How to Avoid Probate Fees

Benjamin Franklin once said “in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” However, if he knew that Probate Fees must be paid in order to obtain a Grant of Probate or Administration, he might have added “Probate Fees” to his words. Was he wrong in not including Probate Fees to one of the things that are certain in this world? This article explores whether it is possible to avoid paying Probate Fees and if not, ways to minimize Probate Fees.

Continue reading →

What is Probate?

Have you ever heard phrases like “Probate an estate,” “Probate a Will,” “applying for Probate,” or “Grant of Probate”? Have you ever wondered what these phrases mean, whether they are referring to the same thing or whether they are referring to different things? If the answer is yes, you have come to the right place.

Continue reading →

What are the benefits of incorporation?

To a person living in the 19th century, an apple could have meant only one thing, the fruit. To Sir Isaac Newton, an apple meant the Universal Law of Gravitation. To us, or at least to me, an apple could mean the fruit or the new IPhone. As everyone knows, Apple is a company manufacturing consumer electronics, such as smart phones, computers, and tablets. Also, Apple is an incorporated company. Although I do think Apple’s success is due in large part to its hard working employees and Steve Jobs, I wonder if the form of organization Apple has adopted allowed Apple to be so successful. Then, you may ask: “what is an incorporated company?” You may also ask: “what are the benefits of incorporation?” In today’s article, I will attempt to answer these questions. However, be warned, I am not Steve Jobs. Continue reading →

Forms of Business in British Columbia

You may have heard your friend or family member saying that they are carrying on business as a sole proprietor or as a partner. You may also know a friend or family member who is a shareholder of a company or you may be a shareholder yourself. However, what does it mean to be a sole proprietor, a partner or a shareholder? What are the differences? Most of all, why does it matter? In today’s article, we will answer those questions.

Continue reading →

If I paid the down payment on the house from money I had before the relationship started, do we have to split the family house equally in the case of separation or divorce?

People often wonder in the case of separation what happens to the family home if one spouse contributed money they had before the relationship to the purchase of the family home. They wonder if their down payment on the family home will be divided when they separate or divorce or if it will be excluded from the division of family property.
Continue reading →

New Brochure on What to Do When a Death Occurs in Your Family

For any family, a death is extremely difficult to cope with. Not only family members will be emotionally devastated by the loss of their loved one, but some families will find themselves financially impacted by the loss. Also, families are often puzzled on what they should do following a death. In order to help you in this very difficult time, we created the brochure to provide you with some of the crucial information you need to know when a death occurs.

Continue reading →

Free New BC Child Support & Spousal Support Calculator

In order to help ensure that support payments are fair, the government of Canada has published two different guidelines, the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines (for Spousal Support) and the Federal Child Support Guidelines (for Child Support). The calculations involved in these guidelines are complicated, and we want to make it as easy for you as possible. We have developed a Free BC Child Support and Spousal Support Calculator to help with this. Continue reading →

What You Need to Know About the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act

On May 26, 2014 we gave a free lecture at the People’s Law School in Vancouver on What You Need to Know About the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act. It was well attended with financial services professionals, accountants and interested members of the general public. For those who were unable to attend, this article will give you a brief overview of the lecture on the Proceeds of Crime (Money Laundering) and Terrorist Financing Act.
Continue reading →

Why a Prenuptial Agreement or Cohabitation Agreement is Essential under the Family Law Act

The new Family Law Act “FLA” which came into force in March 2013 modernized the law on family relationships. The FLA is a substantial shift from the previous law – the Family Relations Act. This article will deal with the new property division regimes under the FLA and why a prenuptial agreement or cohabitation agreement is essential for any party with assets and/or children from a previous relationship. Continue reading →

The Importance of the Financial Advisor in the Collaborative Divorce Process

The financial advisor is an important element to a successful Collaborative Divorce  process. Collaborative Divorce is a process that divorcing or separating spouses use to resolve issues resulting from the breakdown of their relationship. The goal in Collaborative Divorce is to resolve these issues in a non adversarial manner. The aim is to minimize or eliminate negative economic, social, and emotional consequences of litigation on those involved and their families. Continue reading →

