Questions frequently asked by Clients.

People always call our office and ask these frequent questions which I am going to answer in todays’ blog.

What is a Notary Public?

In British Columbia, a notary public is more like a British notary. Notaries are appointed for life by the Supreme Court of British Columbia and as a self-regulating profession; the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia is the regulatory body overseeing and setting standards to maintain public confidence.

What does a Notary Public do?

A Notary Public is a Public officer, who is authorized to administer oath, and authenticate the signature on a document, certify documents, and attest the validity of the signatures. A Notary Public will make sure that you fully understand what you are getting done.

What do I need to bring in when coming to get any type of service?

You need to bring two pieces of ID, including one photo ID such as Canadian Passport, Drivers Licence, BC ID, and the other ID you can bring is a Service Card, Credit card or Social Insurance card.

 What is Certified True Copy?

A Certified True Copy is a photocopy of the original document that we examine and compare to the original. We then examine and certify that the photocopy is unaltered and is a true copy of the original.

What is the Notarization of a document?

Notarization means the document has been authenticated. A Notary Public is authorized to administer oaths, certify documents and attest to the validity and authentication of a signature. Your signature on the document means that you signed it willingly.

Why should I sign in front of a notary, if I need to get my Signature Witnessed?

People often come to the office with their documents filled in and signed, which is not acceptable. It is a notary’s responsibility to make sure that you fully understand what you are signing. A notary can never sign without reading and understanding the documents. A notary cannot notarize your documents until you sign in front of a notary. Make sure you sign your entire document in front of the notary in the future.

Why can’t the notary publics witness my separation agreement?

It is against the Notaries Act to practice with regard to the Family Relations Act.  A separation agreement is an extremely important document.  All parties should seek independent Legal Advice and sign in the presence of a Family Law lawyer, therefore we cannot witness any signature related to family law.

A Notary cannot sign a document prepared in a foreign language? 

A notary cannot notarize any document in any foreign Language without the translation.

For more information contact us at 604-503-3853, or leave a comment or email us with your question and we will be happy to serve you.

Legal and Beneficial Ownership

In an earlier blog we discussed the two types of ownership of property, Joint Tenancy and Tenants in Common.  Joint Tenancy and Tenants in Common are fairly easy to understand, because they are straight forward, but there are a few other types of ownership, which you should know about. These alternate forms of ownership can affect your ability to deal with your land. In this blog, I am going to discuss the concepts of legal and beneficial ownership. Legal ownership and beneficial ownership are two different things. Legal ownership of property is the person on title which has no real value to it. And the beneficial ownership is the actual property owner. The Legal owner is not the true owner of the property; he/she holds the title for the beneficial owner. The person, who owns the property, owns the both, the legal title and the beneficial title, but in some circumstances it is not the same.

Legal owner: The legal owner is the person under whose name the property is registered. Under the Legal ownership the legal owner has no right to sell or rent the property and has no right to make any decision about the property. The Legal owner is not the true owner; but merely holds the title for the true owner.

Beneficial owner: The beneficial owner as the “real owner” of the property is entitled to receive all revenue from the property and is the decision maker with respect to all aspects of the property. The beneficial owner determines the rent charged, the terms of any leases or tenancy agreement, who to hire as a property manager, who to finance the property with and when to sell the property. The beneficial owner has all control over the property. Beneficial ownership can be used when parents want to protect their future and they also want their kids’ names be as owners of the property. For example; grandparents want to give their property to their grandchildren, but they also want to keep some control of the property, in that situation they can transfer the legal title, but they can keep the beneficial title.

To facilitate the division between the legal and the beneficial owner there should be a legal structure called a bare trust. A Bare trust is a type of a company which is used to hold a legal and registered title to the property as nominees, in trust for the beneficial owner of the property. The share of the bare trustee company is owned by the beneficial owner.  It acts on the directions of the beneficial owner. It is a single purpose company, created to hold the specific property, with no other history and assets.  It cannot hold more than one property with another company for different properties. The legal relationship between the bare trustee and a beneficial owner is needed to be set out in the bare trust agreement. There are so many advantages of having a bare trust. The transfer of the beneficial ownership is not registered in the land title office, so as the transfer is not filed, it is not subjected to pay the Property Transfer Tax, but if the transfer is for some reason, registered with the land title then the beneficial owner is subjected to pay the Property Transfer Tax.

