Covid-19 Response

General

HOW WILL COVID-19 AFFECT THE SERVICES PROVIDED BY GBC LAW?

To ensure the health and safety of our clients and staff during the COVID-19 situation, we are currently limiting in-person meetings at our office to what is absolutely necessary. For the time being, we are happy to schedule an initial consultation over telephone or video conference. For more information, see “GBC Law’s Response to COVID-19”.

When should I contact a lawyer?

We understand that in certain situations, it may be difficult to gauge whether or not you require legal assistance. It can also be tempting to put off contacting a lawyer when you know you truly need one. Our best advice is to be proactive and contact us as soon as possible. Seeking legal advice early on can save you time and money in the long run.

 

How do I know if I need a lawyer?

If you’re feeling uncertain about a decision you have to make, legal advice may help give you the confidence you need. Lawyers can help you with an existing issue or prevent one from arising. We are happy to chat with you to see if, and how, we can help.

You may consider hiring a lawyer if:

  • You’re thinking about starting a business
  • You’re selling or buying a home, real estate, or a business
  • You want to prepare or change a Will, Power of Attorney, or Representation Agreement
  • You want to create a trust for your spouse, your children, someone with a disability, or your family business
  • You need help with carrying out an estate/tax plan
  • You are the executor of an estate and need help to obtain a grant of probate
  • You are dealing with the estate of someone who died without a Will and you are not sure of how to proceed

How long will it take and how much will it cost me?

The time and cost involved depends on a variety of factors and differs on a case-by-case basis. We need to better understand your situation and the work involved before we can give you a realistic timeline and quote for our services. The best way for us to do this is by having a conversation to find out what you need and figure out how we can assist you.  

Do you charge for consultations?

Our consultations fees are based on each lawyer’s respective hourly rates. We do offer up to 15 minutes of complimentary discussion during an initial consultation. We use this time to learn about you and your situation, while providing you with an opportunity to determine if we are a good fit for you.

About Our Process

How should I prepare for the initial consultation?

Before your consultation, we may ask you to gather certain documents and/or information to bring into the appointment. Beyond that, no extra preparation is needed. We may ask some tough questions, but it’s ok if you don’t know the answers. We’ll guide you through it!

What should I expect in the first meeting?

The initial consultation allows us both to assess whether we are the right advisors for you. This helps us put together a realistic service estimate.

 

Do I always have to come to your office, or how do we communicate?

The Law Society of British Columbia requires that we verify the identity of all of our clients. Therefore, barring exceptional circumstances (such as COVID-19), the initial consultation will be an in-person meeting at our office. However, once we have begun working together, we are happy to accommodate your preferred method of communication. Depending on your situation, we may require you to come into our office from time to time to sign documents. Please see “How will COVID-19 affect the services provided by GBC Law?” for current practices.

Is the information I tell my lawyer confidential?

Any information that you disclose to us during the initial consultation and in communications thereafter will remain confidential.

Wills & Estates

What do I do if a loved one passes away without a will?

If your loved one passes away without a Will, you may need some help to figure out the next steps to deal with the estate. We are here to help you through this difficult process by advising you on what needs to be done and assisting you with the process. Please see our Law for Life page for more information on administering an estate without a Will.

What happens if I don’t have a will?

Not preparing a Will means that you may be leaving a burden of personal, financial, and emotional stress on your loved ones. That in turn may lead to lengthy court proceedings and a considerable amount of legal fees that could have been avoided by preparing a Will. The best approach is a proactive one. Please see our Law for Life page to learn more about how we can help you prepare a Will.

 

How should I choose an executor?

First and foremost, your executor should be someone you trust to carry out your wishes. Your executor will not only have to deal with your estate but will have to be in contact with your beneficiaries. Consider someone who is proactive, good at getting things done, and is likely to survive you. You should let your executor know where you are keeping your original Will and ideally, you should keep up to date records of your assets and liabilities.

 

What should I consider when creating an estate plan?

There are many factors to consider, which we are happy to walk you through! Here are a few important questions to start the process.

  1. Who do you wish to leave your estate to?
  2. Do you have an up-to-date Will?
  3. Is there a need or any benefit to creating a trust – for a spouse, your children, a disabled child or adult?
  4. If you have a blended family, how will you account for your spouse and your children?
  5. Do you have sufficient life insurance in place?
  6. Have you designated beneficiaries under your life insurance policy and registered savings accounts (such as a TFSA, RRSP, RRIF)?
  7. Have you spoken to an accountant regarding the possible tax consequences of your estate plan?
  8. Do you have a Representation Agreement to deal with your personal care and health care matters if you become incapable?

For more on creating an estate plan, please visit our Law for Life page or get in contact with our team of lawyers.

Have a question that wasn’t answered above?