In representing their clients, family law practitioners commonly run across issues outside their areas of expertise. These issues can have a profound impact on the conduct of a family file and the ability of the practitioner to provide up to date and beneficial advice. Some of the most common area are set out below.
Every client undergoing a major life change such as marriage, cohabitation, separation or divorce needs to re-assess their estate planning. Previous choices such as beneficiaries, personal representatives, division of assets, etc. may no longer be desired or appropriate and the client’s new circumstances should be planned for. Failure to do so could result in significant negative consequences to the client and his or her family.
It is common for corporate interests to be transferred as part of a separation or divorce. The entering into of a new relationship may also be a perfect time to re-organize current corporate holdings to allow for income splitting, the inclusion of children, etc. Failure to ensure proper corporate documentation is executed and registered, where applicable, can have significant and negative legal and income tax implications which could be avoided with a little bit of help.
For equalization and other payments to be made over a period of time, the securing of those obligations can add a great benefit to all parties and is often overlooked. The proper securing of assets greatly minimizes the chances of future default and difficulties.
From simple transfers of title to complex co-ownership arrangements, the future ownership and operation of real property should be properly documented.
Trusts. In the event certain property (i.e. inheritances, family cabins, etc.) are difficult to divide, a trust can be formed to hold these assets for the benefit of the new families.
The above are just a few examples of the types of matters which may be addressed.