FAQ

FAQ

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FAQ

The following are some frequently asked questions to give you some general information on some of the areas of law we practice.


Questions

Answers

WILLS & ESTATES> Why should I have a Will?

A Will provides specific instructions on what to do with your Estate (which consists of all of your possessions, property, etc.,) after your death. By having a signed Will you can ensure that: 1. The people who you want to leave specific things to will get them; 2. The people that you want to administer your Estate will be properly designated to do so; 3. That your relatives will not be left with costly issues to deal with after your death; 4. The people that you have designated as the guardians of your children will have the right to care for and be appointed legal guardians.

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WILLS & ESTATES> What if I die without a will?

When a person dies without a Will in Ontario, that person is said to have died Intestate and that person’s Estate is distributed according to the Ontario statute, called the Succession Law Reform Act. According to that statute, when you die without a Will, your Estate will be distributed to your closest living family members in accordance with the Rules for Distribution contained in the statute. The fact that a person dies without a Will does not necessarily mean that the Government gets all of your Estate, however, that is a possibility depending on your situation when you die.

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WILLS & ESTATES> What is a power of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a legal document which, when properly prepared and signed, authorizes another person to act on your behalf. There are two types of Powers of Attorney: 1. A Power of Attorney for Property in which you give another person, who is referred to as your attorney, the necessary power and authority to make decisions concerning your property and other financial matters, which could include selling or mortgaging your home, dealing with your bank accounts and with financial matters such as investments and dealing with any Government departments, such as the Canada Revenue Agency with respect to income taxes. 2. A Power of Attorney for Personal Care is the document by which you give another person the power and authority to make decisions relating to medical and personal care decisions in the event that you are unable to make these decisions for yourself. Personal Care includes clothing, nutrition, shelter, and long term care.

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WILLS & ESTATES> What would happen if I became unable to make decisions or incapacitated and do not have a Power of Attorney?

If this were to occur, the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee of Ontario could, in some circumstances, be appointed and become the attorney for your property and financial matters. Subsequently, a member of your family or someone else would have to apply to the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee of Ontario or in other situations to the Superior Court to be appointed as the guardian of your property to act on your behalf. By having your own Power of Attorney for Property you have made the decision about who will act on your behalf. Without one, it will be the Government of Ontario or a court that will choose that attorney for you.

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WILLS & ESTATES> Can I cancel a Power of Attorney after I have signed it and appointed someone to be my attorney?

Yes. A Power of Attorney that you have previously given can be cancelled or revoked, provided you are mentally capable of revoking it. In order to cancel or revoke a Power of Attorney you will have to sign an actual Revocation and ensure that it is delivered to the attorney that you had previously appointed.

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WILLS & ESTATES> What is Probate?

In Ontario, Probate (which is now referred to as a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee With a Will) is the proof to banks, financial institutions, your investment advisors and the Government that your Will has been certified by the court and that your Executor (also referred to as an Estate Trustee) is authorized to represent your Estate.

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WILLS & ESTATES> Is there a fee for obtaining Probate?

Yes, there is fee payable to the Province of Ontario based on the fair market value of all the property that you own at the time of your death subject to the following exclusions: 1. Assets registered in joint names and which on the death of the first person automatically passed to the survivor by right of survivorship are not included in probate. 2. Real estate that is located outside of the Province of Ontario. 3. Life insurance, RRSP’s, RRIF’s for which a named beneficiary has been designated.

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WILLS & ESTATES> How is the probate fee calculated?

In Ontario on the first $50,000 of Estate value, the probate fee is 0.5% and on the balance of the Estate, the probate fee is calculated 1.50%. By way of example, on an Estate valued at $150,000.00, the probate fee is $1,750.00.

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REAL ESTATE > What are some tips to a smooth property purchase?

Step 1 - Contact Anderson Sinclair

Contact Anderson Sinclair and provide:
1. the Agreement of Purchase and Sale;
2. a mortgage statement for any mortgage registered against the property;
3. a tax bill (only if you pay your taxes directly and not through your mortgage);
4. your address, if different than property sold;
5. contact phone numbers


Step 2 - Satisfy any outstanding conditions

Please ensure that you satisfy any conditions in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale including the delivery of a survey or status certificate, if applicable, within the specific time frames.


Step 3 - Arrange your mortgage

Please ensure that you satisfy any conditions in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale including the delivery of a survey or status certificate, if applicable, within the specific time frames.


Step 4 - Arrange Fire Insurance – DOES NOT APPLY TO CONDOS

You are responsible for arranging Fire Insurance, as we will not be able to close your transaction without proof of insurance from your insurance broker. The insurance agent must provide us with a "binder letter" before closing, showing the name of the insuring company, the amount of coverage, its expiration date and the name of any lenders as loss payee. If you don’t have an insurance agent, simply ask us.


