Frequently Asked Questions

GENERAL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

MEDIATION FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

FAMILY LAW FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WILLS AND ESTATES FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

BUSINESS FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

GENERAL

How do you charge for your services?

Our fees are either based on an hourly rate, our hourly rate is $295.00, or a flat fee depending on the type of legal services required. We try our best to give our clients the certainty they need with respect to their legal costs.

How long have you been in practice?

The principal of our firm, Mark-John O’Nions, has been a practicing member of the Law Society of British Columbia since 1997.

What areas of law do you practice?

The Law Firm of M.J. O’Nions practices Family Law, Wills & Estates, Mediation and Business Law.

How long on average does it take for you to respond to emails/phone calls?

Absent extraordinary circumstances, your email or call will be returned within the same business day.

What financial aid options are available if I cannot afford the legal fees?

In British Columbia, you may qualify for legal aid in certain matters, such as serious family law issues or criminal law issues, if you cannot afford legal fees. Please see legalaid.bc.ca for more information.

Do you provide detailed written statements of fees?

We provide a detailed written statement of fees setting out the work done and the total hours spent by us at the conclusion of our services. If we have been retained to provide services to you over a period of time, we will provide you a written statement of fees periodically until our services are concluded.

Will you have enough time to deal with my problem quickly?

Yes, we at M.J. O’Nions Lawyer & Mediator pride ourselves at our quick response times. We take a client focused approach to the practice of law, focusing on our clients’ needs and objectives. We employ the latest technology to ensure that we provide timely services to our clients.

How should I present myself in court?

When you attend court, you should dress appropriately, which means professional attire. It shows a sign of respect to the court and helps convey credibility. Please see our blog article entitled Tips on How to Represent Yourself in Court for more information.

What is the maximum I can pursue in Small Claims Court?

The maximum amount you can pursue in Small Claims Court in British Columbia is $25,000.

Can a legally binding contract be made by email communication?

Yes, a legally binding contract need not be in writing, however, having an agreement in writing or in correspondence provides evidence to the facts or terms of the agreement.

MEDIATION

What is Family Mediation?

Family Mediation is an alternative to the traditional court process in order to resolve disputes. Family Mediation is the process by which a neutral third party, the “Family Mediator,” assists people to resolve their dispute and reach a voluntary settlement of matters of issue between them relating to their marriage, cohabitation, separation, or divorce. A  Family Mediator is not a judge, he or she helps people to negotiate a fair settlement of their dispute that meets everyone’s interests. Please see our page on Family Mediation for more information.

How can Family Mediation help me?

Family Mediation can help you in the following ways:

  • Family Mediation can save you money compared to litigating in court.
  • Family Mediation will save you time as opposed to a lengthy court process.
  • With Family Mediation you participate in the resolution of your dispute as opposed to having a judge impose a decision for you.
  • People are more inclined to adhere to the agreement or resolution achieved through Family Mediation than from the decision of a judge.
  • Family Mediation is a confidential process between the parties, it does not form part of the public record like a court application.
  • The Family Mediation process is less adversarial without the win or loss at court, which leads to a greater chance of preserving relationships.

Please visit our page on Family Mediation for more information.

What are some questions which may be asked in Family Mediation?

Some of the questions that may be asked in Family Mediation relate to the following topics:

  • Family and personal Assets and debts;
  • Child and spousal support;
  • Custody/Guardianship of children; and
  • Allocation of parenting time and parental responsibilities;

Please visit our page on Family Mediation for more information.

What is Civil Mediation?

Civil Mediation is an alternative to the traditional court process in order to resolve disputes. Civil Mediation is the process by which a neutral third party, the “Civil Mediator,” assists people to resolve their dispute and reach a voluntary settlement. A Civil Mediator is not a judge, he or she helps people to negotiate a fair settlement that meets everyone’s interests. For more information, please see our page entitled Civil Mediation.

FAMILY LAW

How do I prove separation under one roof?

Proving separation while living under the same roof is usually done by sending an email, letter or text to your spouse confirming that you are separated. You may also have witnesses to testify as to your new living arrangements, etc. Other proof could be financial evidence such as separating bank accounts, bill payments and filing separate tax returns. The key is to establish that you are living separate and apart even though you are in the same house or apartment. For more information on this topic, please see our blog entitled How do I prove I am separated if I still live under the same roof as my partner?