When the purchaser buys the property, the purchaser will buy the beneficial interest in the property at the decided value and will also buy a share in the bare trust for $1.00.

The other advantage of the bare trust is that it allows multiple co-owners to hold the beneficial interest in the property, with only a bare trustee on the title. It also allows changes in co-owner without paying the Property Transfer Tax.

While there are many advantages of having a bare trust, there is also a disadvantage of it. It is very costly to establish and maintain the trustee company. It costs approximately $1,200 to incorporate a trustee company and prepare the bare trust agreement. And the annual cost of maintaining the bare trustee company is approximately $300 per year.

To get more information feel free to give us a call @ 604-503-3853, I am always happy to serve you.

 

 

Tenants in Common and Joint Tenants

 

When clients come into my office to get their work done for a purchase or for Estate planning, we ask a lot of important questions to make sure we prepare all of the documents correctly. This is so we can stay prepared and avoid mistakes when the title changes hands in the real estate transaction. I always want my clients to be safe in the future, their fore I want my clients to be honest and to provide me with all the information that they think is important for me to know before we start our work.

The most important question that I always ask my clients is how they want to hold title, meaning how they want their property to be owned by them as “Joint Tenants” or as “Tenants in Common”. When I ask this question, most of the time they ask me in return, “does it make any difference?” In land transactions “Joint Tenant” and “Tenants in Common” is the most important fact, which shows your share in the ownership of the property. Most clients think, it is the same thing, and they often think these words mean the same, but in reality they are not. Property owned by more than one person must be owned in one of two ways: joint tenancy or tenancy in common. In practical terms, the chief distinction between joint tenancy and tenancy in common is the right of survivorship. Only joint tenants enjoy right of survivorship.

The term “Joint Tenancy” is used to describe any situation where property, real or personal, is held in a manner which, at law, the death of one joint owner results in the property passing to the surviving joint owner(s) as opposed to passing to the estate of the deceased owner. All the owners have equal rights and they are held liable equally for anything. In easy words if the property is held under joint tenancy by two people, if one of the owners died, the share of the deceased owner passes to the surviving owner.

Let’s study this with an example: Dave, John and Smith bought a property together under Joint Tenancy. If Dave is unable to pay the property tax on time, then John and Smith are also liable equally, if Dave is unable to pay it, John and Smith have to pay Dave’s share. As the term “Joint Tenancy” also means the “right of survivorship”, according to this, after a few years, Dave dies, now the property is owned by both John and Smith equally. Because the property was held under joint tenancy, Dave’s spouse or children have no legal right on that property. A few years later, John dies, and now Smith is the only owner left of the property. With the joint tenancy, all the shares of the deceased owner will automatically go to the surviving owner. It can often be utilized for estate planning objectives. For instance, one spouse might use joint tenancy to make certain that the entire property held jointly by the spouses goes to the other, upon one’s death. Joint tenancy is frequently used between spouses for assets such as real property, investments, bank accounts and vehicles. Because joint tenancy creates the right of survivorship, when the spouse dies the property will transfer to the other spouse with minimal administrative issues. Because it does not form part of the estate, probate fees will not apply. Under Joint Tenancy no one can sell the property without written consent of each other.

Tenants in Common

Tenant in Common works differently than Joint Tenancy. A tenant in common is a form of ownership whereby each tenant holds a percentage of interest in the property. If one of the owners dies, that owner’s interest in the property passes to their estate, to be passed on, according to their Will. Tenants in Common can hold equal or unequal shares in the property.  Every party owns an undivided share in the property and as a result is free to possession of the whole property.  For example, there could be five persons who are tenants in common, but four of them could own 1/10 of the property each, and the fifth person might own 6/ 10 of the property. If the holder of a tenancy in common desires, either to sell or mortgage their interest in the property, that can be done by them, without the consent of the other tenants.  It is also possible for a tenant in common to apply the courts to “partition” the property or to sell the entire property and distribute the net proceeds of sale proportionately. Tenancy in common does not carry a right of survivorship as in joint tenancy.  In other words, if one of the tenants in common dies, the interest does not go to the other tenants, but goes to the estate of the deceased.

