How Long Does Probate Take In Alberta?

How Long Does Probate Take In Alberta

A grant of probate is a court order confirming the validity of a will and the authority of the executor or personal representative to carry out the instructions of the deceased as set out in the will.

It is common for people acting as personal representatives to have many questions about probate and the process for probating a will in Alberta. Our Edmonton wills and estates lawyers can answer all of your questions relating to probate, including how long does probate take in Alberta?

Do You Need A Grant Of Probate?

Probating a will is not always necessary. As a personal representative or executor, you will need a grant of probate in order to transfer any real property that forms part of the estate of the deceased. Financial institutions may also require you to produce a grant of probate before they allow you to dispose of financial assets.

Real property that is owned in joint tenancy transfers automatically to the remaining tenant upon the death of one tenant and therefore does not form part of the deceased’s estate. Financial assets that have a named beneficiary, such as RRSPs, similarly do not form part of the estate.

If you are unsure, you can ask a financial institution if they will require you to probate the will in order to access the accounts of the deceased. Depending on the assets that the deceased owned, you may not require a grant of probate.

Even if you do not need to probate the will in order to distribute the estate, you may still need to apply for a grant if someone is challenging the validity of the will.

How Do You Probate A Will?

Applying for a grant of probate is a relatively simple process. You must:

  • fill out the appropriate application forms, which are known as the “surrogate forms
  • publish a notice in the newspaper for those with potential claims against the estate
  • serve notice of the application on the beneficiaries named in the will and other individuals as required by law
  • file the completed forms with the court
  • wait for the court to respond to your application.

How Long Does Probate Take?

In Alberta, it can take between several weeks and several months for the court to review your application and issue a grant of probate. The court calls you when the grant is ready, you pay the appropriate fee, and then you can pick up the grant and any certified copies that you have requested.

How Long Is Too Long?

Other than waiting for a response from the court, the other part of the probate process that may take some time is gathering all the information necessary to complete the surrogate forms. It can be difficult to make a complete list of the assets and debts of the deceased if the deceased did not keep a list somewhere. However, a personal representative is expected to be able to carry out the instructions in the will within a year of the testator’s death in most cases.

If you suspect that the personal representative of a particular estate is failing to live up to their responsibilities at your expense, there are steps you can take. Contact one of our Edmonton

estate lawyers to discuss how long probate takes in Alberta and other questions relating to wills and estates.

Contact Verhaeghe Law Office’s Wills and Estates Lawyers Today For Legal Advice On Probate in Alberta

If you require legal assistance from an Edmonton wills and estates lawyer, contact our law firm to book a consultation. Verhaeghe Law Office is proud to represent clients across Alberta. Contact our team of Edmonton estate lawyers or call us today by dialling (587) 410-2500.

*Disclaimer: Please note that this article is intended to provide a general overview of the legal topic and does not constitute legal advice. For advice regarding your legal matter, please consult with an Edmonton estate lawyer.

What Are The Roles And Responsibilities Of An Estate Trustee?

What Are The Roles And Responsibilities Of An Estate Trustee?

When an adult lacks the capacity to make their own financial decisions, the court can appoint a trustee to make those decisions on their behalf. Ideally, the trustee will be a friend or relative, but the Office of the Public Trustee can be appointed if there are no other options.

The court will try to find the least intrusive and restrictive method for offering decision-making support to a potentially vulnerable adult. Options such as supported decision-making and co-decision-making should be explored before you apply to the court for a trusteeship order. If you are new to the role of trustee, our Edmonton estate lawyers can help you understand what the roles and responsibilities of an estate trustee are.

Types Of Decisions A Trustee Can Make

A trustee can make decisions relating to:

  • the adult’s investments
  • paying the adult’s bills and living expenses
  • applying for financial benefits (such as pension or workers’ compensation benefits) on behalf of the adult.

A trustee can only sell real estate owned by the adult, including the adult’s home, with the express permission of the court.

Types Of Decisions A Trustee Cannot Make

A trustee cannot make personal decisions affecting the adult, such as decisions relating to:

  • healthcare and medical treatment
  • living arrangements
  • recreation
  • education.

