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Burnaby General Practice Law Blog

Marriage Contracts and Millennials

Marriages are often seen as one of those lifetime goals that people need to achieve, along with a post secondary education, having children and buying a house. However, sometimes the person you decide to be with early on in your adult life is not the same person you find yourself wanting to grow old with later in life.

In these situations, many married couples file for divorce. At this point, when things are frustrating and emotional and raw, it can lead to bitter arguments and escalate to resolving matters in a courtroom.

What happens to an estate if you have no spouse or children?

Many people may not be aware of what happens to their assets if they pass away without a spouse or children. Whether you are married or not, or have children or not, a will is an important tool for you to bequeath your possessions according to your preferences.

Generally speaking, those that pass away without a will have their estates divided according to intestate laws. Each province is different, but the general idea is that the courts try and find the next of kin – whether that is a sibling, parent, niece or nephew, or cousin. This could possibly result in a person inheriting your estate that you may not have preferred to receive all the wealth you’ve accumulated over the years.

Passing Away Without a Will

When you pass away without a will, your possessions and wealth are divided along legislative guidelines. These guidelines are fairly generic – which can be problematic since no two families are alike.

In situations when there are blended families, special circumstances, special needs or allowances to be made – it may be hard for surviving family members to allocate your estate to meet any unique situations.

Parenting After a Divorce

Once a divorce has been finalized, each party is able to move forward however they please. But when there are children involved, moving forward may not be as easy. Parents may need to speak to each other and consult with each other if they have agreed that their child will be able to live and spend time with each parent.

In order to manage co-parenting amicably, it’s best advised to develop some sort of parenting plan that clearly outlines each parents’ responsibilities, and how to resolve any issues that arise.

Estate Planning and Taxes

Having a valid will at the time of someone’s death can help reduce the stress of sorting through someone’s estates. A valid will allows beneficiaries to receive assets as the recently passed intended. It also allows the surviving family to avoid intestacy laws, which means dividing assets per legislation.

Another, often overlooked, part estate planning is to make the passing of assets to beneficiaries financially advantageous. This means, there may be ways for families to reduce or avoid probate and other taxes on a loved one’s property.

What Should I Include in An Estate Plan?

An estate plan is more than just a will. It allows you to distribute your possessions, as well as protect your wealth, well-being, and provisions for dependents. If you do not have a will, your assets will be distributed per provincial legislation, not according to your specific wishes.

In an article posted by CIBC, only “30% of Canadian adults have a formal estate plan”. Having an estate plan is crucial, as in addition to control over the administration of your assets, it also allows you to provide plans for other types of contingencies, such as mental incapacity.

Wedding season is a good time to take stock of your estate

Spring is here, and so is wedding season. While weddings are an exciting time – the promise of a new life, watching friends and family embark on new adventures – it is also a time of many changes. As couples start looking at buying properties, growing families and expanding their financial portfolios, you may want to consider your own estate and wealth.

It’s generally advised that individuals create a will, or revise a will, after major life milestones. This generally includes getting married, having children, or buying or selling properties. Divorcing and remarriage are also good opportunities to check in with your estate lawyer and make sure that your will reflects your current situation and wishes.

Do I have custody rights to a pet after a divorce?

The short answer is no. Unfortunately, pets are considered property, and the person who brought the pet into the relationship is the person who gets to keep the pet.

This is how pets are currently defined by federal divorce legislation. However, there are some legal professionals who wish to see these laws updated.

Factors that can affect calculation of child support

Parents have countless responsibilities when it comes to raising children, including the responsibility to make financial contributions to support their child.

In cases where parents are divorced, the responsibility to financially support a child is formalized with an order for child support. These orders ensure both parents support their child, and there are several factors that help calculate a fair, reasonable amount of support.

How the reason for your divorce can affect the process

Getting divorced is not easy for anyone. However, some people have an easier time navigating the process and moving forward than others do. Often, these are people who seek amicable, out-of-court solutions that allow them to retain some amount of respect and compassion throughout the divorce.

Whether you are able to do this in your own divorce will depend on numerous factors, including the reason for your divorce.

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