Mediation as an Alternative to Court

Mediation is growing fast as an alternative to court. Not only in resolving civil disputes  such as ICBC claims, workplace disputes, estate disputes and business disputes to name just a few, but in all aspects of human conflict. In Small Claims Court, mediation is often the first step in the court process. Also, under the recent Family Law Act, mediation and Alternative Dispute Resolution “ADR” is encouraged as an alternative and preferred way to resolve family disputes. Continue reading →

How to File for Separation in BC

Your relationship has ended and you wish to separate. You may be wondering how to file for separation in BC.

Live Separate & Apart

Well in BC there is no legal requirement to file for separation with a court. Separation is a question of fact. Are you living separate and apart from your spouse? If the answer is yes I am living a separate life from my spouse, then you are separated. Living separate does not necessarily mean that you are living in a different home than your spouse. It does however mean that you are staying in different rooms, and are not living as a couple. You must be living two separate lives, even if you are in the same house. There is no legal requirement to file for separation in BC to indicate that you are separated. Continue reading →

Tips on How to Represent Yourself in Court

You have decided to represent yourself in court. You need to know how to do it. Here are some tips on how to represent yourself in court that may prove to be beneficial for you.

Tip #1: Dress for Success

I am sure you have heard about the importance of dressing for success in the work place. You must also do that in the court room. Judges and jurors make first impressions based on how you look and present yourself. Keep that in mind when you are in the court room. The proper attire for a man or woman is business attire, such as a suit. If you don’t have a suit, a blazer or sports jacket with slacks, dress shirt and tie for a man and for a woman conservative business attire. Continue reading →

Secret Ways Top Lawyers Prepare for Court

If you are planning to represent yourself in court then learning the secret ways top lawyers prepare for court will be crucial to your success.

It does not matter if you are preparing for a hearing in front of a judge or a full blown trial. Preparation is the single most important step in being successful in court.

Here are some of the secret ways top lawyers prepare for court: Continue reading →

Dispute Resolution

In the practice of law it seems that almost all lawyers do is draft agreements in anticipation of a dispute or dealing with a client who has a dispute with another party. Typically, as a lawyer if a client has a dispute we tend to write some sort of threatening letter and if no satisfactory resolution is found then we commence court action. This adversarial approach to dispute resolution may not necessarily be the best approach for clients.
Continue reading →

6 Techniques Lawyers Use to Persuade Judges and Jurors

Lawyers are paid to convince others. Whether they are convincing a judge that a defendant is guilty or they are defending their own client’s position, one thing is for certain: they must be persuasive. In fact, a lawyer’s success is directly correlated to their ability to convince. The more judges and jurors they are able to sway in their direction, the more cases they will win and the more money they will make. Continue reading →

How to Divorce

How to divorce is an important question when you wish to terminate your marriage.

Obtain a Court Order

In answer to the question, how to divorce: in order to get a divorce you will need to obtain an order from a judge granting you the divorce.

You may now be wondering how to get this order from a judge granting you the divorce. In British Columbia you would file completed court forms with the Supreme Court of B.C. seeking an order for divorce. The preliminary court form filed with the Supreme Court is called a Notice of Family Claim.
Continue reading →

How to File for Divorce

One of the first questions I am asked as a lawyer is how to file for divorce. The answer is, it depends. Are you filing for an Uncontested Divorce or Contested Divorce?

An Uncontested Divorce, often referred to as a “Bench Order Divorce” or “Desk Order Divorce,” is commenced when all outstanding issues arising out of the marriage have been resolved and the only order sought is that of divorce. This type of filing for divorce is preferred as it is not adversarial, faster and a lot cheaper. In order to go through this divorce process all outstanding issues resulting from the marriage such as, child guardianship, child support, spousal support, property division etc. have to be dealt with prior to filing for divorce.
Continue reading →