If an adult requires support in these areas, the court will appoint an adult guardian. The court may appoint the same person to be both the trustee and the adult guardian of the adult in need of support.

The Responsibilities Of The Trustee

As a newly appointed trustee, you should be familiar with:

The court order and the trusteeship plan may include restrictions, requirements or permissions (such as the sale of real property) specific to your situation. The Act and regulations set out general requirements for acting as the trustee of a represented adult.

Upon appointment, you should notify the relevant institutions such as:

  • banks
  • insurance companies
  • government departments providing financial benefits to the adult
  • private pensions
  • utilities
  • Canada Revenue Agency
  • long-term care home or other residence (if applicable).

They will need a copy of the court order appointing you as trustee.

Make sure that you keep your own money separate from the represented adult’s money. Eventually, you will need to provide an account (either to the court or to the personal representative of the adult’s estate when the adult dies) of your activities as the trustee. Good bookkeeping is vital. It may be worthwhile to use a professional bookkeeper or accountant.

Details regarding your compensation (if you asked for compensation) must be set out in the trusteeship plan that was approved by the court. If you have any out-of-pocket expenses, however, you can take reimbursement directly from the estate without specific approval from the court.

Contact Verhaeghe Law Office’s Edmonton Estate Lawyers Today For Legal Advice On Estate Administration In Alberta

Our Edmonton estate lawyers can help you avoid any pitfalls as you learn about your new role. Contact us today to learn more about what the roles and responsibilities are of an estate trustee. Or give us a call today by dialling (587) 410-2500.

*Disclaimer: Please note that this article is not intended to act as legal advice; it merely provides a general overview of the legal topic. For advice regarding your legal matter, please consult with an Edmonton estate lawyer.

An Overview Of Section 7 Of The Federal Child Support Guidelines And What Constitutes Child Support Expenses

An Overview Of Section 7 Of The Federal Child Support Guidelines And What Constitutes Child Support Expenses

The Federal Child Support Guidelines contain tables that enable families to determine an appropriate amount of base child support for their situation based on:

  • the income of the paying parent
  • the number of children
  • the province in which the children live.

This base child support amount is a starting point only. The tables do not account for certain expenses that parents might incur for their children. These special or extraordinary expenses are addressed under Section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines.

Every family will have different child-related expenses. Some expenses will be covered by the base child support and others may not. Our Edmonton family lawyers can provide you with an overview of section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines and help analyze what constitutes appropriate child support expenses in your situation.

How To Determine If An Expense Is Extraordinary

All special or extraordinary expenses should be both necessary (in the child’s best interests) and reasonable given the family’s financial situation.

Whether or not an expense should be included as a section 7 expense will depend on:

  • the nature of the expense and why it is incurred (for example, child care expenses incurred so a parent can work would be included, but child care expenses incurred for personal reasons would not)
  • whether the parent who incurs the expense can reasonably afford the expense (or the total expenses for the child) based on their income, including whatever base child support they receive
  • the family’s total income in relation to the expense (for example, private school tuition may be a reasonable expense for some families with a higher total income)
  • spending patterns before the separation or divorce (if an expense was incurred for a child before the parents separated, it will likely be considered a reasonable expense for that family)
  • a child’s special needs or special talents.

Common Section 7 Expenses

Expenses that parents incur that are commonly identified as extraordinary expenses include:

  • child care
  • health-related expenses such as eyeglasses, dental or orthodontic work that are not covered by insurance
  • post-secondary education
  • extracurricular activities
  • primary or secondary school education such as tuition for private school, tutoring or field trips
  • health-insurance premiums.

Calculating Your Share Of Section 7 Expenses

Who pays for section 7 expenses? Generally, these expenses are shared by the parents in proportion to their relative incomes. A good agreement relating to child support expenses will set out:

  • the expenses the parents agree are special or extraordinary
  • the approximate annual amount they intend or expect to spend on each special expense
  • who will incur the special expense and when payments must be made
  • how and when the parents will share the special expense.

