seen no movement in your process, then consulting a lawyer could be incredibly useful. If you're involved in a nasty divorce proceeding with children, then it's a good idea to contact an immigration lawyer as well as your divorce lawyer.

Even though there are many resources for those who want to become citizens of Canada, the process can be slow and confusing. One missing document can throw the whole thing into confusion, resulting in delayed visas or outright rejections.

While you don't need a Canadian immigration lawyer, having one can be the difference between sleepless, stressful nights and a smooth immigration process.

Questions to Ask Your Canadian Immigration Lawyer Before You Hire Them

Once you're ready to contact an immigration lawyer, here are some of the questions you should be prepared to ask them.

1) What are Their Credentials?

To become a lawyer in Canada, your lawyer needs to complete 2-4 years of an accredited law program. They should have received a law degree from this school, then they have to complete a period of articling, a bar admission course, a bar exam. On top of that, they must have a license to practice in the province where they are working.

If your lawyer does not meet all those requirements, you should seek counsel with someone else.

When you're selecting your lawyer, it doesn't really matter where in the country they practice law. They can be from any province, but choosing a lawyer who practices near you is a good rule of thumb.

The only place where you need to hire a specific lawyer is in Quebec. Because Quebec has its own immigration policy, your lawyer must practice law in Quebec.

2) How Long Have They Been Practicing?

As a client, you want a Canadian immigration lawyer who has at least 10 years of experience. Ideally, all ten of these years should be in immigration law. Don't hire anyone with under five years of immigration law experience.

If your lawyer is working at a large firm, ask them how long they've been working with the firm and what their experience has been. You'll want to work with a firm that has a good reputation for treating their clients well and winning cases.

3) Have They Handled Cases Like Yours?

Experience as a lawyer is important, but so is experience with cases like yours. You want to know that your lawyer has the information they need to help you all ready to go.

For example, if you are a divorced mother with a child in joint-custody, you'll want a lawyer experienced in immigration law as well as family law. Keep in mind that the family laws in your country of origin might be different than in Canada.

Similarly, a Canadian immigration lawyer who's had several clients from your home country will be aware of what cultural and legal matters are in play with your visa. Nothing will be able to take them by surprise.

4) Ask for Referrals or References

Even though details of individual cases are confidential, your lawyer will hopefully still have several examples of happy clients. Ask for stories and testimonials about your lawyer. This can help you gauge what your experience is going to be like with them.

Additionally, ask fellow immigrants and expats about your lawyer. No one is going to be more frank with you than another immigrant who's going through the same process as you. If you still hear good things about your lawyer, then you can feel confident that they'll help you with your case.

5) Ask Them Frankly If They Think Your Case Will Be Successful

An experienced lawyer will be able to recall their years of law practice and give you a thoughtful answer. They might even be able to recall specific examples of cases where your situation applies.

However, don't expect a definite "yes" or "no" from your lawyer. If you were dealing with definite answers, you probably wouldn't have contacted them in the first place. Still, expect them to remain hopeful and helpful. They're experts in this field.

6) Ask Who Specifically Will Be Representing You

If you're working with a law firm, then there's a slight chance that the lawyer you're speaking to is not the one who will represent you. If that is the case, then feel free to ask to meet with the person representing you. Don't be afraid to ask them all the same questions you've already asked.

If you're uncomfortable with the person you've met, then ask the original lawyer for another recommendation. You may also ask members of the immigration community for more recommendations.

Remember, just because you aren't a citizen of Canada yet doesn't mean you're trapped. You're the one who will be paying your lawyer for their help. You should pay for the person who you trust the most.

7) How Much Will It Cost and How Will They Bill You?

Most lawyers will charge you by the hour, but be sure to read the contract before you sign it. You might be charged for court fees or other expenses.

Your contract should contain a detailed breakdown of payment. Again, read this carefully before you sign anything. If there are any questions, make sure to ask your lawyer to clarify the point. You're paying for everything, so don't before afraid to find out exactly what you're paying for.

Most lawyers will have you pay them or the law firm "in trust." This means that your fees are held in a separate trust account monitored by the Professional Order. If you're not asked to pay "in trust," you should be asking serious questions about the reliability of that law firm.

8) How Frequently Will the Lawyer Contact You?

Immigration applications involve a lengthy process. It can take months to years to process, so you're probably not going to hear from your lawyer very often.

That being said, your lawyer should be open to communication with you. They should be able to answer your questions, phone calls, and e-mails in a timely manner. That doesn't mean they'll be available to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, but they won't ignore your attempts to contact them either.

Ask your Canadian immigration lawyer about their hours, and what the best way is to contact them. They probably already have a system set up for attorney-client contacts.

What Do You Do If Your Lawyer Says They Have "Connections"?

If at any point your lawyer tells you that you'll win your case because of their "connections," either in immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, or a particular visa office, run, don't walk, out of that office.

Unlike other countries in the world, the law requires Canadian immigration officials to be impartial without any outside influence. This is to make sure the immigration board runs legally, without any corruption or bribery.

If your lawyer tries to break this law by using their personal influence to win your case, it could ruin you financially and jeopardize your application. It might be tempting to do this but trust the Canadian immigration system. You'll be okay.

