Will Wednesday: We put Mom’s investments and her house in our joint names. Who gets the money?

Q. We put Mom’s investments and her house in our joint names. Who gets the money?

A. Many individuals conclude, often incorrectly, that the ownership of joint investments or real estate holdings pass to the joint account holder automatically when ·the other account holder dies. A joint account, including ownership of property and or financial assets, is a common and growing area of potential litigation in estate administration. It can have serious tax and estate implications for all parties involved.

Will Wednesday: After acting as a parent’s Enduring Power of Attorney for Property- should we be concerned if we also act as executor?

Q. After acting as a parent’s Enduring Power of Attorney for Property- should we be concerned if we also act as executor?

A. Beneficiaries are often much more vigilant in examining the actions of the executor who has previously managed the financial affairs of the deceased. Some beneficiaries, including charitable organizations to which the decedent has left a gift, may look critically at executor performance following their activities as power of attorney.

Will Wednesday: What kinds of tasks am I responsible for as executor?

Q. What kinds of tasks am I responsible for as executor?

A. This is a brief summary of tasks pertaining to the financial aspects of your duties. There are a number of non-financial related tasks that must be performed as well.
– obtaining the probated will of the decedent;
– advertising for and/or notifying creditors and
– claimants/beneficiaries;
– accounting for the assets and liabilities of the estate;
– collecting and securing the assets of the estate;
– protecting the assets of the estate;
– paying the liabilities of the estate and collecting any receivables
– filing final tax returns of the estate
– verifying claims against the estate; liquidating the assets of the estate. distributing the assets of the estate
– and accounting for the administration of the estate

Will Wednesday: Does my home insurance cover liabilities occurring when acting as an executor?

Q. Does my home insurance cover liabilities occurring when acting as an executor?

A. No, typical home insurance covers injuries and property damage to other parties but does not cover estate administration errors that result in financial loss to other parties.

Will Wednesday: Who pays when the estate gets sued?

Q. Who pays when the estate gets sued?

A. Traditionally, it was acceptable to use the beneficiaries’ money from the estate to defend and pay for legal actions brought against the estate during administration.

Courts today are re-examining the traditional access to estate money in respect to lawsuits; they may impose restrictions or prohibit the executor from using estate money to fund the cost of litigation against the estate.

If the executor is determined to be negligent and causes the estate to shrink, he or she may be required to make restitution out of his/her personal assets to the beneficiaries, creditors or other parties that suffered a financial loss.

Will Wednesday: Do I as executor have a financial obligation if I make a mistake?

A. People don’t typically think about the role of executor as having a personal financial risk but nothing could be further from the truth.

It’s important that people understand they are effectively pledging their own personal assets against a significant loss of estate value that is attributed to their negligence in administering the estate as the executor.
If you are asking someone to act as executor on your behalf, it’s equally important to understand the imposition.

Notaries are drafting clauses into wills to afford executors insurance protection against such risks and to provide peace of mind to all parties of the estate.

Will Wednesday: Who is the executor responsible to?

Q. Who is the executor responsible to?

A. The executor is personally liable for his or her actions to the following groups or individuals:
– Beneficiaries and creditors for investment losses and breaches of trust; and
– Other parties, with whom the deceased may have had dealings, for contractual obligations and wrongs in law (tort law).

Will Wednesday: What is the executor’s legal duty?

Q. What is the executor’s legal duty?

A. The executor has a fiduciary duty to the parties to the estate. A fiduciary duty is a much higher standard of care and performance than is typically required in a non-fiduciary role, because it involves the management and distribution of money belonging to other parties. The required standard of care is often much higher than a person might generally exercise in respect of their own personal business.

Pet Photos with Santa

We love our furry, four-pawed, and feathered creatures and our favourite Santa has generously donated his time to our Christmas paws cause.  We believe in direct giving and have found a family through the military family resource centre who has fallen upon some challenging times. Often these are the people who work hard, keep putting one foot in front of the other, but don’t (or don’t know how to) reach out for help.  We’ve made a point of finding them.  I have first hand seen the difficulties many military families face and they have added challenges that most in the general population never see.  We simply want to give them a stress free Christmas.

On behalf of myself and my staff, I will personally top up all donations with $500.00

Beverly Carter

The pictures will be posted on our Facebook page for you to download. Please like our Facebook page so you don’t miss them.

Travel Letters for Minors in Victoria BC

Do you need a notarized travel letter authorizing your child to cross over into the USA or other foreign destinations? The answer is YES.  Recently I spoke with Officer Spack, a border guard, who confirmed that children are often denied access into the USA without proper documentation.   From personal experience, last year, we needed to provide a notarized letter to the USA border guard for a 16 year old friend of my son.  We had the letter in hand which made our crossing easy and we continued our March Break journey into Washington State.  However, I’ve been challenged (several times) crossing the border travelling with just my own son.  My son’s father is deceased, and obviously there isn’t another parent to be able to sign.  But the grillings I got by officials in the days before I knew how to deal with the boarder crossings, were far more stressful than I thought it should be.  However, with experience comes wisdom and through several of these border experiences, I learned what documentation to take for travel.

Once the school year ends, our kids will be leaving the island in droves with parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others in quest of fun foreign destinations. As a Notary Public this means I see a dramatic increase in appointments for last minute notarized travel letters and authorizations.  Probably the most common destination I see travel letters required for is Disneyland.  To make your travel smooth it’s important that the documentation you provide meets with border approval.

There are different styles of travel letters ranging from simple one liner authorizations to the most common Canadian Government recommended child travel authorization form. I recommend the government form, as it allows the best child and parent information in a transparent way.  One caution with the Government form is that it is designed for legal size paper.  Most of us don’t use that size anymore, so we have a scaled down letter size loaded on our site for your ease. CLICK HERE: TRAVEL CONSENT LETTER

Useful travel authorization tips here for you:

  • Start with a good travel form
  • Fill in detail & be specific
  • Get the letter notarized at least 1-2 weeks before departure
  • Allow additional time if both parents need to sign – it can be a challenge to get 2 parents together during a weekday for signing note: as a matter of convenience I often sign parents at different times as it can be a challenge to get to the same place together during work hours
  • Provide the adult traveling with your child a copy of the child’s long form birth certificate. This long form shows both parents names.
    • Many parents have different names and the birth certificate will answer the question about whether or not the child belongs to the authorizing parent
  • Where there is a court order regarding custody or a grant of legal guardianship over the child, then travel with copies (not originals) of these documents as back up in the event you are questioned about your role or legal authority to travel with the child.
  • Check your airlines website for additional or specific requirements at international destinations.
  • Check official country websites for detail on specific documentation or Visa’s required.
  • Save a copy of the letter or use a refillable form (& save the PDF) so you don’t have to repeat all the details for future travel letters.

Happy Travels from Beverly Carter