October, 2022

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Weathering the Storm: Life Changes

Disclaimer: This article on life’s changes is intended for the purposes of providing information only and is to be used only for the purposes of guidance. This article is not intended to be relied upon as the giving of legal advice and does not purport to be exhaustive.

While life’s changes can happen at any point, they are made much more difficult when they happen during a period of economic instability and uncertainty.

This article will provide some tips on how to weather the storm during life’s changes from a legal standpoint, particularly during periods of economic hardship.

Separation, Divorce and The Matrimonial Home

While there are many factors to consider when a marriage ends, what happens when the couple wants to sell the matrimonial home?

The decision to sell the family home is often one of the most difficult a divorcing couple will face. There are many factors to consider, such as:

– The current market value of the home

– If one spouse plans to keep the home, whether they can afford the mortgage and upkeep on their own

– The sentimental value of the home

– The potential stress of dealing with the sale during an already difficult time

Right now, other issues within the real estate industry complicate this decision. You can see our previous article that goes into this in more detail. However, we are seeing an increase in deals falling through because buyers cannot get approved for a mortgage or because appraisals are coming in low.

Some people purchase a home with other family members after a separation or divorce. If that is the case for you, have you discussed a co-ownership agreement? This document outlines each party’s rights and responsibilities and can help prevent any misunderstandings down the road.

A “Business Divorce”

What is a business divorce? It’s when partners in a business decide to go their separate ways. This can happen for many reasons, such as disagreements on the direction of the company, financial difficulties, or simply different goals for the future.

Like a marital divorce, a business divorce can be a very difficult and emotional process. It’s important to have a lawyer who can help you navigate this process and protect your interests.

Some things to consider:

  • What is the value of the business?
  • How will the division of assets be handled?
  • What does your partnership agreement say?

The Death of a Loved One

The death of a loved one is always a difficult time. In addition to the grieving process, there are often many financial and legal matters to take care of.

You may be impatient to settle the estate and move on, but it is important to take the time to understand all of the implications of your loved one’s death. This is especially true when it comes to taxes. Depending on the size of the estate, there could be significant tax implications.

There is a reason why it is called the “executor’s year.” At the best of times, estate matters take time to work through. Many courts are experiencing backlogs, so it can take even longer.

If you are named as an executor in a will, make sure you understand what is expected of you. However, if you do not have the time or ability to take on this role, you can decline or ask to be removed. If no executor is named, and you are a beneficiary under the will, you may want to consider applying to be the estate administrator to move things along.

Weathering the Storm with Beeksma Law

At Beeksma Law, we are also families, entrepreneurs, homeowners and members of our community. We understand how difficult these times can be and we are here to help.

We offer a free initial consultation to discuss your legal matter and help you understand your options. Please contact us today to book an appointment.

Weathering the Storm in Your Business

Disclaimer: This article on Business is intended for the purposes of providing information only and is to be used only for the purposes of guidance. This article is not intended to be relied upon as the giving of legal advice and does not purport to be exhaustive.

There’s no nice way to put it, it is hard to be a business owner right now.  Many businesses are struggling to keep their doors open.

While we may be past lockdowns and other restrictions, supply chain issues still loom and there are plenty of other challenges to contend with. So how do you weather the storm? How do you keep your business afloat when everything seems to be working against you?

Let’s discuss three key areas where you can make good choices today that will help your business in the long run.

Three Woman Talking Near White Wooden Table Inside Room

Negotiating Commercial Leases

Let’s share a story of a woman we’ll call “Jane”. Jane was desperate to find a space for her growing business and signed a commercial lease without discussing it with a lawyer.

Unfortunately, Jane did not realize that “standard terms” of a commercial lease tend to favour the landlord. Problems arose with the space because of the landlord’s actions, and Jane was forced to delay opening her business while these were being addressed. Meanwhile, she still needed to pay rent for a space that she could not use.

You have an opportunity to avoid making the same mistake as Jane. Consult with a lawyer before you sign anything, even if it’s just a simple “standard” lease. 

Yes, there is a cost to this. However, having a lawyer help you to understand your lease and negotiate for more rights can help you save much more in the long run.