Are You In Need of a Canadian Immigration Lawyer?

Remember that while you might not need a Canadian immigration lawyer, having one on your side can be extremely helpful. They are working with you on your case, setting you up for success in the Canadian immigration process.

If you're in the middle of a complicated family situation, are unsure how to proceed, or if your residency has already been denied, then hiring a lawyer can be the best thing you've done.

If you're someone who's looking for a Canadian immigration lawyer, especially if you're trying to locate in the Edmonton area, then click here for information.

15 Must-Have Tips For a First Time Home Buyer in Alberta

15 Must-Have Tips For a First Time Home Buyer in Alberta

First Time Buyer
Are you a first time home buyer in Alberta? There's a lot that can go into purchasing your first home, so make sure you follow these expert tips so the process goes smoothly.

It's never been easy for first-time home-buyers to get on the housing market. However, that's certainly just as true now as it's ever been.

But if you've worked hard for many years to be able to afford your own home, you should be proud of what you've achieved.

When taking your first steps into home ownership, it's easy to get carried away by the excitement of it all. But you're about to make what could be the biggest purchase you'll ever make.

It's an incredibly important decision for you. That's why it's essential that you make sure you're well prepared for what's ahead of you on your journey.

We've put together the 15 must-have tips for any first time home buyer Alberta resident. Keep reading to find out these juicy tips to make sure you learn from the experience and knowledge of the experts.

1. There's No Rush

Many people are desperate to get on the property ladder as soon possible. You can see why. Everything from the financial security to the wealth creation that owning your own home involves making it a popular choice for many people.

However, the rush to collect enough dough to build up a downpayment on a property leads people to make mistakes.

For instance, there are banks and insurance companies that are willing to cover you or provide loans so you have enough to buy your own home. However, the repayments could turn out to be staggering.

That's why most real estate experts suggest that home buyers should be looking to raise at least 20 percent of the total price of the property. Even though this might require compromise and sacrifice, it's certainly worth it, in the end, to make sure you're getting the best deal for you and your family.

2. Get to Know the Housing Market

Getting to know the housing market in which you want to invest in an essential strategy for first-time buyers. Just a lion studies his prey, you always have to ready to pounce on a property if the time is right.

Timing your purchase perfectly can make a huge difference to how much you pay. There are many things that can affect the fluctuating price of a property. This can include anything from the booms and busts of the American economy to the local incident that hit the news.

This is mostly determined by what's called a seller's market or a buyer's market. If you're bidding in a seller's market, you'll probably end up paying over the odds for the property. Whereas, in a buyer's market you might snap up a bargain.

However, there's no one-size-fits-all answer to getting the timing right. All you can do is get to know the housing market the best you can, to give you the best chance of investing at the right moment.

3. Educate Yourself About Home Buying

You're reading this blog post, which shows that you're serious about educating yourself about home buying. There's so much to learn about, you have to do even more research than checking out this blog.

There are many opportunities to learn the information you need to as a first time home buyer in Canada. This includes everything from classes provided by community groups to resources in your local library and online.

4. Shop Around for the Best Lender

One of the most important tips for first time home buyers is to make sure you shop around for the best lender. It's easy to simply go with the first lender you speak to.

However, it's important to get hold of as many estimates for loans as possible. You can never have too many estimates.

After this, you need to compare and contrast the different qualities of each. This mostly comes down to the monthly payments, the interest rates, and the origination charges.

While half-a-percent might seem like nothing in the grand scheme of things. But you have to remember that even the slightest difference between interest rates can cost you thousands of dollars in the long term.

5. Consider a Renter

You're preparing to buy your own home for the first time, it's possible that you're ready to live alone without housemates. Or maybe it's time you growing family settle down in a home you can call your own. Despite this, it's important not to dismiss the prospect of considering a renter.

With a renter paying your monthly payments, you'll find that you can not only share the cost of the living. But it's a chance for you to generate additional income to pay off your mortgage payments. By including a renter in your calculation, you might find that a more expensive property is suddenly affordable for you.

However, you might be thinking that you don't have to consider a renter at this stage. While this might be the case. If you decide to take in a tenant to your new home, this may influence the kind of property you purchase.

For instance, many people search for a home with multiple units. This would allow you to maintain your privacy, while also the ability to have a renter. Because of this, getting a renter can be a great financial opportunity that too few first time home buyers consider.

Even if you consider a renter too much of a commitment for you, there are many other options to make an income while paying off your mortgage. Renting out rooms on Airbnb is becoming increasingly popular.

6. Find Out About the Community

You might have fallen in love with the home of your dreams. However, many first time home buyers make the mistake of not seeing the bigger picture.

After all, unless you're buying a property in the middle of nowhere, the community in which it's located matters too. That's why it's really vital that you find out as much as you can about the community.

However, you should also make sure you look into how the community is changing. This is because, even if you like the community as you see it, it's important to check out where it's heading too.

You can find information about crime rates and the rate at which restaurants and stores are opening or closing in the community. This will give you a better understanding of how much your property will be worth down the line. But also, it could make or break regarding whether you want to purchase the house in the first place.