How do I file for separation in BC?

It is not necessary for you to file for separation in British Columbia in order to establish that you are separated. Separation is a question of fact: are you and your spouse living separate and apart? If so, you are generally considered separated. Third parties, such as the Canada Revenue Agency, may want evidence of your separation. Should this be necessary a declaration by a court that you are separated or a signed separation agreement may be required.

Please note, you do need to file a Notice of Family Claim in court, should you require an Order for Divorce, Orders respecting children, Orders for support, Orders for division of property, etc. Please contact us for more information or you may also see our blog article entitled How to File for Separation in BC for more information.

Do I need to get a legal separation or can we just live apart for 1 year before filing for divorce?

There is no such thing as a legal separation in British Columbia. If you and your spouse have lived separate and apart for one year, you may apply to court for an order for divorce. For more information, please see our page entitled Divorce in BC. You may also consult our blog article entitled How to File for Divorce.

Can I date after I’m separated but before I’m divorced?

There is nothing in the law preventing you from dating after separation. It is up to you whether you choose to date or not after separation

What’s the difference between legal separation and divorce?

Separation is when you start living separate and apart from your spouse. If you are married, you are still married when you are separated. Divorce is the termination of a marriage.

Do I need a lawyer if my separation is amicable?

Even if you and your spouse have agreed on the terms of your separation, it would be wise to seek legal counsel in order to ensure that your rights under the BC Family Law Act are protected. You may also wish to put the terms of your agreement into a written separation agreement in order to avoid future disputes. If you require further information on your separation, please see our page entitled Divorce in BC or you may also consult our page entitled Separation Agreement.

How much are prenuptial agreements?

The cost of drafting a Prenuptial Agreement is based on an hourly rate and our hourly rate is $295 per hour. Having said that, it generally costs $1,000 plus taxes and disbursements for drafting a prenuptial agreement depending on the complexity of your agreement. For more information, please see our page entitled Prenuptial Agreement or complete our intake form.

How does a prenup protect you?

Some of the ways a prenuptial agreement can protect you are as follows:

  • A Prenuptial Agreement can preserve premarital property and financial assets.
  • A Prenuptial Agreement can protect family heirlooms by keeping them out of the marital estate.
  • A Prenuptial Agreement can help protect a family business.
  • A Prenuptial Agreement can protect children of a previous relationship, who may not otherwise be entitled to marital property on death or divorce of a parent.
  • Having a Prenuptial Agreement can save you a lot of money, as Divorce can be very expensive especially if it involves a long drawn out court battle.
  • Having a Prenuptial Agreement can save you time as opposed to a lengthy court process should the marriage end.

For more information, please see our page entitled Prenuptial Agreement or you may also consult our blog article entitled Why a Prenuptial Agreement or Cohabitation Agreement is Essential under the Family Law Act.

What is a prenuptial agreement?

A  Prenuptial Agreement or Marriage Contract usually deals with what will happen if the marriage ends. It can also deal with how things are to be handled during the marriage. A Prenuptial Agreement is usually made prior to couples marrying. The main reason couples enter into a Prenuptial Agreement is to give themselves a level of certainty on how property is to be dealt with if the marriage ends. A  Prenuptial Agreement can also deal with issues relating to spousal support “alimony.” Some couples may also include in a Prenuptial Agreement such things as how finances are to be dealt with during the marriage etc. Usually Prenuptial Agreements do not deal with issues relating to guardianship of children, parenting time, child support etc. as courts tend not to enforce such clauses in Prenuptial Agreements. For more information, please see our page entitled Prenuptial Agreement.

Who should get a prenuptial agreement

The reality is that almost 50% of all marriages end in divorce. It is strongly recommended that anyone who comes into a marriage with property or children from a previous relationship should have a Prenuptial Agreement. Please consult our page entitled Prenuptial Agreement for more information or you may also consult our blog article entitled Why a Prenuptial Agreement or Cohabitation Agreement is Essential under the Family Law Act.

What’s the best way to structure a prenuptial agreement?

