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Why Have a Cohabitation Agreement in Ontario?

a happy couple hugging because they got a cohabitation agreement in ontario

Disclaimer: This article on drafting a cohabitation agreement in Ontario is intended for the purpose of providing information only. It 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.

Entering into a committed relationship with your partner is a significant milestone in your life. There is a growing trend in Canada towards common-law relationships. For some, the intention is to never marry. For others, they just haven’t tied the knot yet. 

Regardless, you must consider the legal implications. This is where a cohabitation agreement comes into play.

This article will explore why having a cohabitation agreement in Ontario is a wise choice. We’ll discuss the purpose of these agreements and address common questions.

What Is the Purpose of a Cohabitation Agreement?

A cohabitation agreement is a binding contract. You may see it called a common-law or domestic partnership agreement. It is designed to provide clarity and protection for unmarried couples living together. Its primary purpose is to establish the rights and obligations of each partner within the relationship.

The property division sections in the Family Law Act only apply to married couples. This means that without an agreement, your property rights remain distinct from your partner’s. This is true even if you’ve been in the relationship for a long time.

Cohabitation agreements serve several essential functions.

Property Division: 

The agreement will typically outline how you will divide your property if you separate. This ensures that each partner’s assets are protected.

Debt Protection: 

Cohabitation agreements can safeguard each partner from the other’s debts. This means that if your partner accumulates debt during the relationship, creditors cannot access your assets.

Income and Asset Protection: 

One of you may expect more income or a financial windfall, such as an inheritance. The agreement can specify you will manage these scenarios. 

Clarifying Financial Expectations: 

The agreement helps establish clear expectations when it comes to financial matters. This will reduce any disputes if you separate.

Children’s Welfare: 

Cohabitation agreements cannot determine child custody or child support arrangements. However, they can address financial obligations related to your children from a previous relationship.

Inheritance: 

The agreement can include provisions regarding the inheritance of property if one partner dies. 

How Long Does a Cohabitation Agreement Last?

A common question that arises when discussing cohabitation agreements is their duration. Cohabitation agreements can be flexible and last as long you want. You can sign an agreement at any time during the relationship. You can sign one at the outset or years into your relationship.

However, these agreements can evolve if you get married. The cohabitation agreement may automatically transition into a marriage contract. 

The marriage contract will address the changed status and rights and obligations associated with marriage. It’s crucial to review and, if necessary, update the agreement to align with your new status.

Do I Need a Cohabitation Agreement in Ontario?

The decision to have an agreement is a personal one. However, there are situations when having an agreement becomes especially important:

Protecting Separate Property: 

Do you have significant assets or debts that you want to protect? A cohabitation agreement is crucial to ensure that they remain separate.

Financial Independence: 

Do you prefer financial independence? Do you want to maintain ownership of your assets? An agreement can clarify these expectations.

Avoiding Court Disputes: 

Having an agreement in place helps prevent disputes by spelling everything out and getting both of you on the same page. 

Protection for Children: 

Do either of you have children from a previous relationship? An agreement can outline financial support arrangements to ensure the children’s welfare.

Protecting your common-law relationship with Beeksma Law

In Ontario, the legal landscape for unmarried couples differs greatly from that of married couples. A cohabitation agreement is a valuable tool for protecting your rights and assets. To discuss your cohabitation agreement, get in touch with the team at Beeksma Law today!

Buying a Book of Business in Ontario

Disclaimer: This article on buying a book of 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.

In many businesses, entrepreneurs have to face the question of succession planning. Will the business be sold to someone? Should it pass on to a family member? Will it merge with another organization? These are all important questions to consider, and having a plan in place can help ensure that the business continues to be successful.

Many professionals are getting older (for example, the average financial advisor is now in their 50s), with retirement looming on the horizon. For new professionals in the field, this may be the expansion opportunity that you’ve been waiting for. After all, what better way to expand than to acquire a well-established adviser’s clients and business?

Expanding your business this way is no small matter. Making sure that your interests are protected – whether you are the purchaser or the seller – requires legal expertise, good advice and a savvy business sense.

In this article, we will talk about buying this specific type of business and different areas that you need to consider.

What is a “Book of Business”?

When acquiring a financial advisor’s business, you will likely be purchasing the book of business. This is the advisor’s client list and their associated assets. It typically includes detailed information about each client (e.g., contact details, relationship history, and account balances).

However, buying a book of business is an intangible asset and can be difficult to value. It is much different than buying (for example) a retail location with merchandise, equipment and the associated liabilities. The right legal and financial due diligence is required when considering such a purchase and its potential for success.

