I spent quite a bit of time this past Winter at Osgoode Hall Law School working on a certificate in Elder Law. We covered topics in this unique program such as, consent, capacity, substitute decision making, powers of attorney, financial planning, end of life decision making, elder abuse, and effective advocacy for the older adult. This program assists me in understanding unique challenges the older population faces when dealing with legal issues. We can better assist older people facing separation and divorce and planning estates.
Tips for Reducing Your Costs When Working With a Family Lawyer
Legal fees can escalate very quickly when dealing with a separation and divorce, however, there are a number of strategies that you can use to reduce your costs and lessen the strain on your financial resources.
- Consult a Lawyer Early
You should seek out legal advice early prior to committing to any settlement or agreement. A family lawyer can explain to you your rights and obligations, as well as, various options available to you.
- Be Reasonable
The more reasonable that you are, the less time that your lawyer will need to spend on your file. If you try to communicate with your ex in a constructive manner and you are able to work out simple issues first you will save money in the long run.
- Communicate with your lawyer efficiently
Most family lawyers bill in six minute increments. Rather than sending three or four e-mails, it may be cost effective to schedule a telephone appointment to discuss issues. It is also important to deliver to your lawyer your paperwork in an organized fashion as it reduces the time that she will spend organizing the documents.
- Seek Counselling to Deal with your Grief
While lawyers have often seen and heard it all and can be compassionate, it is more cost effective for you to seek the support of a counsellor for your emotional issues. Counsellors are trained to give you solutions and may even be covered by your extended health benefit plans.
- Consider “Unbundled Services”
If you are unable to afford the full services of a lawyer, you may still be able to consult with a lawyer and use services on a pay per use agreement. We can give advice, draft documents and coach you through the process while staying behind the scenes.
Yesterday, the first “Will Party” of 2018 was hosted in Hamilton. This is sort of like a tupperware party but instead as a lawyer I take instructions from each of the invitees to prepare their Wills and Powers of Attorney.
How it works is you invite a bunch of your friends who are in need of a New Will and Power of Attorney. I know this is something that everyone puts off but everyone needs. You provide the drinks and munchies and a private room for me to meet with everyone separately. I am able to take instructions from each of the party goers to prepare their Wills. We can then have a signing party or they can stop by my office to sign all of the documents.
Benefits of attending the party- Obviously, you get to spend time with your friends, they will be providing nibbles and drinks. You will be able to meet with a lawyer to take instructions from you in order to prepare a Will and Powers of Attorney. It is also convenient as you do not have to take time off from work to meet.
What does it cost? A simple Will and two powers of Attorney per person costs $500 plus tax. If you provide more complicated instructions the price will increase but we can talk about that when we meet.
What do you need to do? Get a host to book a party!!!
Show up at the party with two pieces of identification. I will need to take a picture of your ID. (I cannot take a health card) Driver’s license, passport, library card, credit card, bank card are all acceptable.
Once the party is booked, I will send a form to the host to distribute. You can work on the form the best that you can. This will give me a head start when we first meet, so I can be very efficient and will have time to meet everyone.
After our meeting, I will prepare the documents at my office. The draft documents will be e-mailed to you so that you can approve them. You can then arrange a follow up party to sign the documents or you can book an appointment at my office to sign the documents another day if that is more convenient for you.
If you have any questions please call me, Kanata Cowan, at 289 895 7777
On Friday November 17, 2017 I was thrilled to accept the Flamborough Review 2017 Reader’s Choice Award for Best Lawyer. Thank you to all those who have voted and to all of our clients for valuing the service that we provide. We hope that 2018 will be an amazing year too!
In Waterdown, where K. Cowan Law is located a Scarecrow walk is taking place for the next three weeks to celebrate Autumn and the wonderful village of Waterdown. This is an event hosted by the Waterdown BIA.
At K. Cowan Law we prepared an entry, Lady Justice – Scarecrow Style. She is blindfolded, holds the balance and a sword. The blindfold represents objectivity in that justice should be without regard to wealth, power or identity. The scales allow her to weight the merits of the situation. The sword is carried to indicate that justice can be swift and final. She is the personification of what we hope the justice system to be.
Statues of Lady Justice can be found around the world. In Canada, Justitia stands outside of the Supreme Court of Canada.
We hope you have a minute to stop by for a photo with Lady Justice in Waterdown this Fall.
Are you getting married or moving in this year with your partner? Have you bought a condo or house with your boyfriend or girlfriend? Take the practical approach and have a ‘pre-nuptial’ agreement drafted.
If you are getting married this year it is a good idea to have a lawyer draft a marriage contract. Alternatively, if you are planning on living with your partner it is a good idea to have a lawyer draft a cohabitation agreement.
Many people assume that the same law applies to common law couples as it does to married couples, however this is not the case. Common law couples do not have the same rights to share in property as do married couples in Ontario. As well, people often assume that if you keep separate accounts while you are married that property and debts are not shared, which is also untrue. Family law is a complicated area of the law in which you should seek the advice of a knowledgeable family law lawyer to discuss your particular circumstances so that a tailored agreement can be prepared for you.
One way a cohabitation agreement can protect spouses is by spelling out what property can be split and how it will be split. It can also spell out how spousal support will be handled, and how joint debts will be paid. Cohabitation agreements offer the same protection to common law couples that prenuptial agreements, or marriage contracts, do for couples who are tying the knot. A cohabitation agreement can turn into to a marriage contract if a cohabiting couple marries in the future.
To get a cohabitation agreement, each partner must retain their own lawyer. Without independent legal advice, an agreement isn’t likely to hold up in court in the event of a separation. This means that both parties cannot go to the same lawyer. Each partner gives full financial disclosure explaining all of their debts, as well as their assets. Neither partner can be forced into signing a cohabitation agreement.
If you are looking to have a contract such as this drafted prior to your wedding or house purchase please contact our office for more information.