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Buying or Selling Real Estate Privately: Reviewing the Offer

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Buying or selling real property privately means that a real estate agent or agents are not involved in the process. In today's market, we are seeing more and more of these private deals cross our desks. The obvious benefit for both parties in such private deals is that no real estate commission is payable on the transaction.  As such, buyers can usually negotiate a lower purchase price as sellers do not have to pay any of this commission out of their sale proceeds: it's a win-win.  Nonetheless, in the absence of real estate agents, parties wishing to buy or sell real estate privately should always consult their real estate lawyer before the private offer becomes binding. 


Deposits on New Homes: Know Your Rights and the Risks

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Like in all agreements of purchase and sale ("APS") for real estate, buyers of new homes are required to provide a deposit or multiple deposits to secure the agreement and as an offer of confidence to the builder that the buyer is serious in completing the deal. The difference in providing deposits towards new homes versus resale homes is that deposits for new homes tend to be larger, especially when buying a pre-construction home. Because of this, and due to the increased risk of the buyer losing its deposit, the Ontario New Home Warranties Plan Act, administered by Tarion Warranty Corporation ("Tarion"), was created to protect these deposits, up to certain limits. 


Family Cottage Succession: Planning Considerations

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As many cottage owners will tell you, the personal, emotional and financial commitment involved in owning and maintaining a cottage property can be significant. Passing on such a cottage property to the next generation can also involve similar commitments and concerns. Without proper planning, the succession of a family cottage can become the basis for serious family disputes. Below we outline some important considerations and planning options for cottage succession that every cottage owner should know when partaking in such a succession process.


Rolling Over Assets Into Your Incorporated Business

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Suppose you have been running a business as a sole proprietor - that is, on your own with all the debts being your responsibility in your personal capacity. You have accumulated some valuable assets such as equipment, cash from revenues and goodwill. As your business grows, you decide you want to incorporate the business to benefit from certain tax advantages while also limiting your exposure to personal liability. 


Passing on the Family Business: Estate and Tax Planning Strategies

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A family owned business would typically involve the parent or parents owning and operating the business, as well as the children or other family members possibly offering a helping hand. The parents may want the next generation to continue the business after the parents' deaths. There are many estate and tax planning strategies to consider when contemplating and executing the succession of a private, family-held business.


Estate Planning Strategies to Minimize Ontario Estate Administration Tax

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Ontario estate administration tax (formerly "probate fees") is a tax imposed on the estate of a deceased person, and is paid in order to receive a court order, which under present Ontario court rules is called a “certificate of appointment of estate trustee with a will” (formerly a “grant of letters probate”). This court order certifies that the will of a deceased person is valid and also confirms that the person(s) named as executor(s) in the will of the deceased person has the legal authority to administer the estate. Recent legislation has also imposed a more rigorous reporting regime on anyone applying for and receiving a certificate of appointment of estate trustee, which includes rules regarding complex asset valuations and substantiating the reported asset values.


The Non-Binding Letter of Intent

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The legal documentation that is involved in the purchase or sale of a business, or in other major business transactions, can be complex. To assist with fleshing out the main points of the deal (e.g., transaction structure, price, etc.), many parties in commercial transactions typically enter into a "Letter of Intent" ("LOI") (also referred to as a "Memorandum of Understanding" or "Term Sheet").


What is a Shareholders' Agreement and Does my Small Company Need One?

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When setting up a company with family or friends it is easy to assume that nothing can go wrong in the future. You might assume that because you trust one another you do not need to put in place something like a Shareholders’ Agreement. Hopefully nothing will go wrong in the future. However, even relationships between family members and best friends can fall apart and, if the worst should happen with the business, you could then end up with nothing. Or, you may face the breakdown of a friendship alongside a costly and acrimonious legal dispute related to the business. A fully considered and well drafted Shareholders’ Agreement can act as a safeguard, prevent costly litigation, and give you and your fellow shareholders more protection against these types of scenarios.



Holding Property as Joint Tenants vs. Tenants in Common

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There are two ways to own property with more than one person: (a) joint tenancy or (b) tenancy in common. There are important distinctions between these two forms of co-ownership that can lead to very different implications for co-owners. 


What You Should Know Before Buying a New Home in Ontario

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Purchasing a new home is an exciting and enticing endeavour to many people in today's real estate market.  However, it involves complexities and considerations that significantly differ from the purchase of a resale home. The following are 10 factors to consider before purchasing your new home from a builder in Ontario.


Reviewing the Status Certificate: An Essential Part of a Condo Purchase

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Condominiums are sprouting up rapidly around Durham Region and are providing an increasingly common route to home ownership. One of the key differences between purchasing a freehold home compared to a unit in a condominium presents itself prior to committing to a binding agreement of purchase and sale - that being the review of the status certificate.


Thank you for nominating Lawson Clark & Oldman as Best Law Firm!

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Thank you to our valued clients who have once again nominated us as Best Law firm for the 2016 Readers Choice Awards!

In order to be recognized as Best Law Firm we need your vote! Please take the time to cast your ballot in the Ajax/Pickering category at

Voting closes September 25.

Thank you for your continued support!


Buying a Business: Asset vs Share Purchase

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When purchasing a business, the transaction can be structured in one of two ways: an asset purchase or a share purchase.


Don’t Be a Sad Statistic – Get a Will

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In a recent survey released by LAWPRO of more 2000 Canadians, only 56% of those polled had a signed Will. What's worse is that Torontonians falls behind other provinces when it comes to this vital document. According to this survey, only 37% of Torontonians have a signed Will compared with Montreal and Vancouver at 44% and 46% respectively.


Buying a New Home – Involve your lawyer at the outset

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Believe it or not, it is common practice for home buyers to sign an Agreement of Purchase and Sale and after the fact, provide it to their lawyer for review. Some don't even go through this process, thinking that since the contracts are 'similar' for all those buying from the same builder, then it must somehow be 'okay'.

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