In Alberta, the Maintenance Enforcement Program will enforce the payment of section 7 expenses, but court orders concerning these expenses must meet a certain level of specificity. Contact our Edmonton family law lawyers to ensure that you understand section 7 of the Federal Child Support Guidelines and what constitutes child support expenses.

Contact Verhaeghe Law Office’s Family and Divorce Lawyers Today For Legal Advice On What Constitutes Child Support Expenses

If you require legal assistance from an Edmonton family lawyer, contact our law firm to book a consultation. Our Edmonton lawyers are proud to represent clients across Alberta. Verhaeghe Law has offices in Edmonton, Athabasca, and Whitecourt making it easier for residents of Alberta to access our services. Contact us today.

*Disclaimer: Please note the content prescribed in this article is only intended to act as a general overview on a legal topic. For specific legal guidance regarding family, we recommend you consult with an Edmonton family law lawyer for legal advice, as each situation is unique.

What Is Base Child Support?

What Is Base Child Support?

In Canada, child support is divided into:

  • base child support, which is intended to go towards basic childcare expenses such as food, shelter and clothing, and
  • extraordinary expenses, to which some parents may be entitled, depending on the particular expenses they have to incur for their child. For example, medical expenses or child care expenses may be considered extraordinary.

Our Edmonton family law lawyers can help you to determine what is base child support and calculate the amounts that apply in your family’s situation.

Who Is Entitled To Base Child Support?

An adult who has the care and control of a child for the majority of the time is entitled to receive base child support from the child’s parent or parents.

How Is Base Child Support Calculated?

The Federal Child Support Guidelines and the Alberta Child Support Guidelines provide tables that are used to calculate the amount of child support that must be paid based on:

  • the number of children
  • the province in which the children live
  • the before-tax income of the parent paying child support.

The Guidelines help ensure that the child support laws are applied uniformly and fairly across the province and across the country. A court is required to make an order for child support that matches the table amount unless:

  • the paying parent earns over $150,000 per year, in which case the court may exercise some flexibility, or
  • either the receiving parent or the paying parent makes a successful claim that the table amount will cause them undue hardship.

What If The Children Live With Both Parents?

It is very common for children to spend approximately equal time with both parents. This is called shared custody. In this case, the base amount of child support is calculated for each parent and the amounts are set-off against each other, with the higher-income parent paying the difference to the parent with the lower income.

Sometimes one child lives with one parent and another child lives with the other parent. This is called split custody. In these situations, base child support is calculated for each parent using the table and the amounts owed are set-off against each other. Which parent ends up paying child support depends on the number of children who reside with each parent and the respective incomes of the parents.

How Do You Receive Child Support?

Calculating child support is fairly straight-forward in most cases. As a result, many parents are able to come to an agreement with respect to the amount of child support that one will pay to the other.

Complications may arise if the parent paying child support is self-employed, has one-time sources of income or has income that fluctuates significantly from year to year or where one parent is deliberately unemployed or underemployed. In these cases, it may be necessary to obtain a court order.

Contact Verhaeghe Law Office’s Edmonton Divorce And Family Law Lawyers Today For Legal Advice On Child Support

Our Edmonton family lawyers can help you to negotiate an agreement or apply for a court order for child support. Contact us today to learn more about what is base child support and what it means for your family. Or give us a call today by dialling (587) 410-2500.

*Disclaimer: Please note that this article is not intended to act as legal advice; it merely provides a general overview of the legal topic. For advice regarding your legal matter, please consult with an Edmonton divorce and family law lawyer.

The Importance Of A Power Of Attorney And Personal Directive

The Importance Of A Power Of Attorney And Personal Directive

You may be aware that you should prepare a will in order to protect your family from uncertainty upon your death. But do you know that an enduring power of attorney and a personal directive are equally important?

Our Edmonton estate lawyers can help you to protect your family and will fully explain the importance of a power of attorney and personal directive, contact our team today.

Enduring Power Of Attorney

The enduring power of attorney grants a specific person the authority to make financial decisions for you. You can decide when it comes into effect (either immediately or if/when you lose capacity). Capacity, or mental capacity, means the ability to understand what property and financial obligations you have, what authority you have given to your attorney and the risks involved.

