Archive for February 24, 2015

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