Author Archive

Digital Assets and Your Will

By Vanessa DeDominicis
In a world full of social media, online banking and identities, dealing with digital assets as part of your Will is extremely important

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Who Is Your Executor?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Being an Executor is a big job. Be careful who you pick, and make sure that they are willing to do it.

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What is the Probate Notice Period AND who is Entitled to Notice that Probate is being applied for?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Rule 25-2 of the Supreme Court Civil Rules requires Notice to be sent to beneficiaries, next of kin, and sometimes others, “at least 21 days” before the Executor files the Probate application materials with the Court.

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Safety Deposit Boxes and Your Estate

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Should I put my Will in my safety deposit box? That is a frequently asked question by many clients of mine.

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Powers of Attorney and Your Financial Institution

By Vanessa DeDominicis
A Power of Attorney, if used carefully, is an important estate planning tool.

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Abuse of a Power of Attorney

By Vanessa DeDominicis
When you are appointed as an Attorney pursuant to a Power of Attorney, you are placed in a position of extreme trust.

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How Long Does Probate Of An Estate Take?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
“How long does Probate take?” isn't an easy question to answer as there are a myriad of factors that can delay or lengthen the Probate process.

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Estate Planning for your Pets

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Pets are like family. How do we provide for them after we are gone?

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Joint Executors of an Estate

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Oftentimes, my clients will appoint joint Executors in their Wills. This means they are appointing two people to jointly administer their assets and apply for Probate.

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Insolvent Estates

By Vanessa DeDominicis
An insolvent estate is not necessarily a bankrupt estate.

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Intellectual Property Primer

By Vanessa DeDominicis
There are many categories of intellectual property, but the main categories are

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When Should I Review My Will?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
If you have an existing Will, that’s a great start. However, as your life changes, so will your estate planning needs.

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Life Insurance Trust Declarations for Your Spouse and Child

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Many people have life insurance, and naming a beneficiary or beneficiaries on that life insurance policy is usually enough.

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Representation Agreements vs. Health Care Directives

By Vanessa DeDominicis
A Health Care Directive allows you to state your decisions in writing regarding your future healthcare treatments in the event you are unable to communicate them.

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Representation Agreements and the Assisted-Dying Legislation (Bill C-14)

By Vanessa DeDominicis
A Representation Agreement is a legal planning document which can be used in British Columbia to provide your named representative with the authority to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so.

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How Old Do I Have to be to Make a Will?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Everyone should have a valid Will in place. If you die without a Will, your assets may be administered by the Public Trustee and distributed in a manner contrary to your wishes.

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Advertising for Creditors of an Estate

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Why is it important that an Executor advertises for creditors of an Estate?

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Guardianship and Your Will – The Toughest Clause of All

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Deciding who will take care of your children in the event that you and your spouse perish is by far the toughest decision couples have to make when it comes to deciding to do their Wills.

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Tim Mortons: Protecting Your Trademark

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Since it began supplying Canadians with freshly brewed coffee in 1964, “Tim Hortons” has grown into one Canada’s most iconic corporate brands.

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Intellectual Property Law – Trademarks

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Intellectual property lawyer Vanessa DeDominicis discusses the assumption that incorporation and ownership of a domain name entitles you to the use of a business name.

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Can A Beneficiary Refuse An Inheritance?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Seems unlikely, right? But it does happen – sometimes people don’t want to inherit money for a variety of reasons.

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The Right to the Spousal Home in an Estate

By Vanessa DeDominicis
If a person passes away without a Will, there is no longer a life estate granted to the spouse they leave behind in the spousal home.

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Passing of Trustee’s Accounts and the Duty to Account

By Vanessa DeDominicis
An Executor/Administrator/Trustee (“Personal Representative”), must be ready at all times to account for the trust property.

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Don’t Leave Your Estate Planning Until the Last Minute…

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Part of my practice is attending care homes, hospitals, client’s homes and hospices to prepare for end of life matters – frequently far too close to the client’s end of life.