The best way to structure a prenuptial agreement is to clearly list the current financial assets and debts of the parties and to determine what prospective assets need to be protected should the relationship breakdown. Our page on Prenuptial Agreement provides further details on prenuptial agreements or you may contact us by filling out our contact form or calling us.

Can same sex couples get a prenuptial agreement too?

Yes, same sex couples also fall under the Family Law Act and as such, same sex couples have the same property and support rights as heterosexual couples. As a result, it is important for same sex couples to also have a prenuptial agreement. Please consult our blog article entitled Why a Prenuptial Agreement or Cohabitation Agreement is Essential under the Family Law Act for more information.

How much does a cohabitation agreement cost?

The cost of drafting a Cohabitation Agreement is based on an hourly rate and our hourly rate is $295 per hour. Having said that, on average, it generally costs $1,000 plus taxes and disbursements for drafting a cohabitation agreement depending on the complexity of the agreement. For more information, you may consult our page entitled Cohabitation Agreement in BC or contact us by filling out our contact form or by simply giving us a call

What is a cohabitation agreement?

A  Cohabitation Agreement is a contract usually dealing with what will happen when a common law relationship or marriage ends. It can also deal with how things are to be handled during the relationship. A Cohabitation Agreement is usually made prior to couples living together. Should common law couples decide to get married the Cohabitation Agreement can act as a Prenuptial Agreement. For more information, you may consult our page entitled Cohabitation Agreement in BC or contact us by filling out our contact form or by simply giving us a call.

How long does it take to get divorced in BC?

It depends, if all the issues arising out of the breakdown of your marriage have been dealt with and you have been separated for one year or longer, you can file for divorce and receive a divorce order as soon as a couple of months. If issues arising out of the breakdown of the marriage have not been dealt with or are contentious it could take more than a year. For more information on Divorce in BC, please consult our page entitled Divorce in BC or our blog article entitled How to File for Divorce. You can also contact us by filling out our contact form or by simply giving us a call.

When can I file for divorce?

You must be separated for one year or prove physical or mental cruelty in order to obtain a divorce order. You may commence divorce proceedings anytime, by filing a Notice of Family Claim in B.C.  Supreme Court. For more information on Divorce in BC, please consult our page entitled Divorce in BC or contact us by filling out our contact form or by simply giving us a call.

What is a collaborative divorce?

Collaborative Law or Collaborative Divorce is a process by which parties and their respective lawyers sign an agreement, a “Participation Agreement,” to negotiate a peaceful and equitable resolution of the issues relating to the termination of their relationship without going to court. The parties and lawyers agree to work together in a transparent manner to reach a settlement that best meets the respective party’s needs and interests. Other professionals can also be brought in to provide assistance such as counselors, divorce coaches, child specialists and financial experts. Should a settlement not be reached then the lawyers resign and they are prohibited from representing any party in any future family litigation. For more information on the Collaborative Divorce, please see our page entitled Collaborative Divorce in BC or our blog article entitled the Collaborative Law Process. You can also contact us by filling out our contact form or by simply giving us a call.

How do I file an uncontested divorce?

You can file an uncontested divorce by either filing a Notice of Family Claim or Notice of Joint Family Claim. If you file a Notice of Family Claim and your spouse chooses not to file a Response to Family Claim within the prescribed 30 day period, you may proceed to obtain your divorce order on an uncontested basis. If you file a Notice of Joint Family Claim, you need not serve your spouse and you can proceed to obtain your divorce order on an uncontested basis.  For more information, please see our page entitled Sole Application for Uncontested Divorce or Joint Divorce Application. You may also consult our blog article entitled How to File for Divorce.

How do I get a divorce?

You can get divorced by first filing a Notice of Family Claim or Notice of Joint Family Claim at the Supreme Court of British Columbia. For more information on Divorce, please consult our page entitled Divorce in BC or our blog entitled How to Divorce. You can also contact us by filling out our contact form or by simply giving us a call.

How do I get a divorce in BC without a lawyer?

You can get divorced in BC by filing the required court documents at the Supreme Court of British Columbia. However, as the issues arising from the breakdown of your marriage and separation can be complicated, we advise you to seek legal counsel on your divorce. For more information on Divorce, please consult our page entitled Divorce in BC or you may also consult our blog article entitled How to Divorce. You can also contact us by filling out our contact form or by simply giving us a call.

