Tips for a Smooth Real Estate Closing

Disclaimer: This article 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

The sooner you involve a real estate lawyer in the process, 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 part of the process, 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, which includes 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 that you must 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 that come up. 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.

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!

Important Documents You Need Besides a Will

Disclaimer: This article 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.

Life is unpredictable and sometimes things happen that were not part of the plan. That being said, we discussed before how important planning is and how a will protects those important people in your life. 

However, that is not where estate planning starts and ends.  There are other documents, for example, a power of attorney, that you will want to have in place.

In this blog post, we’ll go over some of the most important documents you should have besides a will to ensure that your loved ones are fully cared for and protected.

If you would like to learn more about how we help our clients with their estate planning, please visit here or book a call with us here.

power of attorney

What is a Power of Attorney?

A power of attorney is a legal document that gives another person, known as an attorney for property or attorney for personal care, the power to make certain decisions for someone (known as the grantor) who has given them power.

In other words, this person will have similar powers and rights you have when it comes to making important decisions on your behalf, from financials to health care, if you are unable to make those decisions yourself.

In Ontario, there are two categories of Powers of Attorney:

  • Power of Attorney for Personal Care
  • Power of Attorney for Property

Let’s start with the power of attorney for property.  That category is further split into a continuing power of attorney or a non-continuing (general) power of attorney.

The difference between the two is within the name and the length of effectiveness. A continuing power of attorney will handle your financial affairs if you cannot, including if you are mentally incapable.

A non-continuing (general) power of attorney will cover your financial affairs, but not if you become mentally incapable. This type of power of attorney may be used if you are going to be away for an extended period of time and will need someone to handle your affairs in Ontario.

A Power of Attorney for Personal Care will cover personal decisions for you, such as decisions related to your health if you cannot make those decisions yourself.

Can I have a living will?

You may have heard the term “living will” before, but it is not recognized in Ontario. However, an advanced medical directive can be prepared that outlines your wishes in the event that you cannot make those decisions for yourself.

You may wonder how that differs from a power of attorney for personal care. A power of attorney for personal care appoints someone to make those decisions for you.  An advanced directive will not name any individual but will set out your wishes.

This is important to have if you have strong feelings about your medical care, such as whether or not to prolong your life in certain situations or if there are medical procedures or practices that you are morally opposed to.  Some clients choose to include their advanced directive with their power of attorney for personal care so that their attorney is aware of their wishes.

trust for children

Do I need a trust for my children?

Many parents leave their estates to their children in the event that both parents pass away.  However, it can be concerning to wonder if their child will be ready for that responsibility on their 18th birthday.

Our role as parents is to protect our children and sometimes that means protecting them from themselves. 

A trust is a legal entity that holds your estate on behalf of your beneficiaries. A trustee is appointed to distribute the estate as per your instructions. For example, that may mean allowing certain expenses (i.e. buying a home, university, etc.) while holding onto the bulk of the estate until the beneficiary reaches a certain age, such as the age of 25, when most persons are far more fiscally responsible than they were at, for instance, age 18.

Comprehensive Estate Planning

As you can see, there is more to estate planning than a will. Of course, each document mentioned above has its own legislative requirements to be valid and legally binding.

Speaking with a lawyer about your estate planning is a necessary step. Have the peace of mind that your family will not be unduly burdened with legal complications after you have passed.

Speak with us today about how we can ensure that your estate planning is comprehensive and fits your needs. Book a call here.

The 4 C’s of Choosing a Law Firm

Choosing a law firm is no small feat. The Law Society of Ontario reports over 57,000 lawyer licenses, so how can you choose? 

There are several factors to consider, but first, it is important to note the impact of this decision. Whether it’s ensuring that your last wishes are protected or making sure that your first home purchase runs smoothly, you turn to a lawyer to protect the parts of your life that you hold dear. 

However, there are factors that you can consider when choosing a lawyer.  Here are just four to think about: 

  • Credentials and accomplishments
  • Competence
  • Compatibility and Core Values
  • Client Reviews

Credentials and Accomplishments

At a minimum, all lawyers in Ontario must be licensed with the Law Society of Ontario.  However, look for other signs that your lawyer is respected within their field. For example, are they members of professional organizations? 

Have they been recognized or been recipients of any awards? Where have they gained their experience? How long have they been in practice? 

Consider your lawyer’s background.  After receiving her education at one of Canada’s top law schools, Shayna Beeksma gained experience at Gowling WLG, one of Canada’s most prestigious law firms. 

Additionally, she has supplemented that high-caliber pedigree by practicing with a boutique and mid-sized law firm, gaining well-rounded experience that has served her well since she opened her firm in 2018. Shayna has combined her Bay Street pedigree with a Main Street sensibility to her clients’ benefits.