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Leaving a Charity the Gift of Life Insurance…

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Not only does life insurance enable you to benefit a charity after your death, but you can also receive substantial tax savings, depending on how you structure your gift of life insurance.

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Trade Name vs. Trade-Mark – What’s the Difference?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Many people confuse trade names and trade-marks and think they acquire trade-mark rights by virtue of having a trade name.

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Charitable Gifts Made Under a Power of Attorney

By Vanessa DeDominicis
A Power of Attorney, if used carefully, is a very important estate planning tool.

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The Effect of Marriage or Divorce on Your Will

By Vanessa DeDominicis
The Wills Estates and Succession Act “WESA” is now a year old. Its sweeping changes to the law in relation to Estate Planning and Estate Administration are still being discussed. One important change is the effect that spousal relationships

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What Happens If You Don’t have an Enduring Power of Attorney?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
When I meet with my clients and explain what happens if they lose capacity and do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney in place, I am frequently met with a look of terror, the colour drains from their face and they say something to the effect of

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The New Wills Estates and Succession Act “WESA” (which came into force March 31, 2014) and Undue Influence

By Vanessa DeDominicis
WESA introduced a shift in the onus of proof in relation to undue influence challenges to wills in some cases. Section 52 of WESA places the onus of disproving undue influence to the person who has received the gift under the will

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The Will That Doesn’t Need Probate

By Vanessa DeDominicis
“My Friend told me that she has a Will that doesn’t need Probate. Can I get one of those please?” Ahhhhh the Will that doesn’t need Probate! Wouldn’t that be nice? This is something I am frequently asked about by clients

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The Importance of Opening the Lines of Communication with Your Executor

By Vanessa DeDominicis
My practice involves both the planning and the administration side of Estates. This gives me a unique insight into how important it is, not only to have an excellent written estate plan (which includes a Will, Trusts, potentially an Affidavit, and the important incapacity planning documents as well, such as a Power of Attorney and […]

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Why Use A Trade-Mark Agent To Assist You With Your Trade-Mark Registration?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Trade-mark Agents offer professional services relating to the registration, maintenance and protection of trade-marks, i.e. a word, design, number, two dimensional or three-dimensional form, sound or colour, or a combination of two or more of these elements which a trader uses to distinguish his/her products or services from those of his/her competitors and serves to […]

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Executor’s Duties, Post WESA

By Vanessa DeDominicis
What happens if you are appointed Executor? In British Columbia, the new Wills, Estates and Succession Act (“WESA”), which came into force on March 31, 2014, governs what happens when a person passes away. If you have been appointed Executor in the Will, there are a wide range of obligations if you accept the position […]

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The New Wills Estates and Success Act “WESA”

By Vanessa DeDominicis
The substantive law is changing with regard to the presumption of survivorship. WESA contains new survivorship provisions in relation to joint tenancies. There will no longer be a presumption that when people die in circumstances in which it is not possible to determine who died first, the younger is presumed to survive the older (pursuant […]

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The New “WESA” And The Curative Provisions – Be Careful What Texts You Send Or “Notes” You Write On Napkins!

By Vanessa DeDominicis
The new Wills, Estates and Succession Act ("WESA") has given the Court a new power to “fix” or “correct” a problem where a Will does not comply with the formal rules of execution. In its broadest interpretation, the Court may consider almost any evidence of a person’s intention and give effect to it as though it is a person’s valid Will.

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“Marking” Your Trade-mark Properly

By Vanessa DeDominicis
A question I often get asked is "Should I be using the ™ symbol or the ® symbol beside my trade-mark?" Believe it or not, there are no "marking" requirements for trade-marks under the Canadian Trade-marks Act, however, proper marking is an extremely important method of notifying consumers that a certain word or symbol is a protected trade-mark and goes a long way to preventing third party infringement as you are effectively putting third [...]