How much does divorce cost in BC?

The court fees for obtaining a divorce are as follows:

  • $200 for filing a Notice of Family Claim;
  • $10 for filing a Registration of Divorce Proceedings;
  • $80 for filing a Desk Order Divorce application; and
  • $40 for obtaining a Divorce Certificate (optional)

Please note that these fees do not include legal fees. For more information on divorce in BC, please consult our page entitled Divorce in BC.

How do you calculate spousal support and child support in BC?

Child support is calculated based on the Federal Child Support Guidelines for B.C., which is determined by the income of the payer and the number of children.

Spousal support is based on the Spousal Support Advisory Guidelines, which takes into account the incomes of the spouses, length of the marriage like relationship and ages of spouses.

To make things easier for you to calculate child and spousal support we have developed a free child and spousal support calculator.

How do I get spousal support?

You can get spousal support either by agreement or court order. You can apply for spousal support at the Supreme Court of British Columbia or the Provincial Court. For more information, please contact us by filling out our contact form or by simply giving us a call

Wills and Estates

How do I write a will in BC?

To write your Will you would put in writing how you would like to dispose of your personal property to individuals called “beneficiaries”. You would indicate that this disposition would take effect after your death and the disposition is revocable during your lifetime. Your Will must be signed by you in front of two witnesses and those witnesses must sign as witnesses in front of you. We have the experience to help you draft your Will according to your wishes and in accordance with the laws of British Columbia. Please give us a call or simply fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours. You may also consult our page entitled Wills in BC or our blog article entitled The New Wills Estates & Succession Act “WESA,” and what it means for British Columbians.

If I create a will, do I need to provide account numbers on it?

No, you do not have to provide account numbers in your Will unless you are giving the balance of a specific account to one of your beneficiaries. Otherwise, you can simply set out the proportion of your estate each beneficiary will be entitled to upon your death. If you require more information on a Will, please consult our page entitled Wills in BC or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

If I create a will and have it notarized, is it legally binding?

You do not need to have your Will notarized in order to make it legally binding. However, it has to comply with the requirements set out in law, most notably the Wills, Estates and Succession Act “WESA”. The requirement is for you to sign your Will in front of two witnesses and the two witnesses sign your Will as witnesses in front of you. For more information on your Will, please see our page entitled Wills in BC or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

 Where should I leave my will so it’s found when I pass away?

You should keep your Will in a secure location, such as in your safety deposit box or at your lawyer’s office. You may also want to advise your executor of the Will’s location. Also, you may file what is called a Wills Notice with the Vital Statistics Agency. The Wills Notice simply sets out where your Will is located so it may be found after your death by your executor. If you require more information on a Will, please consult our page entitled Wills in BC or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

 If I create a will, can family members contest the will?

 It is possible for your spouse or children to contest your Will, if it does not make adequate provisions for the proper maintenance and support of your spouse or children. The term for contesting a Will in court is a Wills Variation Action. If contesting your Will is a concern, then it is important to get good legal advice on how to draft your Will to make it more difficult to contest. You may also want to use alternative strategies to minimize your estate after death. If you require more information on a Will, please consult our page entitled Wills in BC or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

 Why wouldn’t I just buy a “will kit”?

 It is important to use a lawyer to draft your Will to ensure the Will reflects your wishes and that the Will is legal and meets the requirements of all applicable laws. Using a do-it-yourself kit may save you a few dollars at the beginning, but may cost your estate thousands of dollars in extra administration fees and potential litigation costs. If you require more information on a Will, please consult our page entitled Wills in BC or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

What happens if I die without a will?

 When someone dies without a valid Will, they are said to have died “intestate.” In such cases, the Probate Court must appoint someone to act as administrator of the estate (rather than the executor). The Court makes this appointment when someone qualified to act in this capacity makes an application to the Court. Usually this would be a member of the family, or if there is none, a close friend of the deceased. If you require more information on a Will, please consult our page entitled Wills in BC or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

What’s the difference between “advance directive” and a “living will”?