To understand this better let’s take one example: Let’s say Dave, John, and Smith bought property under Tenants in Common, Dave has 1/3 share in the property, John also has 1/3 share, and same with Smith. A few years later Dave dies, and his share becomes part of his estate. That means his share will be given to the person whoever is named under his Will, it could be his Wife or it could be his children. So “Tenants in Common” is the best option if you have been formerly married, have children from an earlier relationship, and have since remarried, you may perhaps desire to state in your Will that a clear piece of the worth of the estate goes to those children independently or jointly.  The only way this can be dealt with is in tenancy-in-common circumstances, because the interest would be deemed to be an asset of one’s estate.

If you are going to buy a house or need help with estate planning, feel free to give us a call for any type of information at 604-503-3853. I always try to provide the best service to make my client feel satisfied and I always make sure that my client understand all the pros and cons of work they are getting done.

A power of attorney

 

If you want to appoint someone to take care of your financial and/or legal matters, whether you are capable or incapable of doing it by yourself, you should have a legal document called a “Power of Attorney”. This will allow, the person appointed by you, to act on your behalf legally. The person you appoint to act on your behalf is called the “attorney”. As an adult, after your parents’ rights have ended, no one has authority towards your legal and financial assets; therefore you need to have a written Power of Attorney to appoint someone on your behalf.

Requirements (Donor):

• Person should be 19 year of age or over.

• Person signing the document must be mentally competent. A person should be able to fully understand what he or she is signing.

• Power of Attorney must be signed and dated in front of two witnesses, both present at the same time. Witnesses must be adults. If you have a notary or lawyer preparing the Power of Attorney then only one witness is needed. Witnesses should not be named as attorney(s) in the Power of Attorney. A Parent, a Child or a Spouse cannot act as a witness.

Types of Power of Attorney: There are three different types of power of attorneys: General Power of Attorney, Specific Power of Attorney and Enduring Power of Attorney.

General Power of Attorney: It does not specify limits and/or the powers of the attorney appointed by you. With a General Power of Attorney, the attorney can make all the decisions that the Donor can make. Also the Attorney is permitted to handle financial and legal affairs, but cannot make any decisions related to health care. For example with a general power of attorney, the attorney is allowed to handle all the matters up until the time provided in the power of attorney.

Specific Power of Attorney: It is the document which gives limited or specific powers to the person you appoint as an “attorney”. For example, the Attorney could be authorized to sign a cheque for a specific bank account to pay household bills. Or with the use of a Specific Power of Attorney, you can appoint someone to sign the documents related to the sale of a house and deposit the proceeds in a specific bank account.

An Enduring Power of attorney: A legal document that enables an adult to appoint another person to manage the adult’s financial affairs and property while capable and continues if the adult becomes mentally incapable. It is effective when you are not capable of making your own decisions. An Enduring Power of Attorney does not stop you from managing your own affairs, as long as you are capable. You may make an Enduring Power of Attorney if you are 19 years of age or older, and you are capable of making decisions. The law presumes you are capable unless it is shown that you are not.

Who Should I Appoint? People usually appoint their spouse, siblings, and children or most trusted family members. You cannot appoint a care giver who is paid to provide you with personal or health care services or an employee at the facility where you live if the place provides health or personal care services. If the person providing the care is your spouse, parent, or a child, then this rule does not apply.

What does a power of attorney cover? A Power of attorney covers only your legal and financial decisions. It does not cover any health care decisions. A power of attorney usually takes effect as soon as you and your attorney(s) sign the documents. You can continue to manage your financial and legal affairs for as long as you are capable. But your attorney can help you with any complicated matters. An enduring power of attorney can also take effect at a specified time that you name in the document.