If you want your power of attorney to come into effect when you lose capacity, you must indicate who can make a written declaration that you have lost capacity (for example, your family physician). If you neglect to include such a statement, it will be necessary for your attorney to obtain written declarations from two different doctors in order to prove that you have lost capacity.

Once your power of attorney comes into effect, it continues until:

  • either you or your attorney die (you can name an alternate attorney, who can take over in the event your attorney can no longer continue to act)
  • you revoke it
  • the court cancels it or makes an order for trusteeship.

The power of attorney gives your attorney the ability to do your day-to-day banking and pay your bills. Depending on what financial interests you have, your attorney may also need to be responsible for:

  • dealing with real estate interests
  • filing tax returns and making tax-related decisions
  • dealing with a business (either keeping it running, selling it or winding it up)
  • using your financial assets to support you and your family
  • hiring and getting advice from lawyers, accountants or other professionals as necessary.

When choosing an attorney, keep in mind the extent of the job you are giving them and try to determine whether they have the time and the ability to do it well.

Personal Directive

A personal directive is similar to a power of attorney, but instead of financial matters, it covers personal matters. Your personal directive gives a specific person, known as your agent, the ability to make personal decisions for you in the event that you become unable to make them yourself. Personal decisions may include:

  • where you live
  • medical treatments and personal care that you receive
  • who cares for your minor children
  • other choices about what you do on a daily basis.

If you like, you can include specific instructions for your agent about what you would or would not wish to happen in specific circumstances, but it is not necessary.

What Happens If You Do Not Have A Power Of Attorney Or Personal Directive?

If you don’t have a power of attorney or personal directive and you lose capacity due to an illness or accident, your family may need to apply to the court to have them assign:

  • a trustee to make financial decisions, and
  • a guardian to make personal decisions.

Court applications cost money and can take time, and your family might be in a bad financial situation if they don’t have access to sufficient funds to meet all of your ongoing obligations. If you need emergency medical treatment, the hospital may ask a relative to make those decisions on your behalf and they may not ask the person you would have picked to be your agent.

Contact Verhaeghe Law Office’s Edmonton Estate Lawyers Today For Legal Advice On Estate Administration in Alberta

Verhaeghe Law Office’s team of estate lawyers are prepared to assist you with your estate administration legal matters. Book a consultation with our team of Edmonton estate lawyers today. Or give us a call by dialling (587) 410-2500.

*Disclaimer: Please note that this article provides a general overview of the legal topic, and is not intended to constitute legal advice. For legal assistance with estate administration matters, please consult an Edmonton estate lawyer.

The Differences Between A Guardian And A Trustee In Alberta

5 Benefits Of A Prenuptial Agreement

Whether due to illness or injury, it is not uncommon to have a family member who becomes incapable of making all of their own decisions. This can range from needing a little bit of help making sure they remember to pay their bills, to requiring someone to decide when to sell their home and move them into a care facility.

The person’s needs will dictate whether they need a guardian, a trustee or both. Our Edmonton estate lawyers can answer any questions you have regarding the differences between a guardian and a trustee in Alberta.

What Is A Guardian?

The term guardian can refer to an adult who has the care of a minor child. An adult guardianship, however, is when an adult has the authority to make personal decisions for another adult who lacks the capacity to make those decisions for themselves.

What Is A Trustee?

A trustee is a person who has been assigned to make financial decisions for an adult who lacks the capacity to make their own decisions. A trustee is often a friend or relative of the vulnerable person, but a trust company or the public trustee may be assigned if there is no friend or relative willing to take on the task, or if the person’s financial situation is particularly complicated.

How Are Guardians And Trustees Assigned?

A court must assign either a guardian or a trustee. Sometimes a person will require both and the court can assign a different person to each role, or one person to perform both functions.

In order to apply to the court for a trusteeship order, a capacity assessment must be completed by a specified healthcare professional. The court will also want to see a background check on any proposed trustees. The entire process of obtaining a trusteeship or guardianship order takes about six months.