7. Mortgage Underwriting

If you're trying to purchase a property in an especially competition market, you might find that you are repeatedly beaten by investors. After all, many investors have the capital to be able to offer the property seller cash. For many sellers, this is preferable.

However, with a pre-underwriting mortgage, you could stand a better chance against competitors. This is where a lender assesses the risk involved in giving you a loan by analyzing your income, credit rate and assets.

If you pass these tests with pre-underwriting your mortgage, this could give you greater negotiation leverage.

8. Know What You Can Manage

Many first-time home buyers go with the largest mortgage loan they can get their hands on. If you have a hefty income, substantial savings, and little debt, you might find that you qualify for a huge loan.

However, you should think seriously about whether you want to accept this. You should start by listing your monthly expenses rather than the income from your salary.

After you've done this, whatever is left over from your monthly income is what you can afford in house payments. Otherwise, you risk getting saddled with a mortgage you can't afford to pay.

9. Less Can be Wise

Even the leftovers from your monthly salary might be too much to pay for your property. After all, this could leave you with little wiggle room if you are faced with a financial emergency. Plus, you might not be able to afford to save anymore.

This is why you should consider buying a property that is worth much less than you could afford. This avoids the situation where you put all your eggs in one basket financially speaking.

10. Remember the Hidden Expenses

It's also essential that you don't forget that purchasing a home involves an investment and expenses that are beyond simply the cost of the property itself.

After all, there are the real estate fees, legal fees, and home inspector fees. There could also be the additional costs of title insurance any urgent renovations or furnishing that you need. It's easy to forget the many hidden expenses involved in purchasing a home.

11. Think About the Future

When you're buying your first property, it's easy to get drawn into the excitement of it all. However, it's important to make sure you're considering the future as well.

You never know how your life might change in a decades time. This could include anything from having more kids, or be having to take in elderly relatives.

Because of this, considerations such as the quality of the local schools and how many bedrooms you require should be considered too.

12. Keep Resale Value in Mind

Another aspect of thinking about the future is considering the resale value of your property. It's easy to focus on the here and now when you're a first-time home buyer. But there could be one day when you want to sell the property yourself.

That's why you should always consider whether you'd be able to resell the property at a profit. Is it an up-and-coming neighborhood? Does it have beautiful backyard views?

Keep in mind the things that home buyers look for in a home. That's why, when you buy a property, it's important that you're not the only person in the world that wants to live there.

13. Hire a Property Inspector

It's really important to make sure you hire a property inspector to service the property before handing over any money.

You should be able to find referrals from friends, colleagues, and family for a good property inspector. But it's still important to do some of your own research into getting a good deal. Don't take anyone's word of it when it comes to hiring a property inspector.

14. How Qualifying a Mortgage Works

It's also good when buying your first home to learn about how to qualify for a mortgage.

Basically, it comes down to checking your recent history with handling money to assess whether you can be trusted to pay back the loan. But it's good to have a deeper understanding of the different requirements for a mortgage.

If you don't know your stuff, you could risk being charged a higher interest rate on your mortgage loan.

15. Be Organized

Part of applying for a mortgage is a presentation to the bank. It's your responsibility to demonstrate to the bank that you have your paperwork in order.

That's why it's essential to make sure you have your tax returns, bank statements and any other financial and official documents available when speaking with the bank.

Finding Your First Time Home Buyer Alberta Estate Attorney

If you're looking into buying your first home, it's important to make sure you keep in mind our tips.

But it's also vital that you have a trustworthy and experienced estate attorney to help you.

Our law blog is packed with tips to help any first time home buyer Alberta, resident.

For more useful resources, check out our legal resources page or our useful links page. Or, if what you really need is legal advice from a live professional, head to our contact page.

Do I Need a Will? 15 Important Facts to Help You Decide

Do I Need a Will? 15 Important Facts to Help You Decide

Need a Will
Do I need a will if I have no assets? Do I need a will if I'm married? What if I have a trust? Here are the answers to these questions and more.

It has been disastrous when celebrities pass away without a will. Elvis, Marlon Brando, Michael Jackson, and Prince all left their families to fight over their estates. You may not have asked yourself, do I need a will?

While most of us do not leave the large estates that celebrities do, we still need to think about what happens to our money and belongings after we die. No one is so unimportant that they do not need a Will

To determine who needs a will, there are a few key factors to consider.

What Does a Will Do For You?

You are probably asking yourself why do you need a will. A will lets those that you leave behind know what you intended to do with your belongings. It allows your estate to be distributed and settled out quickly.

The quicker your estate is handled the less stress your loved one has in the grieving process. Probate that lasts years can have great consequences on those who inherit when it comes to tax liabilities.

If you did not choose an executor, one is hired to distribute your estate. This means fewer assets are going to your loved ones.

The longer the process takes, the more expensive the whole thing becomes. You want your estate going to people you care about, not the court system or province.

Do I Need a Will?

The passing of a loved one is a stressful time for anyone. No one wants to leave their family and the province to determine what should be done with your assets. People are emotional, and no one makes rational and logical decisions while they are grieving.