How can you end a power of attorney? You can end the Power of Attorney any time. General Power of Attorney automatically ends when you become incapable unless you included the enduring clause or you are certified as “incapable” by the Director of a Mental Health Facility. Specific Power of Attorney ends when the purpose of the Power of Attorney has ended. You can end your Enduring Power of Attorney as long as you are capable. You must put your decision in writing. The written decision is called a “Notice of Revocation”. You must give a signed and dated copy of the written Notice of Revocation to your attorney(s).

An Enduring power of attorney ends as soon as you are dead. Your power of attorney is only valid while you are alive. The only valid document after your death is the Will.

What kind of Power of Attorney is right for you? Depends on your situation. Your notary will help you decide, which power of attorney is best for you in which situation. If you have any questions or want more information please give us a call @ 604-503-3853.

Useful Information for buying a House in British Columbia

Buying a house is possibly the best and largest investment of your life. When you start looking for the house of your dreams, the first thing that comes to mind is the cost. Before stepping into something you should really gather information about the procedures and the main requirements that you need to understand. It is important to be well-informed and well prepared before you make a purchase of such a large magnitude. Going about the home buying process carefully, asking the right questions and getting all the information you need can protect you as a consumer and result in a good decision for you and your family.

Once you have picked the house and figured out how to pay for it, the next step is to contact a realtor. Realtors are professional and have specific training in real estate. They can help you find a home that fits your needs and you can afford. A Realtor will prepare the contract between you and the seller, which will indicate all the things you and the seller have agreed to, and it will help you familiarize with the steps you must take to complete the purchase once the seller accepts the offer. After you make the deal you should contact a notary or a lawyer, to assist you with the remaining process.

If you are buying a house for the first time you should get in contact with a notary or real estate agents, just to be safe around the work that you never have done before. Check their rates, their work, and also check how the notary/lawyer can be the best fit for you. The notary/lawyer will help you through all the paper work you have to do during the transaction.

Here are steps that a notary or lawyer will help you with, and protect you during the transaction:
•A notary/lawyer will help you search the title, which shows all the easements or restrictive covenants, and it also helps you figure out if any other person other than the seller has any other legal rights on the property.
• Notary/lawyer will obtain all the other necessary documents such as title insurance documents, fire insurance, strata Information Certificate etc.
• Notary/ lawyer will prepare all the transfer ownership documents from the seller to you, including the property transfer tax return.
• Ensure that all the payments that are the seller’s responsibility have been done.
• Confirming that the mortgage on title is paid off and discharged if necessary.
• Preparing a statement of adjustment which will show all the money owed by you and all the funds you will need to complete the transaction.
• Notary/lawyer can also help you with the mortgage, if you require a mortgage on the house.
• Arrange for you to sign the transfer documents.• Arranging for payment to the seller and making sure that the property is registered on the buyers name at the Land Title Survey Authority office.
• On the closing date, the notary/lawyer will file the documents with the LTSA, which is called closing.
• After all this work, you will receive the important papers such as: Transfer forms, and the final State of Title Certificate, which shows your name as new owner of the property.

On the possession date after everything is complete you will receive the keys.

If you are going to buy a property feel free to give us a call @ 604-583-3853 for any type of information you need before you buy or step into any investment. I will make sure you get the right information and service required. I really enjoy spending time with my clients to explain all the documents that they are signing, and I always make sure that my clients understand all the Ins and Outs of the documents to protect them from any problems in the future. My fee is always competitive, and I believe in building lasting relationship with our clients.

New Year Resolutions

Sticking to all your new year’s resolutions can be tough and hard to manage. With the help of a notary you can ensure that all your essential documents for the New Year are updated, created and properly registered. With our help we will make sure that you receive fair, honest service and value for your dollar. For more information please give us a call or feel free to leave us a comment!

Home Owner Grant

The home owner grant is a provincial program governed by the BC Ministry of Finance, which helps to reduce the amount of residential property tax you pay. The home owner grant applies to the property taxes paid by British Columbians to their municipality or to the Surveyor of Taxes for rural areas.