 A living will is a term that is used to describe a document that sets out a person’s wishes regarding medical treatments. In British Columbia, this type of document is referred to as an Advanced Medical Directive or Advance Directive. The wishes set out in the Advanced Medical Directive are binding on medical practitioners. If you require more information on a Will, please consult our pages entitled Wills in BC and Advance Directives or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

Prior to open heart surgery, would it be better to get a will or an advance directive?

Ideally, you should get both as the Will and Advanced Medical Directive deal with different issues. Your Will is where you set out what will happen to your property upon your death. Your Advanced Medical Directive, on the other hand, sets out your wishes regarding medical treatment should you become incapable of expressing your wishes. If you require more information, please consult our page entitled Advance Directives or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

 What is a power of attorney?

A  Power of Attorney is a legal document giving a person the authority to act on your behalf on legal and financial matters. The person you appoint to act on your behalf is called an “attorney” and it is not to be confused with a lawyer. If you require more information, please consult our page entitled Enduring Power of Attorney in BC or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours. If you require more information, please consult our page entitled Power of Attorney or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

 What is an enduring power of attorney?

 An Enduring Power of Attorney specifically allows the Power of Attorney to continue to be in effect beyond the incapacity of the individual. In other words, instead of the Power of Attorney ending at the point the person is unable to manage his or her affairs, it continues beyond the point of incapacity. If you require more information, please consult our page entitled Power of Attorney or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

Can anyone, such as my power of attorney or doctor, override my advance directive?

Your Advance Directive may not apply if you have a  Representation Agreement that over laps your Advanced Directive. Your attorney appointed by your power of attorney will not be able to override your Advance Directive as the power of attorney deals with your financial or legal affairs but not personal or health care affairs. Your doctor is also required to follow the instructions set out in your Advance Directive unless your doctor cannot determine what your instructions are because they are unclear or they do not provide for a particular decision to be made. Also, your Advance Directive will not apply if your doctor reasonably believes that your wishes or values have changed while you were capable. If you require more information, please consult our page entitled Advance Directives or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

 

What are BC probate fees?

Probate fees are fees payable on the value of the deceased’s estate. You must pay the probate fees in order to obtain a grant of probate, which is the official recognition of your authority to deal with the assets of the deceased’s estate. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

 How much are probate fees in BC?

 Probate fees are based on the value of the estate and are calculated as follows:

  • $6 for each $1,000 or part of $1,000 of the value of the estate in excess of $25,000, up to $50,000; and
  • $14 for each $1,000 or part of $1,000 of the value of the estate in excess of $50,000.

To file for Probate in British Columbia there is also a filing fee of $200 for estates exceeding $25,000 in value.

In addition to the above fees, you will incur legal fees if you choose to retain a lawyer to assist you in obtaining a grant of probate. We usually charge a flat fee for this purpose. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

To make calculating probate fees easier for you, we have developed a free Probate fee calculator. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

What is subject to probate?

Subject to probate often means either that assets of the deceased are subject to probate fees or that the deceased’s estate must be probated in order to have an executor or administrator appointed in order to deal with the assets and debts of the estate. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or Estate Administration Lawyer in BC. You can also contact us by giving us a call or filling out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

How much is a probate lawyer?

Generally, a lawyer’s fees are based on an hourly rate and we charge $295 per hour. However, we also work on a flat fee basis and we charge $1,995 plus taxes and disbursements for probating a simple estate. By filling out the Probate intake form you can save us time which translates into substantial savings for you. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

Must all wills go through probate court?

If the estate is valued over $25,000 or involves real estate the Will must be Probated. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

How long on average does it take for a will to go through probate?

It really depends on the registry in which, you filed your probate application. In Vancouver, it generally takes three to four months after filing your probate application. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

 

 

When do I need to apply for Probate?

You must apply for Probate if the estate is valued over $25,000 or involves real estate. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

What does “probate the will” mean?

The word Probate means to prove or validate. Probate is the procedure by which an application is made to the Court to have the Will of the deceased testator (the person who made the will) validated. The Court will also look at the Will of the deceased and confirm the appointment of the person(s) named as executor in the Will. The Court gives the executor documents, called the letters probate (Grant of Probate), as proof of his or her authority to deal with the estate. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or our blog article entitled What is Probate. You can also simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

What is probate court for?