Step 5 - Confirm new utility accounts

Anderson Sinclair will contact the water, hydro and gas companies to have the meters read on closing, however, it is your responsibility to call the utility companies to set up the new accounts in your name prior to closing. Please note, arranging for telephone and cable television services are also your responsibility.


Step 6 - Document Execution

We usually get paperwork from your bank and the other lawyer about 7 days before closing. Once we have this, we figure out how much you need to bring in, give you a call to let you know and set up an appointment with you to come in and sign the closing documents, usually the day before closing.


You will have to bring in the balance of money due on closing, if any, by certified cheque or bank draft payable to ANDERSON SINCLAIR LLP, IN TRUST


When attending our office to sign any documentation you must bring with you two pieces of current identification. One must be a Canadian/Ontario government photo identification. (ie. Driver’s license or Passport). The other can be a major credit card or SIN card.


Step 7 - Pick-up the Key

Although we do everything we can to get your deal closed as early as possible, deals typically close anywhere from 3:30 pm to 5 pm. As soon as the deal is closed we will contact you to let you know so you can come and pick up your keys.

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REAL ESTATE > What are some tips to a smooth property sale?


Step 1 - Contact Anderson Sinclair LLP

Contact Anderson Sinclair LLP and provide: 1. the Agreement of Purchase and Sale; 2. a mortgage statement for any mortgage registered against the property; 3. a tax bill (only if you pay your taxes directly and not through your mortgage); 4. your address, if different than property sold; 5. contact phone numbers


Step 2 - Satisfy any outstanding conditions

Please ensure that you satisfy any conditions in your Agreement of Purchase and Sale including the delivery of a survey or status certificate, if applicable, within the specific time frames.


Step 3 – Contact the utility companies Contact the utility companies to arrange a meter reading and advise them of the forwarding address to which they can send your final bill.


Step 4 – Cancel any preauthorized payment plans

Cancel and pre-authorized payment plans you are on (i.e. property taxes, condominium monthly common expenses).


Step 5 - Signing Closing Documents

We usually get paperwork from your bank and the other lawyer about 7 days before closing. Once we have this, we give you a call to let you know and set up an appointment with you to come in and sign the closing documents, usually the day before closing. . You may provide us a void cheque (the institution must have a branch close to our office) and we will typically deposit the funds into your account on the next business day. The account must be in the name(s) of the seller(s). We have no control over whether your bank puts a hold on the funds.


You need to bring at least one key to the property. When attending our office to sign any documentation you must bring with you two piece of current identification. One must be a Canadian/Ontario government photo identification (ie. Driver’s licence or Passport). The other can be a major credit card or SIN card.


Step 6 – Pick-up the Cheque

Although we do everything we can to get your deal closed as early as possible, deals typically close anywhere from 3:30 pm to 5 pm. As soon as the deal is closed we will contact you to let you know so you can come and pick up your cheque.

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REAL ESTATE > How do I get my keys on closing?

A. PURCHASING A RESALE PROPERTY
Although we try and close the deal as early as possible, keys are usually not available for release to buyers until about 3:30 p.m. on the closing day.


Therefore, it is suggested that (if a purchaser is moving on the closing date) movers should be arranged so that their arrival at the property being purchased will occur late in the afternoon of closing in order to avoid unnecessary moving costs if you are paying movers on an hourly basis.


If you are moving into a condominium apartment, contact the management office well in advance to reserve any elevator that might be required; reserving an elevator usually involves a security deposit; consider closing the purchase for a condominium at least one day before moving so that there will be no problem regarding time for reserving an elevator for the move if a key is not obtainable on the actual closing date until about 5:00p.m.

BR> Typically, keys are picked up at our office. If it is more convenient for you, we can try and arrange for you to pick up the keys at the seller’s lawyer’s office.


B. PURCHASING FROM A BUILDER
As soon as the purchase has been completed (on the closing day) the keys are typically released at the applicable construction trailer or sales office, if the property is not a condominium. If the property is a new condominium, keys are usually released through the site management office or concierge (if any) in the afternoon on the day of interim occupancy (or on the day of final closing if there is no interim occupancy).


Although we try and close the deal as early as possible, keys are usually not available for release to buyers until about 3:30 p.m. on the closing day.

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REAL ESTATE > How can I tell how much the Ontario land transfer tax will be?


Click here to go to the Toronto Real Estate Board calculator

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REAL ESTATE > How does the land transfer tax refund work?

A) FIRST TIME BUYER BUYING FROM A BUILDER


Important information about the Ontario Land Transfer Tax Refund: Effective April 1, 2000, the Ontario Land Transfer Tax Act was amended making the refund to eligible first-time purchasers of newly constructed homes permanent so that it is no longer necessary (as it was in past years) to be concerned with annual renewals of the program.


