Blog Articles

Power of attorney | Bernard Lau & Co.

Many Canadians are concerned about the management of their money and property as they get older and what might happen if they become unable to deal with their own finances. As a consequence, it is a good idea to plan ahead for a time when you are likely to need help in managing your affairs One of the tools often used for managing financial matters is power of attorney.

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives one or more persons (referred to as appointees or attorneys) authority to manage your money and property on your behalf.

In British Columbia, there are two types of powers of attorney: a general power of attorney and an enduring or continuing power of attorney.

General power of attorney

A general power of attorney gives your attorney the authority to manage all, or some of your finances and property only while you are mentally capable of managing your own affairs. It ends if you become mentally incapable.

A general power of attorney can be specific, meaning it gives your appointee authority for a specific period of time, or it can be limited, meaning it gives authority for a limited task, for example, to sell real estate. The document can go into effect as soon as you sign it, or, on a date specified in the document.

Enduring or continuing power of attorney

Conversely, an enduring or continuing power of attorney enables your attorney to continue acting for you if you become mentally incapable of managing your finances and property. It can take effect as soon as you sign it, but in some cases, you may specify that the document comes into effect only in the event that you become mentally incapable.

You must be mentally capable at the time you sign any type of power of attorney for it to be considered valid. This means you should be able to understand and appreciate financial and legal decisions and the consequences that may result from making these decisions.

Importance of power of attorney

Having a power of attorney arrangement in place is important because it has numerous advantages. For one, it makes it clear who will be responsible for your money and property if you can’t manage them on your own, even temporarily.

It also gives you peace of mind, as your attorney has to manage your money and property for your benefit and can be required by law to account for and explain how your assets are being managed.

In contrast, if you lose your mental capacity and do not have a valid document in place, then someone will need to get authority from the court to manage your money and property, which can turn out to be time-consuming and costly.

Do you need help drafting a power of attorney?

Although you are not required by law to use a lawyer’s services when preparing a power of attorney, it is recommended that you do so, especially if your situation is complicated.

If you are searching for a lawyer in Richmond to prepare a power of attorney, contact us today at Bernard Lau & Co. to schedule an appointment with our estate planning lawyer.

Wills Lawyer | Bernard Lau & Co.

When it comes to your finances and assets, you need to prepare for what happens when you die.

Over half of Canadian adults do not have a will, with most believing that they are too young to worry about having one, while others believe that they do not have enough assets to require one. Research shows that Canadians over the age of 55 are more likely to have a will than younger Canadians. The findings also suggest that Canadians who have a household income of over $100,000 are more likely to have a will than those who earn less.

Dying without a proper will may leave your family in a difficult situation. In Canada, when a person dies intestate, i.e. without a will, they lose the right to appoint an administrator of his choosing, and his property or assets are distributed by an administrator under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act.

There are benefits to making a willꓽ

  • It reduces the stress on your family after you die.
  • It gives you control over how your assets are distributed. You have the last say.
  • A will helps to prevent conflict as it provides clear guidance on what should be done.
  • It allows parents to have a say in custody arrangements for minor children.
  • It allows for beneficiaries outside of the family to be included.

Hiring a will and estate lawyer versus using a will kit

While some sites and kits can help you to write your own will, it is always recommended to get help from a lawyer.

Here are ten reasons it’s a good idea to hire a lawyer to draft your willꓽ

  1. A will is a legally binding document. If not prepared properly, it can result in additional legal costs and cause issues for your beneficiaries.
  2. A lawyer can provide legal advice on how to avoid situations such as will variation, which is an application by a spouse or child to change your will after you die.
  3. A lawyer will ensure that your will is compliant with the laws of your province.
  4. A lawyer, in most cases, will place the original of your will in safekeeping. They will also retain notes that may become useful during the administration of the will.
  5. If the capacity of the person who made the will is challenged, a lawyer can provide proof to support the capacity of the will-maker.
  6. A lawyer can help to reduce taxes and other costs your loved ones may face after your death.
  7. With the constant changes in life, it’s important that your will remains current. A will and estate lawyer can ensure that your will is updated and current as well as ensure it contains the right clauses to suit your unique situation.
  8. A will and estate lawyer can help you to avoid common mistakes, such as naming the wrong executor or leaving out assets.
  9. A lawyer can help you to protect your interests.
  10. A lawyer can help you to prepare for contingencies, for example, if you should outlive your heirs or executor, or if an asset no longer exists.

Are you searching for a will and estate lawyer in Richmond?

