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Wills and estates: What happens to kids when there's no will?

Many young parents today may not realize that part of loving their children entails planning for their care should something happen to them. When British Columbia parents are in their 20s and 30s, they rarely, if ever, think about will and estates. It could be a big mistake in more ways that one if they don't have estate plans in place – especially when it comes to their kids.

Dying intestate (without a will) means that the testator's assets will be divided according to the laws of the province or territory in which the testator lives. For those without a will who have minor children -- under the age of 18 -- any money in the estate will be held in trust for them by an administrator or a guardian. But what is most concerning is who will take care of those children if no guardian has been appointed to do so? If there is a surviving spouse, then he or she will become the guardian; if not, a court will decide who should look after them.

Family law: When 1 parent disagrees with child counselling

Children are often caught in the middle of their parents' divorces. Family law in British Columbia always puts the best interests of children first. And sometimes that might mean that children of divorce may need counselling to process the changes that are taking place in their lives. But what happens when one parent doesn't agree to those counselling sessions?

This could be a dicey situation since both parents typically must give their consent for their children to receive counselling. When parents can't work together to come to a decision about what would be best for their children, the consenting parent can try to obtain a court order that dispenses with the need for the dissenting parent's consent. The parent can try to achieve this order as either a protection order or as part of a parenting, custody or access order.

Do You Need to Be Mentally Competent to Get Married?

Nowadays, the prevalence of dementia and diseases such as Alzheimer's is high, and this can make people vulnerable to predatory marriages. Everyone should have the right to find happiness in marriage, but it's important to consider that marriage affects not only happiness, but also a person's children, property, finances, and wills.

Remarriage, kids can affect wills and estates in British Columbia

Divorces happen and so do remarriages. Some British Columbia residents could have children from two different relationships and might have questions regarding their wills and estates. Most testators want to include all their children in their estate plans. If the person already has an existing will, he or she might have to write a new one since when a remarriage occurs any will may be outdated. 

The best course of action to include all children in a will is to start with a clean slate. A new will can ensure all children will be beneficiaries, if that is what is desired. Other estate plan documents should be updated in this case as well, especially if minor children are involved. 

Prenuptial agreements: are they still useful if you never separate?

When your fiancé proposes, it's supposed to be a magical moment when you plan to live the rest of your life with a person you trust. When your new fiancé proposes a prenuptial agreement, it seems anything but magical. If you never break up, why would you possibly need to make a plan for dividing up your financial assets?

Family law: Marriage and finances could be kept separate

A prenuptial agreement can safeguard the finances of an individual whose former spouse would have walked away with more than he or she deserved. Family law rules in British Columbia are pretty definitive on the division of assets upon the dissolution of a marriage unless a prenuptial agreement or a marriage contract stipulates otherwise. Prenuptial agreements have received a bad rap of simply being for wealthy people who want to safeguard their assets from a new spouse, but that is no longer the case.

Prenuptial agreements are becoming more popular with couples who are marrying for the second or more time. With blended families possibly a part of such a couple's life, the individuals may wish to ensure their assets are protected -- just in case. Most people in this situation have already amassed their own assets, which could include property, retirement funds and sizable savings. A prenuptial agreement can help a couple to keep certain aspects of their finances separate.

Victory for Westside Family Law: Varying Parenting Arrangements

Mark Perry recently acted for the father in T.L.M. v J.K.B, 2018 BCSC 2237. The case concerned a high-conflict dispute over parenting arrangements for the couple's young, autistic son.

Parental Relocation of Children: A Study Of What Courts Decide

In 2017, Canada’s Department of Justice issued a report examining parental relocation cases decided between 2001 and 2011. The study reveals some interesting trends about how and when courts permit parents to relocate with their children. Interestingly, the study showed courts sometimes say one thing and do another, especially in the cases of unilateral parental relocation with their children.

The parent seeking permission to relocate is almost always the mother. There are few cases where fathers seek to relocate. Fathers are as successful as mothers in getting judicial permission to relocate.

Family law rules stipulate how lottery winnings should be split

It has been said that winning big money can change people. When one person in a couple wins a lottery or the couple themselves win and then separate or divorce later, family law rules in British Columbia will look at the individual situations. There are five cases, in particular, where the court decided lottery proceeds should be split equally.

In the first, the court decided that although separated, the husband and wife were still living as spouses and that the husband did not give his wife the winning ticket as she asserted, so she was ordered to give her husband half of the winnings. A man and woman had been living in a volatile common law partnership for three years when the woman found an old lottery ticket that was a $2.1 million winner. She left the house with her things and that winning ticket, but the court sided with the man who launched a suit to get half the prize money. 

Is Remaining In My Unhappy Marriage The Only Way To Stay In Canada?

In our increasingly globalized world, it is common for family lawyers to see marriages between two people from different countries. Once together, you understandably want to live and work in the same place, but acquiring permanent residency in Canada can be a lengthy and paperwork-ridden task. Spousal sponsorship for permanent residency, therefore, is a good avenue to take as it allows a non-Canadian spouse to remain and work in Canada. This is a great option while you're married, but what happens to your sponsorship status if you just can't work things out?

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