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Use Of Someone’s Image

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Businesses will often create marketing material for their products/services, either in print or short video segments. A very common question I get from clients is “Can I use another person’s image in my video/marketing material without their consent?” In sum, the answer is no, it is not recommended that you use another person’s image without their consent, whether or not that person is famous. This issue is governed by both privacy [...]

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Estate Planning – “Should I Appoint A Professional Executor/Trustee In My Will, Or A Close Family Member/Friend?”

By Vanessa DeDominicis
An Executor/Trustee has a wide range of obligations and responsibilities to fulfill. When doing your Estate Planning and choosing an Executor/Trustee, you have a number of important considerations to keep in mind. In a nutshell, the choices available are: Corporate Trustee (like a Bank or Trust Company), a family member/friend (or more than one, named as Co-Trustees), or another willing professional you know, such as your Accountant or [...]

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Assessing Charities: Cause and Outcome

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Your Estate Planning process is underway. You know that you want to provide for a charity in your Estate Plan, but you have no particular affiliation with any charity. You do, however, have one criteria... you want to make sure that your dollars end up with a charity that uses it in the most efficient manner, making the best use of your hard earned legacy. How do you decipher which charity gets the most dollars to its end beneficiary? [...]

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Advance Health Care Planning and The Ministry of Health’s “My Voice” Pamphlet

By Vanessa DeDominicis
I have had several clients bring me a “My Voice” pamphlet for discussion during their estate and incapacity planning appointments with me. These pamphlets were given to them during an assessment they had had with Interior Health. They are full of insightful and valuable information about how to express your wishes for future health care needs, either in the event of ‘disastrous incapacity’ due to an accident, or [...]

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BC Liquor Law Review

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Categories: Blog, Wine Law
The BC Government's Liquor Policy Review is in its final stages, wrapping up this week. The public has been given ample opportunity to comment on how these laws should be updated. The submissions are varied and substantial.  There are many different opinions on a myriad of issues as the public and various stakeholders rejoice in the opportunity to have their voices heard in the necessary modernizing of these outdated laws.

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Trade Name vs. Trade-Mark – What’s the Difference?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Categories: Blog, Business Law
Many people confuse trade names and trade-marks and think they acquire trade-mark rights by virtue of having a trade name.

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The Dangers Of Joint Ownership With Your Adult Children

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Probate fees of 1.4% of the gross value of assets located within British Columbia and passing through an estate in British Columbia are payable to the BC government at the time an estate is probated. In an effort to avoid these fees, people often transfer assets into joint tenancy with one or more of their children. Trying to avoid probate fees may seem like a good idea, but joint ownership can create a whole host of problems for people, as [...]

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Inheriting Property Jointly With Other Beneficiaries And The Importance Of Co-Ownership Agreements

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Whenever property is ‘co-owned’ by anyone other than a husband and wife, I always strongly recommend that a Co-Ownership Agreement be put in place. Family cabins at the lake, Big White ski condos, property inherited by estranged beneficiaries and even residential homes where parents are on title with their child/partner in a two-suite home, are all VERY common scenarios where title can potentially be held by several people. These [...]

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Joint Tenants vs. Tenants in Common. What Is The Impact On Your Estate Plan?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
In my initial estate planning meeting with clients, one very important question that I ask is “Do you hold your real estate as joint tenants or tenants in common?” I am often answered with “We are both on the title” which doesn’t really answer my question. The reality is, lots of spouses have owned their principal residence for many years and can’t necessarily remember how they hold title.

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Intellectual Property Primer

By Vanessa DeDominicis
There are many categories of intellectual property, but the main categories are: •  Patents (Inventions)•  Trade-Marks (Brand Names, Trade Names, Trade Dress)•  Copyright (Expressions)•  Industrial Designs (Ornamentation)•  Trade-Secrets (Undisclosed Ideas)•  Integrated Circuit Topographies (Chip Designs)•  Plant Breeder’s Rights (New Plant Varieties) Most [...]