1. What Are Your Family Dynamics?

Family dynamics are a key part of the distribution of belongings after a family member passes away. It is a sad reality, but people let their emotions rule, and families break apart over little disagreements.

When asking yourself, do I need a will, think about if you have family heirlooms. Determine who will inherit what items before you pass. This will help prevent or mediate family disagreements.

What you need to remember is that what is fair, is not always equal, and what is equal isn't always fair. The court system does not take into account family relationships or history when distributing your assets.

2. Do You Have Minor Children?

If you have minor children it is vital that you have a will to ensure their care and inheritance is done as you intend. Losing a parent is tough, by having a plan in place for your children's care you will facilitate a smoother transition for them.

How children inherit depends on multiple factors. When children are the descendants of both you and your spouse they may not receive anything in probate.

You also need to take into account whether your children are of the age of majority, meaning they are over 18. Children that are considered adults in the eyes of the law are treated differently for inheritance.

For minor children, you'll want to ensure that money is set aside for their care. You may also want to have a trust set up for them to inherit money later in life when they are mature enough to handle it.

A Will also lets you appoint Guardians and Alternate Guardians to ensure your children are looked after you die.

3. Do I Need a Will If I Am Married?

If you are married your spouse may inherit all or a large portion of your assets in probate. For provinces that follow the community property rule, your spouse will inherit everything if you don't have children, or all of your children are with your spouse.

But what if you are simply cohabitating? Your current partner may be left out in the cold as all of your assets are rerouted back to your children from your first marriage.

You will need a will to ensure your significant other inherits. This is especially important if you have adult or minor children from a previous marriage.

4. Where Do You Live?

What province you live in makes a huge difference in how your property is distributed by probate when you die. The province in which you are domiciled, or live regularly, is the one that controls the probate of your assets.

5. Where Is Your Stuff?

You live in one province, but you own property in another province. The other province's rules of probate may govern the property in that state.

This often happens if you own a vacation home or are a snowbird and travel between two locations throughout the year. This can also be a problem if your family doesn't know you have property in other provinces.

Having a will prevents that property from being distributed in a way you don't want. Create a will that complies with the laws of the province you currently reside.

Include property that is out of your province in the will and what you wish had happened to them. Items that are accounted for in a will are not subject to probate.

6. What Are Your Intentions?

Often when parents become elderly they have financial accounts such as chequing and savings accounts with one of their children's names on the account. This effectively creates a joint account.

Be careful with this strategy. The Canada Revenue Agency has stated that this doesn't create a true joint tenancy.

To create the joint ownership your child will have to report 50% of the income on their return. This may not minimize your probate fees or maximize your family's wealth.

This works great while the parent is living to help monitor expenses and ensure the care of elderly parents.

Unfortunately, it means that when the parent dies the child becomes sole owner of that account's balance automatically. This may not have been the intention of the parent.

A will can prevent things like this from happening, as it would effectively disinherit their other children.

7. Do You Have Pets?

Pets can end up in a precarious position when their owners pass away. If no one is there to claim the animal, they could very easily end up in a shelter.

By having a will in place you can arrange for someone to take care of your furry loved ones. This will be a smoother transfer ownership process for your pet.

You can also arrange for the expenses of your pet to be cared for. The trust can be created automatically upon death and have a designated executor.

8. Are You Taking Care of Someone Disabled or Elderly? Do You Need a Will If You Have a Trust?

You currently have power of attorney making you responsible for the care of someone who is elderly or disabled. Who is going to step in and take over if you pass away?

A will can protect them from becoming a ward of the state. Specify in your will who will take over the responsibility of care or the managing a trust.

You can also arrange to create a trust with estate assets to pay for the care of your loved ones. Upon your passing, a trust will automatically be created with the elderly or disabled named as beneficiary.

It may also be wise to have those that you are caring for, create a Personal Directive also known as a living will and a Power of Attorney.

9. But You Already Declared Beneficiaries for Insurance.

You can designate a beneficiary for insurance policies, property deeds, and retirement accounts. This works well for these assets, but unfortunately, these are not the total of your estate.

10. Avoid a Lengthy Probate Process

The probate process can last months to even several years. There is no need for this if you create a will.

The court system doesn't want to have to figure out how you wanted your estate distributed. If you have a will the court can execute your wishes and move forward.

The probate process can be lengthy as people discover more of your belongings. When you create a will people will not have to hunt for the items you own, further delaying the close of your probate.

To further limit the probate process, you can include a no-contest clause in your will. Often times those that are disinherited or displeased with their inheritance will contest the will's terms.

By including a no contest clause you prevent people from fighting over the terms of the will. This will speed the process of asset distribution.

11. Minimize Income Taxes

Those that are set to inherit MAY have to pay income taxes on the value of the inheritance they receive, especially is a capital disposition or cashing out spousal R.R.S.P.s that do not meet the Rollover requirements.

Be thinking and planning about your estate now you can make some financial moves such as gifts and loans that reduce the liability of estate taxes later on.

If you are planning on leaving money to your kids you could give them a loan that is forgiven upon death. If they use the money for tuition, vacations, new car, or mortgage payments the loan could be interest-free.

You also need to consider if you own property in the United States. The US has different estate tax and probate laws that need to be considered.

