The other day, I heard a report on CBC that housing sales are down an overall 3%, primarily due to the B.C. housing market. Although this is a very busy time for real estate deals, the number of deals our office is handling is leveling off compared to the same time last year.
In my unqualified opinion, housing prices are not declining. Instead, they are stabilizing which means that the gross competition and bidding wars experienced in the recent past are now tailing off. As an aside, two months ago, I was successful in having CMHC reverse a refusal to extend coverage by presenting them with a 3rd party valuation substantiating the fair market value at $80,000 over the list. This saved the deal and ensured that the client did not lose their $10,000 deposit.
The new reality is that the recent boom and fierce competition has helped many, who held onto their home, to increase their equity intended for retirement. Good for you and good for the many that got into the housing market before the boom.
Interest rates? Again, in my unqualified opinion, I don’t see a large shift over the next 24 months. Interest rates are tied to multiple economic factors but the simplest I see is that our economy is still transitioning to the new reality of high tech – we are not entirely there yet. In fact, I have a lot to say about this growth area but that is for politicians and economists to solve. I enjoy leaving this for “nice” dinner conversation.
Congratulations to those of you that have up-to-date Wills and Powers of Attorney.
But, it doesn’t end there.
When you rely on an Executor or Power of Attorney that is not your spouse, like a child or friend, they probably won’t know where to begin in uncovering and gathering all your assets. They will have to start rummaging through your home to locate bank statements, life insurance policies, and anything else they can locate to manage or probate your Estate. But, even if they go through every scrap of paper, they can never be truly sure that this is the entirety of your estate.
In fact, you may also forget with time what assets and liabilities you have. That is why I always recommend that clients prepare a simple checklist having key pieces of information, like:
Name and location of where they do their banking;
Account details – ie. chequing/savings and estimated balances;
List address of real estate you own – ie. home/cottage (keeping an old tax bill with the checklist is great because it has key details about the property) & estimated balance of any outstanding mortgage and name and contact information of lender;
Name and contact details of Insurance Agent & policy number of any life or home insurance;
Name and contact details of Financial Adviser/Planner & account/portfolio number with estimated balance;
Name and contact details of Lawyer;
List of credit cards
List details of any corporate holdings you may have including any business or partnership interests;
Anything else you think is necessary for the Executor or Power of Attorney to know.
Make sure to put the date at the top of the page & sign your name at the bottom.
At our firm, we keep the original Wills and Powers of Attorney stored in a fireproof vault with a unique client number for easy retrieval when required. We advise the clients to provide us with a copy of the checklist to store with their Wills/Powers of Attorney.
Our clients are provided with a signed copy of their Wills and Powers of Attorney and we advise them to keep those documents along with a copy of their checklist stored together. The signed copies don’t need to be in a vault since the original is already in our vault. We simply advise clients to keep them in a file wherever they keep important documents at home but to also inform their named Executors and Powers of Attorney of their whereabouts
This saves everyone a lot of grief and stress when the time comes to rely on those documents.
Article written by Karmel Sakran
Readers may contact Karmel Sakran at 905-639-1222 ext. 224
Executor of an Estate lawyer handles all the legal work
Do not worry about being an Executor of an Estate. You, as an Executor, do all the leg work while the lawyer does all the legal work and is your sherpa, guiding you on the things you should be doing, like filing taxes and going to the bank and opening an Estate Account.
Some people don’t want to be Executors because it sounds like too much work or too scary. It will involve work but the most important thing to consider is that an Executor can ultimately be liable if the Estate Assets are purposely or negligently mishandled.
This is a rare occurrence because most Executors want to do the right thing and most Estates are straightforward. Even when complexities arise and mistakes are made, as long as the Executor has acted in good faith, courts are loath to hold them personally liable for any loss.