|Getting Your House in Order|
Whether you are a young couple or individual purchasing your new home for the very first time, a resale buyer moving in the market or an empty nester purchasing a retirement condominium, the very action of this significant investment in real estate represents a major life change.
At this time it is essential that you evaluate your situation in light of this activity. What is he talking about??????? There are a number of issues that you should consider at this time in order to ensure that your “House is in Order”.
1. How will I hold the “Title”?At the time your lawyer goes to the Registry Office to hand over all of your money to the builder in order to buy your home he receives in return a document called a deed or transfer which he registers by filing with the Government and your name is on it, to show you own the home. This is called giving you title to the property and then you are holding the title. If more than one person is buying the property it is necessary to decide how they will hold title together.
There are two ways people can hold title together. The first is generally the way we hold title with our spouses or children and it is called “Joint Tenancy”. To hold title as joint tenants really means that upon the death of one of the parties the remaining party automatically becomes the owner of the whole property without having to inherit it or have it pass through an estate. The reason is simply that all owners on title, own the whole property rather than a part each. The other way title can be held is as “Tenants in Common”. This means that each party truly only owns the percentage allocated to them although the physical part owned is not described. Upon the death of a Tenant in Common his or her percentage ownership goes to their heirs in accordance with their will or law. Therefore remember to decide when you go to see your lawyer to discuss this issue.
2. What about a Will? A Power of Attorney?Do you have a will? If you do, is it up to date and does it represent your current situation or state of affairs? It is very important especially if you have very young children to have your wills completed; not so much the money, but for a clear resolution of the issue of custody if something happens to both parents. A will stops sibling disputes, takes care of who will look after children, keeps the government out of your affairs, allows for an orderly disposition of everything from your favourite cufflinks or earrings to your realty, stocks and bonds, and will allow you to determine how you are to be cremated, buried or quick frozen. A Power of Attorney is used when you are physically or mentally incapacitated and there are 2 kinds. The first is for your body, ie. What care will you or will you not receive and your representative will determine that. The other is for the management of your financial affairs.
Now is the time to do a will. Speak to your lawyer and ensure that this important matter is dealt with.
3. What about insurance?
You will need insurance for the house. This is the right time to look at life and disability insurance; to determine if you should be insuring your mortgage in case something happens to the major wage-earner; to ensure that the future is taken care of.
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Jayson Schwarz is a Toronto real Estate Lawyer