The probate court validates a Will of the deceased in order to ensure that the Will is the last Will of the deceased and the person appointed as an executor in the Will is the person authorized to deal with the deceased’s estate. If there is no Will, the probate court can appoint an administrator of the deceased’s estate so that the deceased’s estate may be administered according to the law. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

How much does it cost to probate a will?

In British Columbia, the basic fee payable for commencing the application for probating a will is $200.00. However, this fee is waived if the entire value of the deceased’s estate does not exceed $25,000.

In addition to the basic probate application fee, the following are the probate fees paid to the government:

  • $6 for each $1,000 or part of $1,000 of the value of the estate in excess of $25,000, up to $50,000; and
  • $14 for each $1,000 or part of $1,000 of the value of the estate in excess of $50,000.

The fees above do not include legal fees. They are merely the fees paid to the government of British Columbia.

Legal fees for probating an estate are often based on an hourly rate and we charge $295 per hour. However, for probating a simple estate we charge $1,995. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours. You can also use our free Probate fee calculator to calculate your probate fees.

How do I probate a will in BC?

In order to probate a Will in BC, the applicant must conduct a Wills Notice Search with the Vital Statistics Agency before applying for a Grant of Probate at the Supreme Court of British Columbia. Also, before the applicant can apply, the applicant will have to send out the Notice of Proposed Application to other executors and beneficiaries named in the Will and all the other people who may have claim to the deceased’s estate had the deceased not left a valid Will. This Notice must be sent out at least three weeks prior to the submission of the Probate application to the court.

Upon the lapse of the three week period, the applicant can submit a Probate application at the Supreme Court of British Columbia to obtain the Grant of Probate. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications. You can also simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

What does probate mean?

The word Probate means to prove or validate. Probate is the procedure by which an application is made to the Court to have the Will of the deceased testator (the person who made the will) validated. The Court will also look at the Will of the deceased and confirm the appointment of the person(s) named as executor in the Will. The Court gives the executor documents, called the letters probate (Grant of Probate), as proof of his or her authority to deal with the estate. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or our blog article entitled What is Probate. You can also simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

 

What is an estate lawyer?

An estate lawyer is a lawyer specializing in Wills and Estates matters. An estate lawyer may help you draft your estate plan, such as a Will, Power of Attorney, Representation Agreement, Advanced Medical Directive or Nomination of Committee. The estate lawyer may also assist you in obtaining a grant of probate, administering an estate if a grant has already been obtained or in wills variation claims if the deceased’s spouse or child wishes to vary the will. For more information, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

What is probate value?

Probate value is often referred to as the total value of a deceased’s estate assets, less the deceased’s secured debts.

For more information on probating an estate, please consult our page entitled Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

Is there a way to get out of being a relative’s estate administrator?

Yes. If a grant of probate has not been issued, you may renounce your executorship by signing a notice of renunciation and providing it to other executors or interested parties. This notice of renunciation must also be filed in court. If a grant of probate has already been issued or if you have been appointed administrator by the court, you would need to apply to court to have yourself removed as the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate. If you were not appointede an executor or administrator of a relative’s estate you don’t have  to do anything. Probate Applications or simply give us a call or fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

I’ve been named an estate administrator? What do I have to do?

As an administrator of an estate, you should do the following:

  • Make an inventory of the contents of the deceased’s house and any safety deposit box of the deceased.
  • Secure and store all valuable items of the estate.
  • Complete an inventory and valuation of all assets and debts of the estate.
  • Gather names and contact information of all beneficiaries and close living relatives of the deceased.
  • Wind up all the deceased’s personal matters, such as cancelling subscriptions or charge cards, and redirecting mail.
  • Take control of all assets, including collecting all debts owed to the estate.
  • Pay all the debts of the estate.
  • File all necessary tax returns for the deceased and the estate.
  • Sell assets as required and distribute the estate to the beneficiaries.
  • Prepare an account of all assets, debts, transfers, disbursements and distributions made on behalf of the estate, include supporting documentation.

For more information, please consult our page entitled Estate Administration Lawyer in BC or simply give us a call fill out our intake form and a BC lawyer will give you a call within 24 hours.

