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Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What is a building location survey?

A: A building location survey is a plan of the property prepared by a land surveyor showing the measurements of the boundaries of the property and the location of the structures on such property. It assists the homeowner and the lawyer to determine, amongst others:
  • If the house and structures you are buying are located within the limits of the property
  • If there are any encroachments of any buildings and structures
  • If there is compliance with the set back requirements of the zoning by-laws
  • The dimensions of the property and the location of the fences in relation to the property boundaries
Q: Do I need a building location survey to buy a house?

A: In many cases, mortgage lenders no longer require a survey prior to advancing mortgage funds, as it is usually possible to purchase a title insurance policy to protect the lender. Although most title insurance policies also provide coverage to the home owner for certain survey related issues, it is wise to inquire from the lawyer as to the extent of this coverage. Title insurance provides coverage in the event of a loss, it does not provide the valuable information that is provided by a building location survey. As a home owner, you may, in the future, wish to construct an addition, a garage, a fence or another structure and would benefit from having a survey, to determine where best to place such new structure.

Q: Do I need to be present to complete my real estate transaction?

A: There are many documents to be signed on closing which require your original signature and therefore can not be completed by fax. If you know you are going to be away when your transaction closes, you should advise your solicitor and he or she may recommend that you complete a limited power of attorney which allows someone you appoint to sign the closing documents on your behalf. Alternatively, the documents may be forwarded to you to be signed in the presence of a notary public in the place where you are currently located.

Q: I want to prepare a will. Why hire a lawyer, when I can prepare my own will using a "will kit"?

A: A will kit does not replace the professional guidance that a lawyer will provide you; guidance obtained from a formal education and years of experience. Although all sorts of "do it yourself" kits are available in the marketplace (such as to build/renovate your home, fix your computer, fix your car, etc.) these kits usually provide general information and do not account for the myriad of complexities and particularities of one's situation. The use of such kits to prepare a will can be very risky and can create confusion, conflicts and added costs to the resolution of your estate. The proper drafting of your will is crucial, as it deals with the passing on of everything which you acquired during your lifetime.

Q: What is probate?

A: It is a court application by which a will is proved to be valid or invalid. It allows the executor of the estate to show that he has the authority to deal with the deceased's assets in accordance with the terms of the will. Probate is now referred to as a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will and once such a Certificate is issued, we refer to the executor as the Estate Trustee.

Q: In what circumstances does a will need to be probated?

A: Probate of the will is generally obtained due to one of the following circumstances:
  • If the deceased owned real property in Ontario and that the value of the estate is worth more than $50,000.00 ... without probate, the estate trustee may not be able to transfer the real property
  • If the deceased owned bank accounts or other investments in his sole name, as opposed to jointly with another individual ... without probate, the financial institution may not allow the estate trustee to transfer such funds
  • If there is a concern as to whether the will found is the last will of the deceased ... without probate, the estate trustee may be personally at risk if he deals with the estate assets

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