Blog Articles

What Does It Mean to Notarize a Document? | Bernard Lau and Co. Law

Notarization is the process of verifying and witnessing the identity of an individual signing a document. This process helps ensure that a signature purporting to be from a particular person is authentic and can be trusted. A notary public oversees the proceedings, including verifying ID, confirming the signing party’s capacity and understanding of the document, and ultimately, witnessing the signing of documents. Remember, all lawyers are also notaries public, but not all lawyers offer notarization services.

There are various categories of documents that can be notarized, from personal planning documents to legal documentation.

Here is a shortlist of some documents that can be notarized:

  • Passport application documents
  • Travel letters for minors
  • ICBC or other insurance loss declarations
  • Execution or authentication of international documents
  • Sponsorship letters
  • Statutory declarations
  • Government application forms
  • Bank declaration forms

Copy certification

Certified copies are verified by a notary public that they are exact replicas of the original document. Almost any document can be certified-copied, including passports, marriage licenses, driver’s licenses, social security cards, birth certificates and medical records. The person in possession of the original document must present it to the notary, who will make a copy of it then place their stamp on it certifying it as a certified copy.

The process of notarization

The process of notarizing involves witnessing the signing of important documents, verifying the identity of the signers and their willingness to sign, their awareness of the contents of the documents and their ability to sign. Let’s take a look at the process.

Identity verification

All parties must have their identity verified by the notary. You must present an original piece of a government-issued photo ID and preferably an additional piece of ID.

Willingness of signers

Once the identity of all parties is verified, the notary public establishes each person’s willingness to sign the documents. On observing the signing of the documents, the notary public will look for any signs of pressure or undue influence. If the notary believes that one party is being forced to sign the presented documents, they will not sign off as witnesses.

Capability to decide and sign documents

Your notary public ensures that you understand what you are signing. In addition, your notary ensures you can confirm what you are signing.

Do you have documents to be notarized? At Bernard Lau & Co., we can assist you with the notarization of English and Chinese documents for use overseas or locally.

The content on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Users of this website are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting members of Bernard Lau and Co. (or their own legal counsel) regarding any specific legal issues. Bernard Lau and Co. does not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information on this website and should not be relied upon as being proper, accurate, timely or fit for any particular individual’s own circumstances other than for educational purposes.
Accessing or using this website does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Although your use of the website may facilitate access to or communications with members of Bernard Lau and Co. via e-mail transmissions or otherwise via the website, receipt of any such communications or transmissions by any member of Bernard Lau and Co. does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Bernard Lau and Co. does not guarantee the security or confidentiality of any communications made by e-mail or otherwise through this website.

What Makes a Good Trial Lawyer? | Bernard Lau & Co. Law Corporation

If you are facing a legal problem that is headed to court, you will need to hire a trial lawyer. And if you want to ensure the best possible outcome, you must find the right one for your case.

Good trial lawyers possess certain traits and skills that set them above the rest. Before you hire a trial lawyer, do your due diligence to ensure that they have:

Years of experience

Look for a trial lawyer with years of experience in an area of specialization that would be helpful to your case. For instance, if you have tax issues, you’ll need a tax lawyer instead of an entertainment lawyer.

The lawyer also should have some courtroom experience and an appreciation for rehearsing and preparing for trial. The members of the jury will be annoyed if your lawyer has to be shuffling through their notes or if they present documents that are illegible or difficult to decipher.

Excellent negotiating skills

A trial can be a long and expensive process, so the goal is to avoid taking your case to court. As a good negotiator, your trial lawyer’s first step might be to attempt to settle so that you don’t have to see the courtroom.

At times there might still be a need to negotiate a settlement, even after your case has gone to trial.

Trial skills

If negotiations aren’t successful, your trial lawyer will need to defend your interests in court. A well-versed litigator will know how to conduct cross-examinations, present proof to a judge or jury and masterfully argue your case.

Impressive storytelling skills

A good lawyer understands that simplifying the facts will help make the story come to life for the jury. They will present your case while maintaining a consistent and powerful story theme throughout the trial.

Social and personal skills

A good trial lawyer knows how to strike a balance between mounting a vigorous defence and having a pleasant demeanour. If your lawyer is too confrontational, the jury may find them to be unlikeable, and witnesses may be uncooperative. If they’re too nice, you may end up with an unfavourable outcome.