Much of the value behind a book of business lies in its “goodwill” or the value of the relationships between the advisor and their clients. Factors like trust, satisfaction with services rendered, as well as reputation can have a major effect on whether or not a client decides to stay with the business after an ownership change.

Questions to Consider

When considering buying a book of business, there are many questions to consider, such as:

  • How will you determine the value of the book of business? Will multiple appraisals be required? When should the seller provide a finalized list of clients and their assets?
  • What will the transition period look like? How will the clients be informed? Will the seller make introductions and work towards a smooth transition? How will existing staff, if any, be retained and/or rewarded for their loyalty?
  • What other financial obligations (such as taxes) need to be taken into account when making the purchase?
  • What kind of non-competition clause should you include to ensure that the seller does not take business away from you?

Of course, each transaction is unique and will have its own specific requirements. It is important to have experienced advisors and lawyers on your side to make sure that you are getting the best deal possible.

Buying a financial advisor’s book of business can be an exciting opportunity for entrepreneurs looking to expand their businesses. However, it requires careful consideration and due diligence in order to ensure that all parties

Take the next step with Beeksma Law

Whether you are looking to buy another advisor’s book or sell your business, Beeksma Law can help. Our team of experienced lawyers can guide you through the process and make sure your interests are protected every step of the way.

With our experience and expertise, our clients can rest assured that the deal will be as hassle-free as possible. As entrepreneurs ourselves, we know what your business means to you and take it just as seriously as you do. To learn how we can help you buy or sell a book of business, contact us for a consultation today.

Announcement: New Family Law Services from Beeksma Law

Disclaimer: This article on our family law services 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.

At Beeksma Law, we serve and advocate for families and businesses with their legal needs. 

Beeksma Law will now handle preparing cohabitation agreements and uncontested divorces. Book a consultation today to discuss preparing these documents for your family. 

What are cohabitation agreements? 

A cohabitation agreement in Ontario is a legal contract between two unmarried individuals who live together in a domestic partnership. The agreement outlines the rights and responsibilities of each partner in regard to their shared property, assets, and finances. 

You would draft a cohabitation agreement to provide clarity and security for both partners and help resolve any disputes.

In Ontario, cohabitation agreements can cover a wide range of issues. This includes dividing property, support payments, and decision-making authority in the event you separate. It is important to note that a lawyer should carefully draft and review a cohabitation agreement to ensure it is enforceable. It is also important for both partners to fully understand the terms and conditions of the agreement before signing it.

What are uncontested divorces? 

Uncontested divorce in Ontario refers to a divorce proceeding where both parties agree on all the terms of their separation, including the division of property, support payments, and the custody of any children. In an uncontested divorce, both parties agree to file a joint application for divorce, which is a simpler and quicker process compared to a contested divorce. Uncontested divorces are often less time-consuming and less stressful for all parties involved.

The process of obtaining an uncontested divorce in Ontario begins with both parties filing a joint application for divorce with the court. Subsequently, you would file that alongside a separation agreement, explicitly outlining the terms of the separation. It’s imperative that the agreement complies with Ontario law and receives signatures from both parties. If, upon review, the court finds the joint application and the separation agreement satisfactory, it will proceed to grant the divorce order.

Why Beeksma Law? 

At Beeksma Law, we pride ourselves in providing excellence for our clients. Our pedigree, experience and breadth of expertise means that our clients are getting legal representation that 

While we largely handle estate law, family law and estate planning often intersect. Having your cohabitation agreement or divorce align with your estate plan makes for fewer complexities after you pass away. 

To learn more, please book a consultation with our team today. We would be happy to discuss your unique circumstances and needs. 

How Beeksma Law Uses Technology for a Better Client Experience

Disclaimer: This article on finding a lawyer in Ontario 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.

When you are looking for an attorney, what is the most important thing to you? Is it the size of their office? What about their location or hours of operation? At Beeksma Law, we know that none of these things matter if you’re not getting results!

That’s why at Beeksma Law, we have embraced technology and integrated it into our practice. This blog post will discuss some ways that we use cutting-edge technology to create a better client experience!

Seamless Service

We have been using technology and modernizing our practice well before the COVID-19 pandemic began. However, we saw some real benefits during this tumultuous time.

Many of our clients wanted to avoid face-to-face contact as much as possible and to be honest, so did we! Meeting virtually allowed us to have face-to-face discussions with our clients without risking anyone’s safety. 

Also, we were able to continue serving our clients by using technology-based tools. When the lockdowns first began, our firm was prepared to continue business as usual with minimal interruptions. 

We had already invested in many technological efficiencies, including video conferencing equipment and cloud-based data storage. Our investments paid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, allowing us to continue serving our clients without interruption of service or risk of infection.