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Considerations for Tenants in a Commercial Lease

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Categories: Blog, Real Estate
A well-drafted and well-negotiated commercial lease is essential to the success of a Tenant’s business. Grey areas can lead to unexpected costs and even litigation down the road – this can be avoided by good drafting and making sure you think about all of the following prior to signing on the dotted line. Here are […]

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Charitable Donations – What MOTIVATES You To GIVE?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
What are the Motivators for Charitable Giving? Think about it, what motivates you?Everyone has their own reasons for wanting to make a difference. I have clients all the time who raise charitable giving with me as a desire for their Estate Plan.  No matter how little a client has, “where there is a will there is a way”, so to speak. A client only has to raise this as a desire, and we will find a way to structure it for them [...]

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Executor’s Duties [PDF]

By Vanessa DeDominicis
What happens if you are appointed Executor?If you have been appointed Executor in a Will there are a wide range of obligations and responsibilities that you must fulfill. However, if you do not wish to act as the Executor, you may decline to do so by renouncing your Executorship and signing the appropriate documents so that the Alternate Executor may act or so that some other person may apply for ‘Letters of Administration’.What [...]

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Estate Planning And Charitable Gifts

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Leaving a charitable donation in your Will can be a wonderful way to benefit a charity that has meant a great deal to you during your lifetime. It gives the testator a really ‘feel good’ last word, and an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ for all the great work that charities do for our community.

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The Importance Of A Will

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Everyone should have a Will. A Will becomes even more important where you have assets (i.e. own a home, have businesses etc.), have a spouse and/or children. By not having a Will, you effectively lose control over who gets your estate, how much and when. You also give up the right to appoint an executor of your choice to administer your estate as you direct in your Will and you also give up the right to appoint a guardian of your choice for [...]

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The Right Word Can Bring Huge Value

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Trademarks are a fundamental piece of marketing and branding for companies in today’s market. They serve as an indication of a source and a badge of quality for their products and services. Originally published in the Sep 14, 2012 issue of the Lawyers Weekly. Read the article here: http://www.lawyersweekly.ca/index.php?section=article&articleid=1738

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How Can A Philanthropic Governance System Help A Family Business?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Over 80% of businesses around the world are family owned businesses. Specifically, Canada’s family businesses employ 4.7 million full-time employees and the total annual sales of Canadian family businesses is $1.3 trillion (Source: BDO Dunwoody/ Compass Report on Canadian Family Business; Source: Miller, D. & Le Breton-Miller, I. (2005). Managing for the long run; Boston: Harvard Business School Press.)

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Some Questions To Get You Thinking About Your Estate Plan…

By Vanessa DeDominicis
If you don’t already have a Will in place, or if you haven’t looked at your Will for a while, take five minutes to answer a few of these simple questions.  You may be surprised how many of them apply to you……Do you have a Will?If you die without a Will, your assets may be administered by the Public Trustee and distributed in a manner contrary to your wishes.Do you have children?

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Ask A Lawyer – How Do I Select A Good TRADE-MARK?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Trade-marks serve as an indication of a source and a badge of quality for their products and services. Trade-marks perform a key function in the marketplace and are of enormous value to businesses as they act as a sort of shortcut to get consumers to where they want to go. So, what should you look […]

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Incapacity Planning And Your Health Care

By Vanessa DeDominicis
A Representation Agreement is a legal planning document which can be used in British Columbia to provide your named representative the authority to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so because of mental or physical disability. Living Will language can also be incorporated into a Representation Agreement which provides the named representative the legal right to refuse specific medical treatment or any treatment at all.