By determining your estate value now, you can prepare by purchasing life insurance. The payout from the life insurance can be used to offset the cost of the estate tax after you die.

12. Choose Your Executor

When you write your own will, you can select the person who will be responsible for being the executor of your will. If you do not choose an executor, the court will choose someone for you.

When choosing an executor, select someone who will be able to competently distribute your belongings and assets. Do not pick someone who will be highly emotional or embroiled in the family drama we spoke of earlier.

13. Choose Who Does not Inherit

If you leave your estate to the court to distribute, they will work through a worksheet of predetermined family members for who is to inherit. This means you have no say in who does or does not inherit.

If there is a particular member of your family who you do not want to inherit, you must designate this in your will. This also allows you to reduce the inheritance of one particular member.

For example, let's assume you have three brothers. Without a will, the court will distribute to your brothers equally. If you write a will, you can decide to give each of your brothers a different amount.

You may also have given a gift to a child during their lifetime. In this case, we write in a hotchpot clause stating they do not get a gift because they have been given during their lifetime. You may also want a clause stating someone does not get a gift because you are estranged from them. You may also want an inequal distribution clause explaining why someone does not get a gift as big as they law might think they are entitled to.

14. Make Gifts or Donations

There is no designation for gifts or donations when your estate is distributed via probate. If you want to give a portion of your assets to charity you must write a will to memorialize this intent.

15. You Can Change Your Mind

You may not be totally sure how you want your estate distributed, that's ok. What's important is to write your will now, and you can adjust it in the future.

As you grow your wealth and asset total you need to go back and update your will to include your new possessions. This is especially important for high-value items such as property.

Speak to your attorney about the possibility of creating an editable list of personal items. This allows you to add, subtract, and edit a list of personal possessions as you think and discuss with your loved ones.

Do You Need a Will If You Have No Assets?

If you have little to no assets then you are a part of the minority that does not necessarily need a will. You have few to no assets.

The few assets that you may have will automatically go to your parents or immediate family members via probate. The only reason you would need a will is if this is not how you want your property distributed.

Now that you have determined that the answer yes to do I need a will, you need to know how to go about crafting a will that is enforceable.

How to Get Emergency Custody in Canada or a Restraining Order in Alberta

How to Get Emergency Custody in Canada or a Restraining Order in Alberta

Emergency Custody
If you believe your children's safety is at risk, then it's time to talk to a lawyer. Read on to learn more about how to get emergency custody now.

Are you concerned that your child's safety could be at risk? If so, you need to know that a restraining order can help to protect them from potential harm.

The courts aim to encourage healthy relationships between children and their families, despite circumstances surrounding the adults involved in the case. But, there are times when exposure to one or both of the child's guardians might not be in their best interest. When this occurs, it may be necessary to find out how to get emergency custody established.

In Canada, oftentimes even prior to their child's birth, parents have certain legal obligations to their children. This includes caring for the child's needs and keeping them safe and protected from harm.

The legal system takes the safety of children very seriously. And, you should too.

No child deserves to be placed in unnecessary danger.

Read on to find out how to get emergency custody of a child in Canada!

What is Emergency Child Custody?

Before you find out how to get emergency custody, you need to understand exactly what it means.

Emergency child custody is an order that grants immediate custody to one parent, or potential guardian. In some cases, the courts will award emergency custody to the state, or to an outside party.

An emergency petition for custody is not something that is usually necessary in most cases involving children. But, there are times when this is the best course of action to take for the sake of the child.

An ex-parte order for temporary custody grants custody in emergency situations and does not require notifying the child's parents or guardians. These orders may call for the child's removal from the home. Or, they may call for denial of visitation rights.

The court issues these orders on a temporary basis, usually until the date of a set hearing.

Unlike typical custody cases, a hearing to decide whether or not the order should remain in place will usually take place within days or weeks of filing. Normally, court cases may not be heard until months after they are filed.

Why is Emergency Custody Granted or Restraining Order Granted?

Judges are not fond of granting emergency custody without substantiated evidence for doing so. Unless there are specific elements present in a case, a judge is unlikely to grant emergency custody to a guardian or to either parent.

When there is the threat or suspicion that a child is in immediate danger, emergency custody may be granted.

Rules 14 and 15 of Ontario Family Court Rules outline how to get emergency custody of a child.

Alberta is different. You would need to either: i. get a restraining order; ii. involve child welfare; or, iii. in the heat of the moment, contact the police for an Emergency Protection Order.

There are specific reasons that courts grant emergency custody.

These include the following:

  • The child is at immediate risk for serious physical or emotional harm from either abuse or neglect
  • There is a recent and credible threat that the parent or guardian whom you are filing against is going to take the child out of the province or country against the custodial parent or guardian's wishes
  • The parent or guardian who is being filed against has committed abandonment or cannot be located and served with court documents, despite efforts to locate him or her

In addition, you must have reasonable evidence of suspicion that supports a need for immediate action.

What to Do if You Are Not Personally Involved in a Case of Suspected Child Abuse or Neglect

There are times when someone who has no personal involvement witnesses, or otherwise becomes aware of, a reason to suspect that a child is in danger of harm.

