1. What are your fees?
Our fees vary depending on the nature of the real estate transaction —purchase, sale, refinance, lease preparation or building contracts. When you contact Kirk Law Office, you can expect to speak to a lawyer who will work with you to identify and understand your specific needs. In order to provide a quote, we typically inquire about several items including the nature of the transaction (private or not), the current and future use of the property (commercial versus residential), the number of tenants (if any), and whether it is a new home or a resale. We also work towards identifying clients’ concerns and how these can be addressed. Our aim is to ensure clients are adequately prepared for the transaction and therefore we prefer to be conservative with our estimates to minimize the stress on our clients when Closing Day arrives.
2. What are some of the other expenses associated with real estate transactions?
In addition to legal fees, there are other expenses associated with the transaction. During your initial call with Kirk Law Office, we would be pleased to identify which expenses apply to your specific situation. Some, or all, of the following expenses may apply and are typically coordinated by the law office:
1. Real estate commission
2. Land transfer tax
3. Registration of ownership and mortgages
4. Title insurance
5. Title search
6. Incorporation fees
8. Tax Certificate and other due diligence required by the Lenders
9. Levy issued by the Law Society of Upper Canada
3. When do I need to contact a lawyer?
We recommend you speak to a lawyer before you commit yourself to the legal obligations set out in the agreement of purchase and sale. Clients who are fortunate to be working with a knowledgeable real estate broker or agent typically do not need to contact a lawyer until their agreements are unconditional. Regardless of when you contact Kirk Law Office, whether to review your agreement or to determine if we are the right fit for your needs, we would be pleased to share our extensive real estate experience with you.
1. Should I incorporate my business?
The answer depends on a number of factors. When you contact Kirk Law Office, you can expect to speak to a lawyer who will work with you to determine your concerns and understand your specific needs.
1. What is the process for wills and powers of attorney?
To prepare wills and powers of attorney, we speak with you to gather information and assess your needs. Following that, we prepare draft documents for discussion. Once you approve the documents, we will arrange to meet in person to sign and properly witness the documents, either at our office, or at your home if mobility is an issue.
2. What information do I need to collect for wills?
We typically ask you to list your assets; how they are owned, their approximate value, their location (within Ontario or outside of the province), and the names of the beneficiaries to the assets, as applicable. We also ask for the names and the relationships of your beneficiaries, executors, guardians, attorneys, and your wishes concerning each. Our aim is to ensure that your instructions are documented accurately while honouring your relationships with your loved ones.
3. What happens if I don’t have a will?
The answer depends on several factors, including your family structure (i.e. whether you have a spouse and the number of children you have), as well as your assets (i.e. nature of ownership, intention of the ownership, and approximate value). To discuss your specific circumstances, please contact our office and we will be happy to speak with you.
4. Why is it important that I have a will?
When you die, your estate will be responsible for paying final income taxes and, if necessary, estate administration taxes. By creating a will in consultation with a lawyer, you can arrange the ownership of your assets and beneficiary designations to minimize income and estate administration taxes payable as a result of your death.
Appropriate Distribution of Your Estate
Having a will ensures that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes – not the government’s. If you were to die intestate (meaning without a will), your assets will be distributed according to provincial legislation. While the government’s rules might match your wishes, it is possible that the government’s distribution scheme does not reflect your intentions. By creating a will, you will be able to gift your estate to whomever you wish subject to certain restrictions. This is especially important when living in a common-law relationship because succession law is one of the only areas of the law in which common-law spouses do not enjoy the same rights as legally married spouses.
Who would you like to raise your child if something were to happen to both you and your child’s other parent? Your will is the place where you can make your wish known. Appointing a custodian for any minor children you have makes it more likely that person(s) will be granted custody of your children in the event that both you and your child’s other parent die.
Creating Trusts for Dependent Children
If you are planning for the future care of a disabled child or other relative, you must keep in mind the effect of your estate plan on the disabled person’s government entitlements and income tax consequences for the disabled beneficiary. If you were to die without a will and your adult child with a disability inherits money from your estate, his or her provincial benefits may be withdrawn until the inheritance is spent. Creating trusts (known as “Henson” trusts) in a will allows you to provide for the financial well-being of an adult child without affecting his or her government entitlements.
5. Why is it important to have powers of attorney?
Powers of attorney are important because your affairs will need to be managed even when you are unable to do so. Without powers of attorney, your family members may need to obtain court orders to deal with your property. For example, your spouse could not sell your matrimonial home or any other real estate that you own without a court order when you are incapacitated.
6. What does it cost to have a will and powers of attorney drafted by a lawyer?
The legal fees for preparing wills and powers of attorney vary. A lawyer would need to discuss your particular circumstances with you to determine the appropriate fee. Please contact one of our lawyers for a fee quotation.
7. I have been appointed as Estate Trustee (Executor) of a family member’s will. What are my responsibilities?
Duties as an Estate Trustee include:
- making funeral arrangements;
- paying outstanding debts of the deceased;
- applying for appointment as Estate Trustee, if required for transferring assets;
- locating and distributing the assets in accordance with the Will or as required for an intestacy; and
- filing tax returns for the deceased and the estate.
If you were appointed as an Estate Trustee in the Will, you may renounce your appointment if you do not wish to act in this role. The steps required to renounce will depend on the circumstances. In the event if you are uncertain or wish to renounce, do not carry out duties of an Estate Trustee, or cease if you have begun to do so, and consult our office.
8. Is a lawyer always required when administering an estate?
A lawyer is not always required. Depending on the circumstances, you may require our office to advertise for creditors, determine which assets are subjected to the estate administration tax, apply for certificate of appointment of an estate trustee, and prepare beneficiary releases. Please feel free to contact our office with questions.
9. Under what circumstances will a lawyer be required to assist with the administration of an estate?
Generally a lawyer’s knowledge and experience is helpful when applying for a certificate of appointment of an estate trustee or when there is stress resulting from family discord in connection with the administration.