Having Proper Contracts In Place

Another mistake that businesses make is not having proper contracts in place with their key suppliers, customers, and employees.

This can lead to a lot of problems down the road, such as:

– Unpaid invoices: If you don’t have a contract in place specifying when and how your customer will pay you, you may have a hard time getting paid.

– Unreliable suppliers: If you don’t have a contract in place specifying the terms of your agreement, your supplier can change the terms at any time. This can lead to disruptions in your supply chain and unexpected costs.

– Unstable support: If you don’t have contracts in place with your service providers, they can create delays or disruptions in your business. It can be hard to prove non-performances if no contract exists.

To avoid these problems, ensure that you have proper contracts with all of your key suppliers, customers, and employees. This will protect you in the event of any problem that may arise because of them.

Understanding Construction Liens 

Construction liens are a big problem for businesses, especially small businesses. A construction lien is a claim that a contractor or supplier can make on a property if they are not paid for their work.

If you are a contractor or a subcontractor, make sure that you are staying on top of payments. You can register a lien on the property if you are not being paid. However, you can only do so within 60 days of completing the contract.

Weathering the Storm With Beeksma Law

Making good choices today can help your business weather any storm. By taking the time to understand your commercial lease, put proper contracts in place, and stay on top of payments, you can protect your business from common problems.

At Beeksma Law, we know the struggles that entrepreneurs face.  We are here to help you protect your business from the common legal problems that can arise. Contact us today to discuss how we can help you.

Weathering The Storm: In Real Estate

Disclaimer: This article on Real Estate is intended for the purposes of providing information only and is to be used only for the purposes of guidance. This article is not intended to be relied upon as the giving of legal advice and does not purport to be exhaustive.

The average cost of homes in the GTA hit a peak of $1,086,493 in February 2022. However, as the Bank of Canada raised rates and the new mortgage rules came into effect, the market cooldown that followed created a much different landscape.

For those currently in the market for a new home or thinking about moving soon, it’s important to be aware of the current conditions and how they may impact your decision.

Here’s a look at a couple of key ways you can weather the current storm in real estate.

Real Estate

Co-Owning Properties

For many people entering the market,  the idea of co-owning a property is an attractive option. It can be a great way to get started in real estate investing, since it allows you to pool resources with someone else. However, there are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering this option.

First and foremost, having a co-ownership agreement is not just important. It is crucial. This document will outline the terms of your agreement and should be very specific. It should cover decisions such as:

  • how much will each person contributes to the purchase price?
  • what is each party’s responsibilities?
  • what happens if one person wants to sell?

Without a well-drafted agreement, you could find yourself in a very difficult situation down the road.

What if you already co-own a home, but don’t have a co-ownership agreement?  You should still execute one as soon as possible. It is certainly not too late and can save you a lot of headaches in the future.

Buying or Selling Your Home

We discussed earlier that there is a troubling trend in the real estate industry in Ontario.  The average home price in the province had risen quickly. However, as the market settled, many found it difficult to get financing for the difference between the appraised value of their homes and the outstanding mortgage.  This resulted in a number of deals falling through, as people could not come up with the difference.

If you are considering buying or selling your home, it is important to be aware of this trend and its potential impact.

What if are in this situation as a buyer? In many instances, once the deal has been finalized, there are few options. However, a lawyer can walk you through what those options are and how to best negotiate the next steps.

What if you find yourself in this situation as a seller? Has your lawyer properly papered your file for potential litigation? 

Retaining a lawyer with experience in both real estate transactions and litigation may be in your best interest, as this will give you the best chance of success if a deal falls through and you need to take legal action.

Buying a New Build

The new build market in Ontario has been booming in recent years. However, with the current market conditions, there are a few things you should keep in mind if you are considering purchasing a new build home.

During the COVID-19 pandemic,  many builders experienced supply chain delays. Therefore, builders are permitted to delay critical dates, such as the occupancy dates, because of the pandemic. If that is the case for you, you may have already made plans assuming a specific occupancy date and you likely have no recourse against the builder for the change. 

It is important that you speak with a lawyer to understand what notices you should be receiving from your builder and what timelines they are required to follow.