There are two categories of grants:

1.The regular grant may reduce your taxes up to $570 for Surrey, but varies by the community.
To qualify for the regular grant:
• You must be a Canadian citizen or permanent resident and ordinarily reside in BC, and
• You must be the registered owner or eligible occupant of the home on which the grant is being clamed you must occupy the home as your principal residence.

2.The additional grant may reduce your taxes up to $845 for Surrey, but varies by the community.
To qualify for the additional grant:
• You must be 65 or older during that calendar year. If you are a joint owner of the house one of you must be 65 or older to apply for the grant. The qualifying owner or eligible occupant must be the claimant.
• You are a veteran or a veteran’s spouse or widow/widower receiving an allowance under the War Veterans Allowance Act (Canada) or the Civilian War-Related Benefits Act. Veterans must attach documentary proof from Veterans Affairs Canada to the home owner grant application.
• You are a person with a disability and are receiving disability assistance, hardship assistance or a supplement under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act. You must provide the required Consent for Release of Information completed and signed by you and the Ministry of Social Development representative
• You are a person with a disability, who does not receive disability assistance under the Employment and Assistance for Persons with Disabilities Act, or you are the spouse or relative of a person with a disability and the disabled person resides with you.

Further Requirements:
Grant applications are reviewed to ensure that grants have been approved only for owners or eligible occupants of eligible properties. You may need to provide documentation to support your claim, such as proof of ownership, residency or costs associated with your disability. Failure to provide the requested information may result in the denial of your grant claim.

You (or your spouse) can only claim the home owner grant for your principal residence each year. However, if you are married and living together you cannot apply for the grant for separate principal residences, but if you have a written separation agreement with your spouse at the time you apply, you can each claim the home owner grant for separate principal residences.

For more information please contact Harinder Dail Notary Public @ 604-503-3853.

Codicil

A codicil is a legal document that is used to amend a Will rather than replacing a previously executed Will. A codicil can add to, subtract from, or modify the terms of the original Will. It must be dated, signed and witnessed just as a Will would be and it should also make some reference to the part of the Will being amended.

Adding a Codicil to a Will is an easy way to make minor updates to your Will without starting over. The Codicil is a separate legal document from your Will, although it is best stored along with it. Adding a child as beneficiary, changing an executor or including a new asset can all be accomplished through a Codicil

Use the Codicil to Will document if:
• You want to change one or more provisions of your existing Will due to events such as a marriage or divorce, the birth of a child, a move to another province, a significant change in financial status, a change in tax laws, or the death of a beneficiary;
• You want to add or change beneficiaries;
• You want to add or change the nomination of any executor, trustee or guardian.
• You did not include Digital Assets in your existing Will but would like to address them now. Digital Assets can include any online accounts or files stored on a computer or server, such as email accounts, blogs, social-networking websites, and photo and document sharing websites. You can use the Codicil to Will to appoint a Digital Executor to handle your Digital Assets;
• You want to modify conditions or restrictions on the receipt of a bequest, such as the age at which a child can receive a bequest.
Requirements for the Codicil are:
1. it must have your name, the date and the location of the signing;
2. it should identify the Will which is going to be changed by this codicil;
3. It must be signed by two witnesses who are not beneficiaries;
4. An attestation stating that you affirm the codicil, must be signed by you;
5. It must state that you affirm everything else in the will;
6. It should also include a version number of the codicil, if it is the first one or the second one.

It’s a good idea to use codicils only for very small changes, because they can make sorting out your Will more complicated when you die. It is a useful tool, but you have to use it properly for it to be effective.
The risk in using a Codicil improperly is that you’ll end up creating confusion either by contradicting a detail in the Will or by revoking a sentence you didn’t mean to revoke.

The other danger in using a Codicil is that it can become separated from the Will that it’s supposed to amend. If the Codicil becomes separated, the executor might not know about the changes that were supposed to be made.