If you suspect child abuse, neglect, or that a child is being threatened, but you do not wish to pursue custody or temporary custody of the child, you should immediately report your suspicions to proper authorities or an agency that has the power to take protective action.

If you are unsure about a child's circumstances but have a reason to suspect they may be in immediate danger, you should still report your suspicions, even if you have no plans or desire to file an emergency petition. Authorities will then perform an investigation to determine if the child's safety is at risk. When dealing with child abuse or neglect, it is better to be safe than sorry.

How to Get Custody of a Child -or- A Restraining Order

First, you should ask yourself if you have just cause to file an emergency petition.

Do you have a reason to believe that your child is being, or will be, abused, neglected, or abandoned? Or, do you believe they may be taken out of their legal jurisdiction without permission?

If you have a reasonable suspicion regarding your child's safety, then you should know how to get emergency custody to protect them.

This can sometimes be a scary process, especially if you believe the other parent may be dangerous even after a judge establishes temporary custody. But, don't be afraid to take action, even if this is the case. There are additional measures that can be taken to protect yourself and other family or household members if necessary.

Although this isn't something that should be taken lightly, when a child's safety is at risk, it's important that you understand how to get emergency custody and that you act quickly.

Steps You Should Take to Get Emergency Custody or Restraining Order.

If you want to know how to get emergency custody, then you need to know which steps to take.

The steps below explain how to get emergency custody of a child -or- restraining order against and abusive parent in Canada. Following these steps will ensure the courts protect your children from possible harm by an irresponsible parent or guardian.

Step One: Determine if You Have a Need for Urgency

If you are filing an urgent motion with the courts, which does not require the other party to be served before the judge orders a decision.

An ex-parte custody case would be classified as urgent.

Few cases allow you to file an urgent motion. But, an urgent motion is a crucial part of how to get emergency custody granted by a judge. This type of motion will ensure that the process is as quick as possible,

In the event that the judge decides to allow an urgent motion, they must make a ruling based solely on the information that you provide the courts.

Often, in emergency custody situations, the information you provide may not include a wide range of hard evidence. Instead, it might primarily be based on your firsthand knowledge and experiences. This is why you should provide specific examples and as much information as possible in your request.

The courts require you to give a detailed explanation as to why an urgent motion is necessary. You will also be expected to explain why you believe there may be consequences if the matter is not addressed immediately. And, you may need to give examples of what these consequences might include.

Step Two: Complete Necessary Court Documents

Some of the documents that you may need to file to establish and request urgency include the following:

1. Situation involving family members;

2. Situation involving someone other than family members.

The Alberta Government has more information including a link posted here.

(REMEMBER IF YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER CALL 9-1-1 FIRST)

These are forms where you list the orders that you are asking the courts to make.

  • Application

On your application, you will list information about yourself, your situation, and the facts and reasoning that support your request. You will need to check off the orders that you are asking the judge to make, and explain your basis for each one separately. You might also need to explain your history and your relationship with the other party and the child involved.

  • Affidavit

An affidavit is a sworn, written statement that you provide the courts. It should include why you are requesting an urgent motion, and it should list the evidence in the case. It is vital that you are certain that the information included in your affidavit is accurate and that you are sincere when you fill out this form.

In addition to the above documents, there may be others that your case requires to fill out and return to the courts when you submit your information. These may include child support forms and affidavits from others offering evidence for your motion.

Step Three: File Motion

To file an urgent motion, after completing the proper documentation, you will submit all of your documents to the court. The court will let you know if any further information is required for consideration of the motion by the judge.

Step Four: The Judge Makes a Decision Based on Your Motion

A judge will review your petition on the day that it is filed in the courts. Because judges must sometimes hear many cases throughout the course of a day, you may have to wait until they are available to review your request.

Once the judge reviews your request and all pertinent documentation, they will make a decision. If they feel that the motion is justified, they will issue an order.

If an order is issued, a representative of the court will supply you with a copy.

Step Five: Attend Court Hearing

An urgent petition is how to get emergency custody, but it is usually only a temporary order.

There will be a hearing set, usually within two weeks, so the judge can hear the other party's response and make a decision beyond this time period.

You must attend the hearing and bring all necessary documents. You may also have witnesses that need to attend the court hearing and offer testimonial evidence for your case.

If you did not have legal representation that advised you on how to get a restraining order when you filed your original motion, you might want to obtain an attorney prior to your court hearing.

The process is not always easy. An attorney can provide support and help you feel confident about your case prior to your hearing.

Obtaining Representation for Your Case

When you initially file your motion with the courts, you may not have an attorney who to advise you how to get emergency custody. But, when you attend the hearing, it's best if you can hire an attorney to represent you.

An attorney will help you decide how you would proceed to gain long-term custody.

They can subpoena witnesses, determine critical information that needs to be presented, and they can tell you what facts should be included in your testimony. They can also question the other party and request additional information from them that may help the judge make a decision.

If it is determined that the child is no longer at risk for immediate danger, your attorney can offer mediation to help you and the other party make an agreement that is in the best interest of the child.