What is a legal trust?

A trust is a relationship where a person (the “trustee”) holds property for which it has control over (the “trust property”) for the benefit of others (the “beneficiaries”).

The person who initially transfers property to a trust and sets out its terms is referred to as the settlor. Typically, the settlor enters into an agreement with a trustee to hold the trust property for the benefit of the beneficiaries on certain terms. The agreement is often referred to as a trust agreement or trust deed. For more information on Trust, please see our page entitled Inter Vivos and Testamentary Trusts in BC.

BUSINESS

What is incorporation?

Incorporation refers to the process of forming a company. Once a company has been incorporated, the company will be considered a separate legal entity distinct from its owners, who are referred to as shareholders. As such, the company may own assets under its name, have debts, sue or be sued in its own name. For more information on incorporating a company in British Columbia, please consult our page entitled: “Incorporating a Business”.

What are the benefits of incorporation?

The benefits of incorporating a company stems from the fact that an incorporated company is a separate legal entity. As a separate legal entity, the company is responsible for its own debts and obligations. As such, a shareholder of the company is not liable for the debts and obligations of the company (unless the shareholder has personally guaranteed those debts). Further, as the company and its shareholders are separate legal entities, the company may have many shareholders, allowing the company to raise capital from investors by issuing shares rather than borrowing from lenders. For more information on incorporating a company in British Columbia, please consult our page entitled: “Incorporating a Business”.

What are Articles of Incorporation?

In Canada you may incorporate a company under provincial or federal legislation. The articles, in the context of a company incorporated under B.C. legislation, may mean the “Articles of a Company” or the “Notice of Articles”. The “Articles of a Company may be thought of as the constitution of the company, setting out how the company must be managed and the rights and obligations of the shareholders. The Notice of Articles, on the other hand, is a document that must be filed with the BC Corporate Registry in order to incorporate a company. It contains such information as: the name of the company, the name and addresses of the directors of the company, the addresses of the registered and records offices and the authorized share structure of the company.

The articles, in the context of a company incorporated under federal legislation, may mean the “Articles of Incorporation”. The Articles of Incorporation is a document that must be filed with Corporations Canada in order to incorporate a company under federal legislation. The Articles of Incorporation must contain the following information: the name of the company, authorized share structure, location of the registered office and the number of directors of the company. Under federal legislation the constitution of the company is called the Bylaws of the Company.

What is the difference between Articles and Bylaws?

In Canada, you may incorporate a company under provincial legislation or federal legislation. Whether incorporated under provincial legislation or federal legislation, a company needs to have a constitution which sets out what the company may do, how the company will be managed and what are the rights and obligations of the shareholders. This constitution is called the Articles of a Company in reference to a company incorporated under B.C. legislation and it is called the bylaws in reference to a company incorporated under federal legislation. Should you require further information on incorporating a company, please consult our page entitled “Incorporating a Business” or you may contact us directly as we are happy to assist you.

What is the difference between a corporation and incorporation?

A corporation may mean an incorporated company, an incorporated association or a society. Incorporation, on the other hand, refers to the process of creating a corporation.

What is a shareholder?

A shareholder is a person holding shares of an incorporated company, the shares representing the ownership of the company. To put simply, a shareholder is an owner of the company.

Are shareholders legally responsible for paying debts of the company?

No, shareholders are not legally responsible for paying debts of the company unless they personally guaranteed those debts.

What are the differences between a sole proprietor, partner and shareholder?

A sole proprietor is a person who is carrying on business without adopting any form of organization, such as a partnership or a company. In essence, the sole proprietor and the business are the same legal entity. As such, the sole proprietor is directly responsible for the debts and obligations of the business. A partner is a person who has formed a partnership with other persons to carry on business. Generally, all the partners of a partnership are responsible for the debts and obligations of the partnership as the partnership is not a separate legal entity. A shareholder, on the other hand, is a person who owns a share of an incorporated company, which carries on business under the name of the company. Unlike the sole proprietor or partner, a shareholder is not responsible for the debts and obligations of the company as the shareholder and the company are separate legal entities. Therefore, the shareholder’s liability is limited to the amount of money the shareholder has invested by way of purchasing shares of the company.