A proper will is important, and the experienced team at Bernard and Lau Co. Law Corporation is ready to help you put a plan in place for your estate.

Bernard and Lau Co. is a boutique firm located in Richmond, BC, focusing on legal matters relating to wills, probate, and estate planning. Our diverse and experienced team will guide you each step of the way to ensure that your wishes are carried out. Call or visit our website today to schedule a consultation.

Purchase and Sale Agreement | Bernard Lau & Co.

The purchase of a home may be the largest purchase you make in your life. This purchase, as all real estate transactions, involves the signing of an agreement of purchase and sale. This document is a crucial part of the entire transaction as it provides details of the terms and conditions of the sale.

The purchase and sale agreement clearly outlines the rights and obligations of both the seller and buyer. The document includes pertinent information such as the identity of both parties, location of the property, chattels to be sold with the property, price, rate of interest for late settlement, deposit amount, buyer conditions, the date on which the agreement becomes unconditional, and settlement date. The agreement will also contain obligations that must be met for the sale to proceed as well as the conditions under which the sale can be halted or terminated.

A purchase and sale agreement is often a complex legal document with many legal terms that can be confusing. One way to ensure each party fully understands all the terms and conditions is by having a real estate lawyer review the document.

Why hire a lawyer to review your agreement of purchase and sale?

Here are five reasons a lawyer should review your purchase and sale agreementꓽ

  1. Once the agreement of purchase and sale has been signed and all conditions waived or fulfilled, it becomes a legally binding contract between the buyer and seller. Having a lawyer review the agreement will help each party to avoid mistakes or unforeseen challenges with the sale.
  2. A lawyer can explain unfamiliar terms or legal jargon to give you a better understanding of the details of the agreement.
  3. A lawyer will help to protect your interests by renegotiating terms that are not favourable.
  4. An experienced real estate lawyer will be able to identify details that may have been missed by someone who has no experience in real estate law. A lawyer is qualified to explain how the law works regarding buying and selling real estate and provide you with legal advice.
  5. A lawyer can also guide you in important matters, such as the tax implications of the transaction.

Are you searching for a real estate lawyer in Richmond?

If you are searching for a real estate lawyer in Richmond, BC, contact Bernard Lau and Co. Law Corporation.

The sale of a property is a complex transaction. Allow our capable and efficient team to provide guidance that will allow you to achieve the best possible outcome.

Bernard Lau and Co. Law Corporation is a boutique firm with a focus on real estate law and conveyancing. Our diverse and experienced team assists clients in obtaining a resolution to complex legal matters and disputes. Our multilingual team members can cater to the needs of a wide range of clientele. We boast a reputation for delivering efficient legal services, and clients enjoy a welcoming environment based on respect and professionalism. Call or visit our website today to schedule a consultation.

Notary Public Lawyer Signing Papers | Bernard Lau and Co.

It is quite likely that at one point or another, you will need to have a document notarized. You must then decide whether to use the services of a lawyer or a notary public. Contrary to popular belief, a lawyer can also notarize documents, not just notaries public.

A notary public and a lawyer have similar roles when it comes to notarizing documents.

Notaries public are typically hired to deal with legal matters in which there is no dispute. These matters range from real estate transactions and business contracts to wills and estates and powers of attorney.

Based on the binding and sometimes permanent nature of legal documents, it is in your best interest to ensure that the preparation, signing and execution of these documents are done accurately.

If problems arise in a legal transaction, a notary public may need to refer you to a lawyer for legal advice. A lawyer is also a notary public and can provide the same services as a notary public, but a notary public cannot act as a lawyer.

The cost of hiring a lawyer

At the mention of the word lawyer, many persons begin doing calculations based on the preconceived notion that lawyers are expensive. But that is not necessarily the case. For notary services, a lawyer’s fees are often competitive with that of a notary public’s fees for similar procedures and the client can obtain the benefit of independent legal advice.

Do you need the services of a notary public in Richmond, BC?

If you have documents that need to be notarized or certified copies of a document, we can help at Bernard Lau and Co.

At Bernard Lau and Co., we are able to assist you with the notarization of any English or Chinese document that requires a lawyer, a notary public, or a commissioner for oaths to witness, including travel consent forms, government documents, bank documents, ICBC and insurance documents, or personal documents that require legal and formal witnessing. We can also certify copies of any original documents. And should any issues arise while notarizing your documents, we can provide you with the legal guidance you need.

For further details on the types of documents we notarize, feel free to call or visit our office today.

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