Your attorney may also be able to have child support established, and if necessary, file to have the funds garnished so that you receive payments to help care for the child's needs.

If you decide not to obtain representation, you may not know how to get emergency custody extended or what is required on the day of the hearing. You might not have access to forms, witnesses, or an explanation of the laws that pertain to your case.

Without proper representation, you run a greater risk of the hearing resulting in an unfavorable outcome. Not only that, if the other party has representation, they could even request that custody be reversed.

Get Legal Help for Your Child Custody Case

Do you need an attorney that knows how to get a restraining order to help you with your case?

If your child is in danger and you are ready to proceed with emergency custody, do not take any chances. Our team of skilled legal professionals will help you get the results that you're looking for. And, they will take any measures necessary to ensure that your child is safe from potential harm.

You don't have to go through a long and exhausting custody battle on your own.

Contact us today to find out how to get a restraining order, guardianship or custody as quickly as possible.

14 Reasons to Hire an Attorney for Wrongful Dismissal

14 Reasons to Hire an Attorney for Wrongful Dismissal

Wrongful Dismissal
If you've recently experienced the wrongful dismissal from a job, it might be time to hire an attorney. Click here for 14 reasons to consider a legal expert.

Losing your job is a devastating experience all on its own, being fired makes it worse. But being dismissed from your job for reasons that were not your fault is also frustration.

Wrongful dismissal happens to people all the time, and many are not aware or feel like they can challenge the dismissal. Being fired or laid off from your job without the proper notice or compensation is against the law, and you can fight it.

If you were recently let go from your employment and feel it was wrongful dismissal, then you have some options.

Here, we will look at 14 reasons you should get an attorney.

What is Wrongful Dismissal?

Being fired or laid off from your job with an explanation, like there is no work or you were caught doing or saying something that goes against company policy, you likely don't have a case.

If you are fired or laid off with proper notice, then that is not wrongful dismissal. Likewise, if you are given no notice but receive some sort of compensation package, then that is also legal.

When you are fired, dismissed or laid off without cause, notice or severance pay, then you have experienced wrongful dismissal. You may feel like that's the end of it, but it isn't.

What to Look for in a Wrongful Dismissal Lawyer

Finding a lawyer to take on your case might not seem hard, but you need a lawyer who is versed in the area if wrongful dismissal. Losing your job is a very confusing and stressful time, and you want the best person to help you through it.

There are just so many areas you may be unaware of that your lawyer will understand. If there was a contract or a breach of contract, if there is a union involved and was there a violation, was there a clause or law broken.

You need a lawyer who knows the differences that occur, the ins and outs and the legal applications specifically for wrongful dismissal cases. Workplace lawyers understand what is actually happening and where to go next.

Lawyers specialized in workplace law have the experience and knowledge you need. There could be issues at play that you have not even considered, and they will be able to find those.

Reasons to Hire an Attorney

We will break it down and look at reasons why you need to hire a lawyer for yourself or family member if you think you are owed for wrongful dismissal. What you think it okay may actually be illegal.

1. Consultation

You want to set up an appointment, even just a casual meet and greet to explain your situation and see if you have anything to move forward. This is the best time to lay it all out to your lawyer and be very honest.

Even if you did something wrong but feel your firing was still not justified or done correctly, you want to know where you stand and what actions, if any, are available to you.

Keep in mind that employment law lawyers are inundated with telephone calls and emails about wrongful dismissal; and, a good lawyer is a busy lawyer so they will often charge for their consultations - if they are not working for you, they could be working on another matter and they have certain targets or obligations to their firm that they must meet on a monthly basis.

2. Expert Advice

A lawyer specializing in wrongful dismissal will have inside knowledge and experience in handling these situations. You may think your case is unique, but chances are, they have seen it.

Talking to a lawyer is just a wise move, and one who specializes in workplace dismissals will have insight and experience in how to proceed, if necessary. They handle cases like your all the time; they will know what to do and help you through this trying time.

As employment lawyers we have seen and heard it all, from online gambling to affairs in the office. We do not judge, we are simply hear to advance the best case going forward for our clients.

3. Professional

Even if your dismissal is due to something embarrassing to you and you are worried it will get out, your lawyer will handle your case with discretion and a professional manner.

You want your case in good hands. You have enough stress over losing your job and worry about how to proceed. Let your lawyer worry about how to get the right compensation and keep it all discrete.

4. Trustworthy

You can trust your lawyer to work with your best interests at the forefront. Handing over any documents or evidence will be kept safe and only used to further your case.

You may be worrying about how this past action will reflect on your chances of finding a new job in the same field. Your lawyer will be able to advise you in this area and keep your past information private.

5 Financial Compensation

You wrongful dismissal lawyer has the knowledge and ability to figure out how much compensation you are due. Depending on the case, you may be entitled to more compensation than you think.

The potential loss of wages and bonuses, retirement packages, promotions, expense accounts and payment to the lawyer and your pain and suffering may all be considered in your case.

6. File Papers

Any documents and papers that need to be filed or filled out can all be taken care of by your lawyer. They know which ones, why and when. You do not want to lose out because of some silly mistake.