Excellent writing abilities

The art of persuasion comes in handy when presenting clear and concise documents to the judge. You’ll need a trial lawyer who can write with conviction and convey legal concepts clearly on paper. This skill will go a long way in persuading a judge to rule in your favour.

Trial lawyer in Richmond

Are you looking for a good trial lawyer in Richmond, BC? Then look no further than Bernard Lau and Co. Law Corporation.

At Bernard Lau and Co., we use all of the legal tools at our disposal to resolve disputes effectively and in a cost-efficient manner. You can rest assured that we have your best interests at heart, and our experienced Richmond trial lawyer is prepared to advocate fearlessly on your behalf in court.

Give us a call today to schedule a consultation.

The content on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Users of this website are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting members of Bernard Lau and Co. (or their own legal counsel) regarding any specific legal issues. Bernard Lau and Co. does not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information on this website and should not be relied upon as being proper, accurate, timely or fit for any particular individual’s own circumstances other than for educational purposes.
Accessing or using this website does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Although your use of the website may facilitate access to or communications with members of Bernard Lau and Co. via e-mail transmissions or otherwise via the website, receipt of any such communications or transmissions by any member of Bernard Lau and Co. does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Bernard Lau and Co. does not guarantee the security or confidentiality of any communications made by e-mail or otherwise through this website.

Estate Beneficiaries: What Are Your Rights? | Bernard Lau and Co. Law

An estate comprises all the assets a person owns at his or her death, less any liabilities. An estate can include money, property, stocks and shares. Through a will, an estate owner establishes who will benefit from his or her estate upon death. Individuals who benefit from a person’s estate are called estate beneficiaries.

Rights of an estate beneficiary

As an estate beneficiary, you are entitled to certain rights, as follows:

The right to be notified that you stand to inherit from an estate

Estate beneficiaries have a right to receive the property bequeathed to them. Executors, the individuals responsible for administering an estate, are required to notify beneficiaries within a reasonable time that they have inherited from an estate.

The right to be apprised of the inheritance value

Estate beneficiaries also have the right to be informed of the value of their inheritance. However, before a beneficiary is issued his or her portion of an estate, the will must be probated. Upon probate of the will, the value of the inheritance may be affected by any liabilities on the estate. Depending on the amount of liability, a beneficiary may lose part or all of his or her inheritance.

The right to be apprised of proceedings of administration

Beneficiaries have the right to be apprised of what is happening in the administration of the estate. For instance, whether there are issues that might delay settling the estate.

The right to receive your inheritance promptly

As a beneficiary, you have a right to the timely receipt of your inheritance. Legally, executors are allowed one year within which to settle an estate and transfer assets to beneficiaries. After that, a beneficiary can compel an executor to settle the estate or petition the court to remove the executor. You must note, however, that the process to settle an estate is a lengthy one. Depending on the complexity of the estate, the process can sometimes take more than the allotted year.

The right to access the estate’s accounting details

Beneficiaries have the right to an accurate, detailed account of the estate’s activities, including incomes, expenditures and disbursements, in a reasonable time frame. A beneficiary can resort to the courts if he or she is in disagreement with the accounting by the executor.

The right to an executor who acts in the beneficiary’s best interest

Beneficiaries have the right to have an executor act in their best interest. If a beneficiary is unhappy with how an executor handles the administration of an estate, he or she can petition the courts to have the executor removed and a new one appointed. The removal of an executor must be justified. Justifiable circumstances include:

  • Breach of fiduciary duty
  • Death
  • Illness
  • Estate theft
  • Failure to manage the estate

Do you require the services of a wills and estates lawyer in Richmond?

If you are an estate beneficiary and require the services of a wills and estates lawyer, contact us at Bernard Lau and Co. Law Corporation. Our experienced Richmond wills and estates lawyer is available to provide legal advice on any issue concerning your case.

Call us today to schedule a consultation.

The content on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Users of this website are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting members of Bernard Lau and Co. (or their own legal counsel) regarding any specific legal issues. Bernard Lau and Co. does not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information on this website and should not be relied upon as being proper, accurate, timely or fit for any particular individual’s own circumstances other than for educational purposes.
Accessing or using this website does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Although your use of the website may facilitate access to or communications with members of Bernard Lau and Co. via e-mail transmissions or otherwise via the website, receipt of any such communications or transmissions by any member of Bernard Lau and Co. does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Bernard Lau and Co. does not guarantee the security or confidentiality of any communications made by e-mail or otherwise through this website.