Besides being a sharp legal advocate, Shayna Beeksma is an active member of her community.  Some of the organizations that she works with include:

  • Rotary Club of Hamilton AM (Current Board Member)
  • Telling Tales (Current Board Member)
  • Christian Legal Fellowship (Past Board Member)
  • Reverend John C. Holland Awards (Beeksma Law is the annual sponsor of the Lincoln Alexander Award, awarded to a Black high school or postsecondary student for breaking down barriers in the community)
  • Mamas & Co. (Mentor, Guest Conference Speaker, and Guest Coach for Mom Bosses)
  • Pollinators (a vibrant community for female entrepreneurs)
  • BNI SCORE (Stoney Creek)
  • The Entrepreneur Nation (Ancaster)
  • Hamilton Law Association (CPD Subcommittee Member)
  • Ontario Bar Association
  • Advocates Society
  • Canadian Association of Black Lawyers

Shayna Beeksma is committed to the practice of the law and improving the profession as a whole. 

Competence 

In Ontario, all lawyers are barristers and solicitors. What does that mean? All lawyers in Ontario can handle the transactional and planning portions of the law, along with the litigation or court-related aspects.  Each lawyer chooses the areas of law and the types of services that they offer. 

Some firms thrive in handling disputes, while others shine in preparing transactions.  Yet others, such as Beeksma Law, provide comprehensive and well-rounded legal advice in both spheres. 

Leaning on her wealth of legal experience, Shayna uses her keen legal skills to advocate for her clients.  She has appeared at various levels of court, including the Ontario Superior Court of Justice. She has also argued cases before the Divisional Court, the Ontario Court of Appeal, and the Health Professions Appeal and Review Board. 

Besides being a fierce advocate, Shayna is strategic and effective in estate planning, structuring business transactions, and handling real estate transactions. Her experience allows her to prevent issues before they arise. Of course, the very best way to avoid disagreements is to ensure that terms are clear throughout the process.

Consider the ease of working with a law firm that provides full advice and expertise in an area of law.  Beeksma Law provides such knowledge in the areas of Wills & Estates, Business Law, and Real Estate, whether it is planning and transactional matters or any litigation related to those areas.

Compatibility and Core Values

When seeking legal advice, you need to turn to someone you can trust. Therefore, finding the right fit is incredibly important.  This is especially true when seeking a lawyer to deal with challenges, such as facing a loss. 

Meeting with a lawyer will give you a great opportunity to understand whether you are compatible. However, ask questions and be wary of any lawyer who guarantees an outcome – especially in litigation!  There are too many unknowns for a reasonable lawyer to predict with certainty what a court will decide. 

Additionally, choose a lawyer and law firm that truly cares about their clients and about what is best for them.  When you face times of trouble, especially if your visit to a lawyer is preceded by tragedy, you want someone compassionate and kind. 

As mentioned above, Beeksma Law is active within the legal community and committed to improving the profession. Shayna and her team strongly believe in ensuring that justice is accessible to all. Furthermore, Beeksma Law believes in achieving high results for their clients: excellence is truly their minimum standard. 

Client Reviews 

The best way to know what it’s like to work with a lawyer or law firm is to ask someone who has already been there! Ask your family and friends for referrals and review online reviews. 

Look for testimonials such as: 

“There were a lot of unknowns about [buying my first house], so your patience with me, your willingness to share and explain things in simpler ways and your shared excitement were a huge blessing.”

“I cannot say how professional and compassionate Beeksma Law is. We needed someone who would do all the lawyer stuff for us, but we also needed someone who genuinely cared. That sums up Beeksma Law for me.”

“We were always confident that our real estate deals were being handled perfectly…I would not hesitate to recommend Beeksma Law to anyone who wants to be sure that their real estate transactions will be handled by the best in the business.”

Beeksma Law and Shayna Beeksma have also been recognized by the Hamilton Spectator and by Hamilton Community News.  They were voted the Platinum Winners of the 2019 & 2020 Hamilton Spectator’s Readers’ Choice Awards in the law firm, real estate law firm, lawyer and real estate lawyer categories.  Additionally, Shayna Beeksma was voted the 2021 Platinum Winner of the Hamilton Community News’ Readers’ Choice Awards in the lawyer category.

Carefully Consider Your Options 

Choosing a lawyer for your business, real estate, and estate planning is a serious matter. However, by considering the above four factors, you can confidently have your legal issues resolved by someone you enjoy working with and trust. 

If Beeksma Law has the competence, credentials, core values, and client reviews that align with you, then we welcome the opportunity to work with you. Book an online consultation, and we will be happy to speak with you.