Weathering the Storm With Beeksma Law

The current conditions in the real estate market can be difficult to navigate.  At Beeksma Law, we have a team of experienced lawyers who can help you with all aspects of your real estate transaction, from co-ownership agreements to buying or selling your home.  We can also help if you find yourself in a situation where a deal has fallen through and you need to take legal action.

Please contact us today to learn more about how we can help you with any of your real estate needs.

3 Red Flags to Watch For When Choosing a Real Estate Lawyer

Disclaimer: This article on Real Estate Lawyer is intended for the purposes of providing information only and is to be used only for the purposes of guidance. This article is not intended to be relied upon as the giving of legal advice and does not purport to be exhaustive.

If you’re in the process of buying or selling a home, you need to hire a real estate lawyer in order to protect your legal rights. However, not all lawyers are created equal. While you may be tempted to look solely at the legal costs, it’s important to consider other factors. With that in mind, here are three red flags to watch out for when choosing a real estate lawyer.

Choosing a Real Estate Lawyer

1. The Lawyer Is Not Organized

There are many moving parts in a real estate transaction, and your lawyer needs to be organized to keep everything on track. If you find that your lawyer constantly forgets important details, asks for paperwork that you previously submitted or rushes before deadlines, it’s a red flag that they may not be the right person for the job.

If you ask questions, are you following up on the answer? Do you receive answers that are incomplete or unsatisfactory?  This can be a sign that the lawyer is unorganized or does not have enough knowledge about real estate law.

2. The Lawyer Is a Poor Communicator

As lawyers, we are advisors and educators. For our clients,  we need to be able to clearly explain the law and how it applies to their situation. If you find that your lawyer is difficult to understand or doesn’t seem to be interested in answering your questions, it may be time to look for someone else.

Additionally, you want to be kept abreast of what is happening in your transaction. If you find that your lawyer is not returning your calls or emails in a timely manner, it could be an indication that they are not prioritizing your case.

If you are not satisfied with how things are going and you communicate that to your lawyer, how do they respond? Do they pass the blame to other members of your real estate team (or, worse, to their own staff), or do they take ownership and work towards a solution?

3. The Lawyer is Relying Only on Past Experience

While you want a lawyer with experience in real estate law,  you also want someone who will keep up with the constantly changing landscape.

For example, electronic signatures are now legally binding in Ontario, but not all lawyers are using them. If your lawyer still relies on faxes and overnight courier services to get documents signed, they may also not be kept up-to-date on the latest legal developments.

A Note for Real Estate Professionals: Your Reputation is On The Line

If you are a real estate professional, it is important to remember that your reputation is on the line when you recommend a lawyer to your clients. Make sure you only refer clients to lawyers you trust to handle your own real estate transaction.

When you give your stamp of approval to a professional who does not perform well, your judgment is called into question.  Not only will your client be unhappy, but they may also start to question whether you have their best interests at heart in all areas of their transaction.

Since this will be their final interaction with you, that is what they will remember first, and they will certainly think twice about recommending you to their friends and family.

The bottom line is that you need to be careful when choosing a real estate lawyer. The impact can ripple far beyond the closing table.

Beeksma Law – Excellence is Our Minimum Standard

Hiring a real estate lawyer is an important decision that should not be taken lightly. They will facilitate your most significant purchase or sale, and their expertise will be crucial in ensuring a smooth transaction.

At Beeksma Law, we pride ourselves on providing excellence from the moment we meet to closing your file. We are happy to provide a complimentary consultation so that you can get to know us and we can answer any questions that you have.

Notice what some of our past clients have said about their experience:

“The team at Beeksma are top-notch! Constantly keeping their clients in the loop during the mortgage transaction and providing sound knowledge and advice. They go the extra mile to make sure closing day happens smoothly.”

“Shayna and her team were wonderful to work with and accommodated us on some rush real estate and estate law issues with such kindness and patience.  They made navigating a complex process super easy and took the time to explain our transaction in plain language to all parties.” 

“Beeksma Law made our buying and selling experience stress-free and easy! Their knowledge and know-how made the entire process smooth and simple from beginning to end. They were there for us every step of the way and stepped up to support our best interests when needed.” 

To schedule your complimentary consultation, please contact us here. We look forward to meeting you soon!