If there is an urgent financial matter that needs to be dealt with, the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee may be able to help by obtaining a temporary trusteeship or guardianship on a short-term basis or an order to deal with a specific problem.

What Are The Powers Of Guardians And Trustees?

A guardian can only make personal decisions for the person in question. They can make decisions about where the person will live, who they will interact with, and make decisions related to healthcare, education and recreation.

A trustee can only make decisions about a person’s finances. They can help pay bills, manage investments and apply for pension or disability benefits on the person’s behalf. The trustee must have express permission from the court in order to sell the person’s home or any other real estate.

What Is A Review Of A Guardianship Or Trusteeship?

A trusteeship can be reviewed by the court. This can be done at the request of the trustee or a concerned party. A trusteeship order may come with a predetermined review date or a deadline for examination and approval of the trusteeship accounts, which means that the court wants the opportunity to examine the records that the trustee has been keeping to make sure they are doing a good job.

An adult guardianship can also be reviewed. A review date may be built into the guardianship order or a review may become necessary if the adult under guardianship has a change in capacity (requiring more or less support) or their needs change for some other reason.

Can You Avoid The Need To Have A Guardian Or Trustee Assigned?

A person with a personal directive does not need to have an adult guardian assigned by the court. Similarly, a person with an enduring power of attorney will not need a trustee, provided the enduring power of attorney does not come to an end when the person loses decision-making capacity. Our lawyers can help you distinguish the differences between a guardian and a trustee in Alberta. Contact our team today for more information.

Contact Verhaeghe Law Office’s Edmonton Estate Lawyers Today For Legal Advice On Estate Administration in Alberta

If you require legal assistance from an Edmonton estate lawyer, contact our law firm to book a consultation. Our lawyers are proud to represent clients across Alberta. You can schedule a consultation today by dialling (587) 410-2500.

*Disclaimer: Please note that this article is intended to act as a general overview of a legal topic, and is not intended to constitute legal advice. For legal assistance with estate matters, please consult an Edmonton estate lawyer.

5 things to know when buying a pre-construction house in Alberta

55 things to know when buying a pre-construction house in Alberta

There are certainly advantages to buying a pre-construction home, not the least of which is that you get a brand-new home that (hopefully) requires no repairs or updating and is covered by warranty. Many pre-construction homes can also be customized so that you end up with exactly the finishings you want.

If you are considering this path to home ownership, here are 5 things to know when buying a pre-construction house in Alberta:

1. Be sure you know what you are buying

Pre-construction homes are often bought after viewing plans or a model home, but these models often include upgrades that are not included in the base price of the home. If you are not paying for the upgraded finishes, you should look at samples of the finishes that will be included in your home before you sign an agreement.

Landscaping is often not included in the price of a pre-construction home and can be a significant additional expense. Also, keep in mind that buying in a new subdivision may mean that construction will be ongoing in your neighbourhood for years after you move in.

2. Be prepared to wait

The fact that a pre-construction home has not been built yet means that you will not be moving in anytime soon. In fact, it might be two or three years before you can move into your new home. While this might be acceptable for some, it does mean that pre-construction is not for everyone. Your circumstances might change significantly in three years, so take that into account before you sign a purchase agreement. Ask whether the agreement can be assigned to someone else if your life has moved in a different direction when the time comes to close on the deal.

3. Do your research

Builders in Alberta need to be licensed by the government in order to build new homes. You can search the registry to make sure that the builder you are dealing with is properly licensed. The registry was set up to protect Albertans from untrustworthy builders, so take advantage!

4. Consult a lawyer before you sign a purchase agreement

When you sign that agreement, it is legally binding on both you and the builder. You can be sure that the builder had their lawyers draft the agreement and that it is generally favourable to them. Before you sign, have your own real estate lawyer take a look to ensure that you know exactly what you are agreeing to.

Your lawyer will make sure you are aware of:

  • any additional fees that you are responsible for on top of the purchase price
  • your liability to pay GST (it is charged on new homes in Alberta, but you are entitled to a rebate if the home will be your principle residence)
  • what you need to do to make a claim under your new home warranty and when you need to do it.

