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Niagara Region Legal Blog

When an Agreement of Purchase and Sale fizzles

As a purchaser of a new home, once you sign a contract on the dotted line, you likely begin to envision how your new home is going to look, begin determining what furniture will go where and maybe even pick out a new paint colour for the front door. As a seller, you may finally be able to shift your focus more toward your future plans and aspirations that have been on hold up until this point.

Unfortunately, when an Agreement of Purchase and Sale goes sideways, you are bound to feel somewhat disappointment. Most offers tend to be conditional upon certain things like the purchaser being able to arrange for financing, the sale of another property or an inspection of the home, and if the conditions within an offer aren't met within the set time limit, it can either become null and void, or an extension may be given for those conditions to be met.

Separating fact from fiction regarding a matrimonial home

When you and your spouse first married, you probably didn't ever want to think about the possibility of splitting up. However, you may now be facing a reality in which a separation and/or divorce appears to be the best option for your future. One of the biggest questions that you may have is who will have the right to continue to live in the home you share with your spouse.

Ontario law considers the home in which a married couple is residing to be a matrimonial home -- that applies whether you own or rent the home. If you've been living with your partner without being legally married -- or common law -- different legalities would come into play upon separation since this specific law regarding the matrimonial home only applies to married couples.

The trust in estate planning

Estate planning can be complex, but the concept is relatively basic — you want to leave clear instructions as to what you want to happen with your assets after you die. Of course, you really don't want to think about dying, but if you don't want to leave your loved ones in a mess when it comes to your worldly possessions after you depart this planet, taking some time to plan your estate is doing them a favour.

You might want to think about using trusts when fashioning your estate plan. There are two types of trusts in Ontario — testamentary and living. If you create a testamentary trust in your will, it takes effect when you die and it relates to the part of your estate that may be subject to fees or taxes. With a living trust, property ownership passes right to your beneficiaries. Since this happens while you're still alive, assets from the trust aren't considered part of your estate and aren't part of the probate process.

Are the consequences of a winter injury spoiling your summer fun?

Winter conditions in Ontario can cause many hazards for pedestrians on public and private property. Are you suffering the consequences of a fall on an icy and slippery area when you went shopping? Do you know that you could hold the property owner or occupier liable for your damages? Although it is your obligation to walk with reasonable care, the owners or tenants must ensure you do not encounter unanticipated hazards.

Did you slip and fall in accumulated ice or snow, or did an unattended wet spill in a store cause you to fall? Inadequate lighting or missing handrails at steps and staircases can also be hazardous, as could cracks, gaps or holes in the floor. Encountering unanticipated potholes, bumps or changes in elevation can cause tripping hazards that may lead to falls.

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