the real/estate blog


Giving and taking back

Posted in Charitable giving,Estate Planning by Cesia Green on June 4, 2013
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I came acroShelter catss this story the other day about a gift left to charity that ended up in the wrong place. Basically, the donation was accidentally sent to the wrong animal shelter; both had the same name, but were in identically named cities in different states.

In this particular situation, the money had to be given to the correct shelter; you can’t keep money you received by mistake, even if you are a charity. If, on the other hand, the situation had been that the other shelter no longer existed, the money could have been given to this shelter as a similar organization.

If you are leaving money to charity, it is very important to make sure that you have checked the name of the charity, but it is also important to allow for your executor to give money to a general charitable purpose in case that charity no longer exists or has changed its name.

Cutting ties

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on May 31, 2013
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What happeCutting ribbonns when you own a property jointly with someone, and don’t want to share any more?

Your kindergarten teacher probably wouldn’t be happy, but technically, you can sever a joint tenancy without any notice to the other parties. Basically, you do a transfer from yourself to yourself, with a statement that it is being done to sever the joint tenancy. The other person won’t find out unless they decide to look. Possibly not the best surprise to leave someone, but sometimes it is important to make sure that your share goes where you want it to go.

Changing it up

Posted in Estate Planning by Cesia Green on May 28, 2013
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Many people know that, on marriage, your will is automatically revoked. There is a good public policy reason for this: your spouse should not be disinherited simply because you forgot to update your will. (I touched on the issue of predatory marriages a while back.)

Broken heartWhat many people don’t understand, however, is that separation and divorce do not automatically revoke a will. If you are divorced, your estate is treated as if your spouse died before you; he or she will not be able to be your executor or inherit, but you might want to rethink your ex-brother-in-law as your alternate executor and beneficiary from the will you did just after you got married 20 years ago.

If you are separated, it is much murkier. If you have a formal separation agreement in place, your former spouse likely won’t be able to inherit, though you still have the same problem of your alternates. If you don’t have a separation agreement, though, there are no bans on your former spouse inheriting your entire estate.

This is likely not the solution you want. If you separate, you should have your will redone as soon as possible.

Specific performance

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on May 24, 2013
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You put in an offer and it was accepted, but some time before the closing date, the seller decided not to complete the deal. Can you sue to make them sell you the property?

In Ontario, there is a concept called “specific performance” which, essentially, means that you are looking to have the contract fulfilled rather than get compensated for your loss. Specific performance, however, is not an easy thing to get. Generally, courts prefer to award damages (that must be proven) rather than force specific performance. Specific performance will usually only be ordered when the property is so unique that it would be impossible to find something similar. As always, consult a litigation lawyer before assuming that you can get the house in the end.

Two thumbs up for doing your estate plan right

Posted in Estate Planning by Cesia Green on May 21, 2013
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Roger Ebert, the film critic famous for popularizing the “two thumbs up” concept for movies, passed away last month after a long battle with cancer.

Ebert’s estate gives us an important lesson: take warnings from people close to you very much to heart. Ebert’s friend and co-host Gene Siskel died of a brain tumour in 1999. While you should keep your will and powers of attorney up to date generally, a friend or loved one becoming very ill or dying suddenly should always be a wake-up call to get  your own estate plan in order.

h/t to the Evan Guthrie Law Firm for the original post.

Working in Harmony

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on May 17, 2013

Here’s a neat story out of my hometown: Harmony Village, which will be going up in downtown Barrie (hopefully) next year. Harmony Village will be a mix of condo towers, townhomes, and commercial space, right on the water of Kempenfelt Bay. Check out their website for more information.

Things no one tells you about death

Posted in End of Life Care,Estate Planning by Cesia Green on May 14, 2013
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Death of winterI came across this post the other day (warning: some NSFW text) and immediately connected with so much of it. While I might not have used the exact same language, he makes a lot of really good points. There is so much that we are not prepared for when someone dies; this runs the gamut from the bureaucratic nightmare that is dealing with institutions on the death of a loved one, to not actually feeling sad, in the case of a person you knew but not well, when you feel that you should be experiencing some negative emotion but don’t.

If you don’t mind a bit of swearing and want an entertaining read on a difficult subject, check it out.

Buying a rental

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on May 10, 2013
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I have written beforeHot water heater about assuming a hot water heater rental contract with your new house. Today’s question: do you want to?

Before you automatically agree to assume the contract, you might want to take a look at the wording of it. Sometimes it makes more sense to enter into a new contract with a new provider, or to buy a hot water heater rather than renting one. Regardless of what you choose to do, it will be a better choice if it is informed.

You’re going to die. Be prepared.

Posted in Estate Planning,Intestacy by Cesia Green on May 7, 2013
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I regularly read the blog Lifehacker, which is basically a collection of tips for making life easier. A few weeks ago, I came across this article on what you need to do now to prepare for death.

As the author observes, none of us likes to think about death. It will come to us all eventually, though, and some planning now will make it easier on everyone, including you, in the long run. Some of the information is very specific to American residents, but it is a great read if you are starting to think about what you need to do.

Cutting ties

Posted in Real Estate by Cesia Green on May 3, 2013
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What happens when you own a property jointly with someone, and don’t want to share any more?

Your kindergarten teacher probably wouldn’t be happy, but technically, you can sever a joint tenancy without any notice to the other person. Basically, you do a transfer from yourself to yourself, with a statement that it is being done to sever the joint tenancy. The other person won’t find out unless they decide to look. Possibly not the best surprise to leave someone, but sometimes it is important to make sure that your share goes where you want it to go.

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