5. Know your rights under your new home warranty

All builders of new homes in Alberta must provide new home warranty coverage. The government has mandated minimum coverage, but some builders offer additional coverage. Make sure that you understand the coverage attached to your new home and arrange for periodic inspections well in advance of any coverage expiry dates so that you can make any necessary claims.

Our Edmonton real estate lawyers are here to help with all of your pre-construction purchase needs. For legal advice and representation on your purchase , contact us today! Our Edmonton real estate lawyers will be pleased to speak with you.

5 things to be aware of as a first-time home buyer in Alberta

5 things to be aware of as a first-time home buyer in Alberta

Whether you have been saving up for a down payment for years or you have just recently decided to take the plunge into home ownership, you have likely realized that there is a surplus of educational material directed at first-time home buyers. Do you need to know it all?

Don’t worry! While there is a lot you do need to know, there are also professionals, such as our Edmonton real estate lawyers, who are available to help and make sure that your first home buying experience is a good one!

To get you started, here are 5 things to be aware of as a first-time home buyer in Alberta:

1. Mortgage Basics

The size of mortgage that you qualify for and the size of the down payment you have saved will dictate the amount you can afford to spend on a home.

In general, your ability to qualify for a mortgage is dependent on:

  • your income
  • your credit rating
  • the size of your down payment in relation to the total purchase price of the property.

Over the life of your mortgage, the amount you spend on interest is likely to be significant, so it is probably worth your while to shop around for the best interest rate available to you.

2. Canada’s Home Buyer’s Plan

The Home Buyer’s Plan allows you to withdraw up to $35,000 from your RRSP to use for a down payment on a home without triggering any income tax on the funds as long as you repay the amount you withdraw over a 15 year period. There is a minimum amount you must repay each year or risk triggering income taxes on that amount.

In order to qualify for the Home Buyer’s Plan, you must be a first-time home buyer.

3. First-time home buyer incentives and tax credits

As a first-time home buyer, there are several incentives and tax credits for which you might qualify, including:

  • the federal first-time home buyer incentive, which is a 5% (or 10% for new construction) shared equity mortgage with the Government of Canada
  • the first-time home buyer’s tax credit, which is a $5,000 non-refundable tax credit that can provide you with a total tax rebate of up to $750

4. GST rebate for new housing

If you are considering purchasing a newly built home from a builder, you may be put off by the idea of having to pay an additional 5% on top of the purchase price for GST. But as long as you intend your new home to be your primary residence, then you should be entitled to a rebate from the federal government.

Corporations and partnerships are not entitled to the GST rebate for new homes, so you must buy and register your new home in your name in order to qualify.

4. Why you need a lawyer

In Alberta, a lawyer must be involved in the purchase and sale of land. Your lawyer will:

  • make sure the transfer of land is legal and binding
  • initiate the process of registering the land in your name
  • facilitate the transfer of the down payment to the seller
  • adjust the purchase price to account for the property taxes in the year of sale.

For more information on these 5 thing to be aware of as a first-time home buyer in Alberta, contact one of our Edmonton real estate lawyers today. Please remember the content in this article is only intended to act as a general overview on a legal topic and does not constitute legal advice. For more specific legal advice please consult with a real estate lawyer today.

Tips on how to navigate child custody arrangements

Tips on how to navigate child custody arrangements

Separation and divorce can bring significant changes, particularly to families with children. As a parent, you want to proceed in a way that will enable your child to continue to grow and develop in an optimal environment. But figuring out what that means in the face of such massive disruptions can take some work.

Our divorce and family lawyers can walk you through the specifics of your family situation and offer tips on how to navigate child custody arrangements in Alberta.

Guardianship, parenting orders and contact orders

In Alberta, child custody and guardianship matters are governed by either:

Neither Act uses the term “custody” anymore. “Parenting time” is now used to describe the time a child spends in the physical custody of a parent or guardian.