There may be some small details and loopholes you do not know about, and you want to get the best for your self and your family. Let your lawyer handle all of the paperwork and forms, as that is what they specialize in.

7. Your Employee Has One

If wrongful dismissals seem to be prevalent within your company, you can bet that they have a lawyer on hand. You do not want to chance your wrongful dismissal fight to your own ability, even if you know about workplace law.

Get prepared and get a lawyer. Your employer will have one ready to fight you, be ready to take them on. It's just smart practice, hire a lawyer for a legal brawl.

Wrongful Dismissal Causes

Let's look at some of the reasons you may want to seek out legal advice, that pertains to the job and the wrongful dismissal.

8. You Feel it was Personal

This comes under the category of discrimination. No one can fire you simply because they do not like you. No one would have a job if that were the case.

Discrimination can cover a wide area:

  • disability
  • sex
  • age
  • race
  • religious practices

This includes sexual orientation, your marital status, and any other reason that is of a personal matter that does not affect how you do your job. Losing your job or being passed over for promotion or advancement die to any of these is illegal.

You may have a hard time trying to prove this, and getting legal help is a smart idea. If you feel that these were reasons you lost your job, you need to talk to a lawyer. Whether it was verbal, written or implied, they will have the expertise to recognize the problem.

9. Harassment

Harassment can be linked to discrimination and unfortunately, is all too common in many workplaces. Harassment is often unreported, and employees may simply quit rather than endure the abuse.

Like discrimination, harassment is directed towards an employee over personal matters that they have no control over. This includes anything that makes you feel awkward or uncomfortable.

  • offensive jokes
  • racial or sexual slurs
  • insults and put-downs
  • threats or intimidation
  • inappropriate pictures or text
  • physical assaults

Any time you are uncomfortable due to inappropriate comments or gestures, this is considered harassment. Being fired for complaining, standing up or as a continuation of these harassments is wrongful dismissal.

10. Illness or Pregnancy

Missing work due to illness or getting pregnant are not reasons to lose your job. Being fired or replaced or demoted while on maternity leave is also not allowed.

If you develop an illness and it affects you are work, you still cannot be fired. Workplace human-rights protect you, and your employer is required to accommodate medical conditions to allow you continue working.

This rule goes for pregnancy, as well. You are entitled to the full benefits, paid leave, and the option to return to your job at the end of your maternity leave.

They may try to claim it was something else unrelated to your pregnancy, but you should really fight it. They may have just been feeling put out that you had to take time off.

11. Close to Retirement, Promotion, or due Benefits

This can happen all too frequently, and it is a low and dirty trick. It can be heartbreaking, after all the time and effort you have done and contributed to the organization and then be robbed of your due.

Without cause or compensation, this is wrongful dismissal. You may be able to get your due and compensation outside of the original deal. If you were cut off short, this could affect your pension.

There is also a case for ageism, and the difficulty you may have trying to find another job if that is your situation. Lost income can be from potential wages, and your future pension, bonuses and any invests or company stocks.

12. Replaced by their Friend or Family member

This can be very frustrating. Losing your job due to someone's nephew or sister needed a job is wrong. It's particularly annoying if they hire someone to replace you for half the wages they were paying you.

Your wrongful dismissal lawyer can get you the results you need. Being let go or passed over for a job due to nepotism is still discrimination, and shouldn't be allowed.

This can cause hard feelings among employees, cause potential disharmony and even damages if the family member is not as qualified for the position. Overall morale can drop and therefore, so can productivity.

13. Recently complained

If you filed a complaint against your employer, your manager, a co-worker for something to do with illegal or shoddy practices, you could not be fired for that. If the complaint is serious, or of a personal or sexual nature, you need to seek legal advice.

Assuming your complaint was a legitimate complaint, it is against the law for your employer to take action against you simply because they are not happy. If you are potentially exposing problem, violation or even crime, they may think getting rid of you will solve their issue.

They may be trying to cover up something that is potentially illegal or harmful, and it is your right and your duty to recognize the issue and report it. Being fired for being vigilant is wrong and needs to be addressed.

14. False Accusation

Being let go for something that didn't happen or happened differently than was suggested, that is wrongful dismissal. If it feels like a false charge just for an excuse for firing you, then you must seek legal advice, rather than trying to fight on your own.

A lawyer will clear your name of the false accusations or charges and help you get compensation for the lost job, wages and other stress and hardship. There may even be charges laid against your employer or manager.

The burden of proof will be on the employer or manager, and that will be difficult for them to come up with, as it is false. Any proof they manufacture will be considered illegal.

Our Jobs, Our Life

Sometimes just trying to find a suitable job that we don't despise and allows us a livable wage is just too hard. When we finally find that job, just to lose it through no fault of our own is devastating.

We all deserve to go to work and provide for our family. Too often, we live from paycheck to paycheck, and to have that taken away from us can be catastrophic for us and our families.

Laws for workplace health and safety are put in place for a reason, and a violation of those against us needs to be addressed. All too often, people are removed from their employment for no good reason and don't take action.

This leaves the employer with the notion it is okay, and they will continue to repeat themselves. It is not okay, and you have rights and are due compensation. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of wrongful dismissal, contact a lawyer and fight for your job.