There are three reasons why executing a new Will may be a preferable course of action:
1. A new Will avoid any danger of a codicil not adequately referring to the correct Will;
2. When only one document exists (i.e. the new Will) there is less likelihood of misinterpretation; and
3. If a codicil is used to revoke a gift made in the Will, the party who would have received the gift will be informed of the change made by the Will-maker, which could cause personal discord in the Will-maker’s relationship with that person.

An unattested alteration made after the Will is executed is invalid, and may also invalidate any existing part of the Will the alteration obliterated or made impossible to decipher.
Both the Will and the codicil require the signature of witnesses. Both are valid only if they are signed in front of two adult witnesses. A Codicil is cheaper than a Will but in some cases, it is easier and safer to redo the Will.

For more information please call us a call @ 604-503-3853

First Time Homebuyer Exemption

It is a very exciting time when you start looking for a house for your family. It may be exciting but it is not as easy as it sounds. There is a lot of stuff that you need to be very careful about. I am specifically going to discuss the first time home buyer exemption for the first time homebuyer. If you are buying a house for the first time in British Columbia you might be eligible for the first time home buyer exemption.

Under the First Time Homebuyer Exemption program, people who meet certain requirements, and are first time homebuyers, are eligible for the exemption in property transfer tax, which is a provincially payable tax, whenever property changes hands.

Other requirements necessary to claim this exemption:

• Person claiming the exemption must be a Canadian citizen, or permanent resident as defined by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Protection Act;
• Must have lived in BC for 12 consecutive months immediately before the date the property is registered, or have filled 2 income tax returns as a British Columbia resident during the 6 years before the property registration date;
• Never owned an interest in a principal residence anywhere in the world at any time (a principal residence is the usual place where an individual lives);
• Never received a first time homebuyer’s exemption or refund.

Property requirements for the exemption are:

• The fair market value of the property (land plus improvements) should not be more than $475,000 to claim a full exemption.
• The land should not be more than 0.5 hectares (1.24acres).
• The property should only be used as your permanent residence

If there is more than one purchaser and only one of them is claiming the first time homebuyer’s exemption, then only the percentage interest acquired by the first time home buyer is eligible (if the market value of the property is under $475,000). The exemption is calculated on full market value of the property not on an individual’s share. You cannot claim the exemption on the property if the market value is over $500,000, but between $475,000 and $500,000 a partial exemption is given.

In some circumstances an exemption can be taken away, so in order to keep the exemption you should meet the following requirements:

• If it is an existing home, you must move into the home within 92 days of the date you register the title of the property.
• If it is vacant land, you must build and move in within 1 year of the date you register the title of the property.
• You must use the property as your permanent residence for the first year

Please give our office a call for further information @ 604-503-3853

Notary Public

Notary Public

A Notary Public is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters usually concerned with estates, deeds, powers-of-attorney, and foreign and international business. Notaries are public officers and they can act as a legal advisor in many areas like real-estate law, and business law. A Notary Public also deals with estate planning or making a will.

As we said, Notaries are public officers. As a public officer, a Notary can also Certify and draft documents which are considered “authentic”. If the original of a document is held by a Notary, the chances of it being lost go down considerably.

Notaries can also act as a mediator, which means that a Notary can also act as a neutral third party between two or more parties to resolve their dispute and reach a voluntary settlement.

Responsibilities of a Notary Public towards clients:

A Notary should build a trustworthy relationship with clients. A notary should be honest, frank and objective. A Notary should respect professional secrecy, and must provide the best service and information to their client. Before providing any services to the client a Notary should explain all the ins and outs of the job or service they are getting done (in case they are not able to understand it).

To make my clients happy and to provide the best service I always ensure that my client understand what they are signing, or getting into. For example, if a client wants to buy a house and they do not have the proper information, then it is my responsibility to first provide all the information to the client so that they feel comfortable and they feel free to make decisions without any doubts.
If you need any type of notarial service please call me @ 604-503-3853. I will make sure that you have all the information to make the best decision and it will be my responsibility to take care of your needs and to provide the best service to you.