NOTE: On December 13, 2007, the Ontario government's mini budget announced that first time buyer Ontario land transfer tax refund (up to $2,000.00) will also be extended to resale homes provided that the offer was accepted on or after December 14, 2007: See below, FIRST TIME BUYER BUYING A RESALE HOME.


FIRST TIME BUYER OF NEW HOME: You must be a first-time home buyer of a newly constructed home or condominium registered with the Ontario New Home Warranty Program (ONHWP). Condo conversions (from older buildings) do NOT qualify! Your Agreement must have been accepted by the builder on or after May 8, 1996 and you must use the home as your principal residence.


NEVER OWNED A HOME: You (or your spouse) must be at least 18 years of age and never owned an interest in a home anywhere in the world (since you became spouses). Spouse includes a common-law spouse of three (3) years or more or where there is a natural or adoptive child between the common-law spouses. If, since becoming spouses, both spouses did not own a home, but one spouse owned a house which was sold prior to marriage (resulting in such spouse who did own a home being disqualified as a first-time buyer), the remaining first-time buyer spouse may claim total available refund (even if both spouses take title).


PARTNERSHIP PURCHASE (NON-SPOUSAL): If father and son buy a home (or any two non spouses) and one (only) is a first-time buyer with a 50% interest (for example), such first-time buyer can claim a refund of 50% of the Ontario Land Transfer Tax refund available being half of $2,000.00.


MAXIMUM REFUND: If your Agreement with the builder was entered into: i. on or before March 31, 1999, maximum refund is $1,725.00; ii. on or after April 1, 1999, maximum refund is $2,000.00.


INSTANT REFUND:


a). The refund is instantly available on closing of the real estate purchase. Any amount of Ontario land transfer tax above the allowed maximum refund must be paid on closing.


b) . Where a qualifying purchaser did not claim an immediate refund at time of a purchase closing, the tax will be payable at that time and a refund claim may be made directly to the Ministry of Finance. This application must be made within eighteen months of registration of the conveyance and no interest is payable on this refund. The following documentation must be submitted in order for a refund claim to be processed (if claim for refund was not made by purchaser's lawyer, for the purchaser, at the time of closing):


1. A properly completed Ontario Land Transfer Tax Refund Affidavit form,
2. Copy of the registered transfer/deed,
3. Copy of the agreement of purchase and sale,
4. Copy of the statement of adjustments at time of completion of purchase,
5. Copy of the Tarion New Home Warranty Certificate.


B) FIRST TIME BUYER BUYING A RESALE HOME In addition to first time buyers (who buy from a builder) being entitled to a land transfer tax refund of up to $2,000.00, first time buyers of resale homes will also now be eligible for a rebate of Ontario Land Transfer Tax of up to $2,000.00 on any resale home purchased in Ontario where the agreement of purchase and sale is entered on or after December 14, 2007. As of August /08, the refund is instantly available on the closing date.


Eligibility requirements for resale homes, is the same as for new builder homes:


- Purchaser must be 18 years or older
- Must use property as principal residence within 9 months of closing
- The spouse of the first time buyer must not have owned any residential property anywhere in the world during the marriage

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REAL ESTATE > Can you tell me about title insurance?

In Ontario the Law Society requires all lawyers, when acting for purchasers, to inform clients about title insurance and its advantages.


We have title insured every purchaser we have acted for in the last 7 years.


The cost of the title insurance is a one-time premium that is included in our package price. The purchaser is covered for as long as they own the property.


Title Insurance is an insurance policy covering the condition of title or ownership of real property at the time the policy is issued and is used to provide ownership protection for a purchaser against losses or damages suffered as a result of title problems.


For a one-time premium the policy protects the purchaser(s) and mortgage lender against losses suffered from matters set out below as well as other matters more specifically outlined in the policy, which may include:

  • defects that would have been revealed by an up-to-date survey
  • survey errors or illegibility of survey
  • encroachments (before or after closing)
  • contravention of municipal zoning by-laws
  • unmarketability of title
  • defects in the title
  • invalidity or unenforceability of the mortgage on title
  • liens
  • easements (other than usual easements for utilities, etc.)
  • contravention of subdivision, development and other agreements
  • priority of certain construction liens
  • priority of unregistered easements and rights of way
  • fraud or forgery (prior to and after closing)
  • solicitor error, omission or fraud
  • unpaid property taxes or local improvement charges by a prior owner
In addition to policy coverage, the insured also receives:
  • indemnity for actual loss or damage for the amount of the policy
  • (being the price paid for the property) and automatically increasing
  • coverage (with inflation and rising property value) overtime to a
  • coverage which can be double the price originally paid for the property.
  • payment of legal fees and costs to address title issues a "no-fault" method to resolve title problems

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