Beeksma Law

Client Convenience

Imagine you are buying your first home and need to visit your lawyer’s office at least twice during business hours. That would involve taking at least 2-3 hours off for a one-hour appointment, depending on how far you are from your lawyer’s offices.

Logging into a virtual meeting reduces that time to minutes.  Our clients do not have to worry about fighting traffic, finding parking and losing valuable time to be able to receive sound legal advice.

As well, since the process is so simple, our clients are in a better frame of mind to truly understand our advice and make sound decisions.  Stress limits our ability to make wise choices so anything that we can do to remove that stress is very important.

Increased Access to Legal Advice

While our office is located in Hamilton, we have clients all across Ontario.

For those in remote communities, access to legal advice may be limited. A modern law firm that embraces technology opens up options to our clients. At Beeksma Law, we strongly believe that everyone should have access to legal advice.  Leveraging the online tools available opens the doors across Ontario.

Lower Overhead

An office is expensive. There’s the space itself, furniture, utilities,  supplies, maintenance, and the list goes on.

You can put more funds to work for the company or client when you have fewer overhead expenses. While many law firms still operate solely at an office, we’ve decided that keeping our overhead low was worth it when it meant better service for our clients.

Again, this is part of our pledge to ensure that legal services are accessible to as many as possible.

However, you may wonder if an electronically signed document has the same weight and legality as one signed in person.

beeksma law

Electronic Signatures

The short answer is, yes. Electronic signatures are governed by the Ontario Electronic Commerce Act (ECA). The law defines them as “electronic information that a person creates or adopts in order to sign a document and that is in, attached to or associated with the document.” 

In most circumstances, an electronic signature is just as valid and legal as a “wet signature” or one made in person. As with anything, there are certain circumstances that require special consideration. We will address the use of electronic signatures in a future article.

Shayna Beeksma, Beeksma Law, a lawyer in Ontario and her team that embraces technology to better service our clients

Finding a lawyer in Ontario

At Beeksma Law, excellence is our minimum standard. That means that we keep working with new tools, adapt to changing circumstances and leverage technology to provide the best service.

If you are looking for a lawyer in Ontario, and would like to learn more and see the difference for yourself, book a call here.

Tips for a Smooth Real Estate Closing

Disclaimer: This article with tips to buying a home 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 process of purchasing a home is stressful enough without the added anxiety of worrying about your closing. The last thing you want to do is be worried that something will go wrong and delay the entire process.

That is not how you want to start your life in a new home! That is why we put together a quick list of how you can ensure a smooth real estate closing.

Involve a Lawyer Right Away

Of the many tips for buying a home we can share, this is the most important. The sooner you involve a real estate lawyer, the more time your legal team has to prepare for closing.

Additionally, there may be potential problems that may arise. The sooner your legal team is involved, the sooner they will discover those issues and bring them to your attention.

Understand Your Purchase or Sale

It is important that you understand the process. If you are unsure of anything at all, ask questions. Ask lots of questions.

If you are the buyer, ask questions about closing costs and fees. If you are the seller, ask your realtor if they can provide a list of all expenses that will be associated with selling your property.

Your real estate team, including your realtor, your mortgage lender, and your real estate lawyer, is there to educate you and make sure you are empowered during your transaction. They should clearly explain different documents to you and make sure you fully understand the impact of the decisions you are making along the way.

A great real estate lawyer will explain everything in a manner that is easy to understand.

Plan and Budget

Besides the purchase of the house, there are many closing costs to account for, including any inspections and legal fees. Make sure that you have budgeted to account for these costs.

In addition to your budget, it may be a good idea to have an emergency fund set aside for any additional expenditures. For example, if the house needs repairs or maintenance after you move in and they are not covered by insurance. It is best to discuss these possibilities with your real estate agent so that you can plan ahead.

one of the tips to buying a home, budgeting for closing expenses during a real estate closing
Businessman working on Desk office business financial accounting calculate

Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

Communication is key in any working relationship, but it is critical for a smooth real estate closing.

You must be quick to inform your team if there are any material changes that may affect your deal, such as changing employers or any issues that come up with the house you are selling.

On the day of closing, it is particularly important to be in communication with all of the different parties. One of our clients recently said, “The team communicated with us regularly leading up to our closings and both closings were handled quickly and with as little stress as possible.” At Beeksma Law, we believe that communication is the cornerstone to a smooth transaction.

Have Confidence in Your Professional Team

Of course, the best tip we can give to ensuring a smooth real estate closing is to have dedicated professionals who are committed to your success!

At Beeksma Law, we have earned our clients’ trust by providing dedicated and attentive service. We are ready to help you through your next real estate transaction.

Contact us today for a free consultation to make sure that your closing goes smoothly!