Independent Legal Advice in Burnaby

Before you purchase, sell or transfer property, your bank or credit union may direct you to seek independent legal advice to protect your interests. Although it may seem like an unnecessary expense, meeting with an independent legal professional can help you to understand your responsibilities and liabilities in the transaction that you are about to enter. Notaries, however, do not provide advice related to family law or tax planning. Here are some ways that independent legal advice from a notary can help you:

  • you may be acting as a guarantor or covenantor on a mortgage to help your spouse or child with a new business venture. However, because businesses do fail (no matter how optimistic one might feel), you may be required to pay the remaining balance if your spouse or child cannot pay it.
  • Often an elderly parent may decide to place their adult child on the title to the home for convenience. But, placing an adult child on title (as a co-owner) may alter the intended effect of the Will because the value of the home, which is often a person’s largest, was intended to be distributed to any family members that remain.
  • You may realize that your property does not qualify for an exemption on property tax so you may have additional taxes to pay.
  • Adding others to the title to your home may trigger a default under your mortgage; and, it may void your homeowner’s insurance.
  • If an adult is the only person listed on the title, that person may have a spouse who has an interest in the property leading a lender to require the consent of the spouse to maintain its priority.

Your meeting with a notary in Burnaby for independent legal advice must occur privately without others present. Meeting privately with a legal representative helps to ensure that you are not subject to undue influence from others who stand to benefit from the transaction. The meeting also helps you to understand if your expectations of the transaction or agreement match with what you are actually getting or being asked to do. After the meeting, your notary will provide your bank or credit union with a “Certificate of Independent Legal Advice.”

Paul Anthony Williams is a notary public practicing in Burnaby, British Columbia, He provides professional legal and notarial services to the communities of Burnaby, Coquitlam, and Port Coquitlam.