Typically, if a child’s parents were in a relationship and parenting the child together, they each remain a guardian of that child after their separation unless a court makes an order indicating otherwise. If a child has two guardians and they are unable to agree with respect to any aspect of parenting the child, the court will issue a parenting order, which will allocate the rights and responsibilities of the guardians and allocate parenting time as necessary.

The court also has the ability to issue a contact order in cases where it considers it is in the best interests of the child to maintain a relationship with a non-parent (often a grandparent) and where the child’s guardian or guardians have been unwilling to ensure the relationship is preserved.

Negotiating an agreement

There are many decisions, both large and small, that need to be made on a regular basis when parenting a child. If you and your spouse are able to agree with respect to parenting matters, you should be in a good position moving forward.

Even if you and your spouse are in complete agreement with respect to the children, consider having a written agreement drawn up. Complete flexibility is bound to cause frustration eventually. It is easier to agree to a proposed change to the established parenting schedule than to renegotiate the parenting schedule from scratch on a weekly basis.

Also, remember that your life and your spouse’s life may change down the road. Your spouse may be accommodating to your schedule now, but that may change in a year or two when they have a new spouse and additional children or step-children to take into account.

You can have the terms of a written agreement made into a court order, which makes it easier for the court to enforce if necessary.

Court orders

Not all parents are able to agree with respect to what is best for their children. If necessary, you can ask the court to make an order dealing with various aspects of guardianship or parenting time.

A parenting order can specify what decisions may need to be made with respect to a child and which parent will make them. If decisions must be made together, an order may include some kind of dispute resolution process for dealing with conflicts. A parenting order can also include a schedule setting out each parent’s parenting time with the child.

Parenting orders can be changed as your child gets older and their needs change. This can be done either by agreement or by applying to the court for the necessary change.

Whatever stage your family is at in the divorce or separation process, you can contact our family lawyers for tips on how to navigate child custody arrangements.

Five things to consider when starting a business

Five things to consider when starting a business

Starting a business is a busy and exciting time. It is easy to get caught up in implementing the great ideas that you have for your business and overlook some key legal considerations.

Our corporate and commercial law professionals can walk you through the details relevant to starting your business so that you can get started on the right foot and protect your investment over the long term.

Five things to consider when starting a business include:

1. How will your business be structured?

The three basic business structures are:

  • corporation
  • partnership
  • sole proprietorship.

A corporation provides some protection against personal liability, but comes with some additional expenses and there are various jurisdictions in which you can decide to register. A partnership is only an option if you have a partner. A sole proprietorship may be the best option for a small business with fewer anticipated liability issues.

2. What tax considerations do you need to be aware of?

You will most likely need to register with the federal government for a GST/HST number and be prepared to collect and remit GST. In Alberta, the current GST rate is 5% and there is no provincial sales tax.

The way your business pays you may affect the personal income tax that you incur. For example, if you decided to register your business as a corporation, you have the option of paying yourself a salary, dividends or a combination of the two. The choice you make will have different consequences for the income taxes paid both by yourself and by the corporation.

3. Do you need to hire employees?

Having an employee comes with its own list of legal considerations, including the need to be familiar with:

  • requirements surrounding withholding taxes and remitting them to the government
  • employment or labour laws and your responsibilities as an employer
  • worker safety requirements and workers’ compensation laws
  • any mandatory certification, training or registration with regulatory bodies that your employees must have
  • hiring practices and human rights considerations.

4. What licenses and permits do you need?

Most towns require that you obtain a business licence in order to carry on business of any kind in that town. This is likely true even for home-based businesses or if your business is based in another town.

Depending on the nature of your business, you may need a number of other permits and licenses in order to do business. For example, if you intend to open a bar, you will need a liquor licence. There are various classes of licence, depending on which specific services your business will provide.

5. What are your insurance and liability concerns?

Depending on the needs of your business, your insurance needs may vary from protecting your inventory from accidental damage to protecting your business from professional liability claims. Having adequate insurance is vital to protecting the time and money that you invest in your business.

Depending on the nature of the business you plan on starting, you may have different concerns than the above listed five things to consider when starting a business. Contact our corporate and commercial law team today to arrange for a consultation!