The Real Estate Conveyancing Process, Simplified | Bernard Lau and Co.

Real estate conveyancing involves the legal transfer of the ownership of a property from one party to another. If you are buying, selling or refinancing a property in Richmond, British Colombia, having an experienced conveyancing lawyer will help to make the process run smoothly.

The financial institution and the realtor

Early on in the transaction when obtaining a loan to buy a property, you will likely meet with your lender or mortgage broker to determine the amount of money you will be qualified to borrow. In selecting a property, your realtor plays an equally important role in guiding you on the best price for which to sell or buy the property.

Once your realtor has found a property for you to purchase, or an ideal buyer for a home you are trying to sell, a purchase contract will be drafted. It will include the property details, price, and transaction dates for all parties involved in the purchase, along with other terms and conditions or even subject clauses.

Buyers should be discussing the mortgage with the lender as soon as possible, preferably to obtain a mortgage commitment or pre-approval with the bank. This is a promise from the financial institution to lend money to the buyer for the purchase of the property as long as certain conditions are met.

Your conveyancing lawyer and the conveyancing process

Once your contract is binding and completed, you should forward the contract to your conveyancing lawyer. Your conveyancing lawyer will review it along with the title search to ensure that all legal requirements to effect the transfer are in order. This is known as the due diligence process. The title of the property is reviewed to confirm that its details and those of the registered owner are accurate. Your conveyancing lawyer will also ensure that all related financial and legal obligations are settled as part of the closing. These obligations may include removing liens, caveats, paying off property taxes, strata fees, mortgages, arrears and dealing with charges on the title. Your lawyer will also work with your lender to take care of any mortgages you may be getting or discharging as part of the transaction.

Once all the pre-transaction processes have been reviewed, the documents will be prepared for both the seller and the buyer to sign.

These documents are reviewed and explained and all questions addressed before the closing date or during the signing. After the documents are signed by both parties, they are again reviewed by their respective conveyancing lawyers. A title search is then conducted again right before the registration to ensure everything is acceptable for filing to the land title office.

When the mortgage funds are released by the financial institution and deposited to the buyer’s lawyer in trust on the completion date, the buyer’s lawyer will conduct a final check to ensure all documents required for registration are in place, before releasing the funds to the seller’s lawyer in trust to pay off the necessary charges or arrears as necessary. The keys to the property are then exchanged by the realtors on the agreed possession date set out in the Contract. Your conveyancing lawyer will prepare a final report on the transfer of the property and order a State of Title Certificate for purchasers which will be received approximately 4-8 weeks after closing.

Bernard Lau and Co. Law Corporation

Bernard Lau and Co. is a boutique law firm delivering efficient legal services.
The firm is equipped with a team of reputable, experienced and diverse legal professionals ready to guide you through your real estate conveyancing process. If you are seeking a law firm in Richmond, BC to assist you with your real estate transaction, please schedule an appointment or call us at 604-285-5240.

The content on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or other professional advice or an opinion of any kind. Users of this website are advised to seek specific legal advice by contacting members of Bernard Lau and Co. (or their own legal counsel) regarding any specific legal issues. Bernard Lau and Co. does not warrant or guarantee the quality, accuracy or completeness of any information on this website and should not be relied upon as being proper, accurate, timely or fit for any particular individual’s own circumstances other than for educational purposes.
Accessing or using this website does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Although your use of the website may facilitate access to or communications with members of Bernard Lau and Co. via e-mail transmissions or otherwise via the website, receipt of any such communications or transmissions by any member of Bernard Lau and Co. does not create a lawyer-client relationship. Bernard Lau and Co. does not guarantee the security or confidentiality of any communications made by e-mail or otherwise through this website.

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Bernard Lau & Co. remains fully operational during the COVID-19 health emergency. Our commitment to providing excellent client service is still a priority. While you may be used to coming in to our office to drop off your information and to meet with us in person, we are recommending the following alternatives: phone calls or video conferences may be scheduled in lieu of face-to-face meetings, and your personal information can be emailed to us at your convenience. We are providing remote signing for conveyancing.Learn More