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Philanthropy And Your Will

By Vanessa DeDominicis
phi•lan•thro•py is defined in the English Dictionary as “altruistic concern for human welfare and advancement, usually manifested by donations of money, property, or work to needy persons, by endowment of institutions of learning and hospitals, and by generosity to other socially useful purposes.” Donations to charity via a Will are a main source of income for many Canadian charities.

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Elder Abuse

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Unfortunately, elder abuse occurs every day in BC. As many as one in two seniors in BC is abused. It is difficult to know when adults are being abused or neglected and often even harder to know exactly if or when to step in. Elder abuse can take many forms, both financial and non-financial. We often assume that adults can take care of themselves, but this may not always be true.

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Ask A Lawyer – Trade Name Vs. Trade-Mark – What’s The Difference?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Many people confuse trade names and trade-marks and think they acquire trade-mark rights by virtue of having a trade name.

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Why Should You Register Copyright? The Top Reasons Why…

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Protecting your intellectual property is extremely important. For businesses, think of it as protecting the brand and image that is conveyed to the public. You want what they see to be within your control. Copyright registration gives you this control.Copyright applies to all original literary, dramatic, musical and artistic works. This includes books, music, sculptures, paintings, photographs, films, plays, television programs, radio [...]

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The .XXX Domain Extension

By Vanessa DeDominicis
This particularly “risky” domain is, you guessed it, the adult entertainment sponsored top level domain. This domain has finally been approved by ICANN (The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers). Unlike the .com, .ca, and .info domains, the .XXX domain cannot be registered by just anyone……it is limited to the adult entertainment industry (in a similar way to the ‘.gov’ sites being limited [...]

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Amendments To The Power Of Attorney Act, In Force September 1, 2011

By Vanessa DeDominicis
NEW RULES for Attorneys A number of significant changes to the Power of Attorney Act come into effect on September 1, 2011. These amendments will entrench the Enduring Power of Attorney as the document of choice for most people who wish to plan for the management of their financial affairs in the event of incapacity. […]

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Estate Planning For First Nations, Specifically In Relation To Reserve Land

By Vanessa DeDominicis
This is an interesting but complex area of the law. The Indian Act sets out a land holding scheme that is meant to preserve the Indian band’s ancestral land base in a communal sense. In line with the purpose of the Indian Act to protect the ancestral land base of Indian bands, only band members can acquire Certificates of Possession in reserve land. Certificates of Possession denote a transfer in rights to land on a reserve from the [...]

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When Should I Review My Will?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
If you have an existing Will, that’s a great start. However, as your life changes, so do your estate planning needs. Estate planning should be viewed as a process, not as a one off event. As you progress through the journey of life, things happen that require you to address your Will. Furthermore, with upcoming changes in the law relating to Wills and Estates, now is a great time to review your estate plan.As a guide, the life events [...]

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The Harry Potter Stolen Font Fiasco

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Unfortunately for NBC Universal (“NBC”), along with the release of the final Harry Potter movie came the filing of a $1.5milion lawsuit against NBC. The Plaintiff, P22 Type Foundry (“P22”) is a company that designs typefaces. P22 are claiming that the font used on some Harry Potter merchandise (including a “Dementor Cap”, a “Hogwarts Stationery Set” and a “Hedwig Pillow”) was [...]

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Representation Agreements

By Vanessa DeDominicis
A Representation Agreement is a legal planning document which can be used in British Columbia to provide your named representative with the authority to make health care decisions for you if you are unable to do so because of mental or physical disability. Living Will language can also be incorporated into a Representation Agreement which […]

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Executor’s Duties

By Vanessa DeDominicis
What happens if you are appointed Executor?If you have been appointed Executor in a Will there are a wide range of obligations and responsibilities that you must fulfill. However, if you do not wish to act as the Executor, you may decline to do so by renouncing your Executorship and signing the appropriate documents so that the Alternate Executor may act or so that some other person may apply for Letters of Administration.What do Executor [...]

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When Should I review my Will?

By Vanessa DeDominicis
If you have an existing Will, that’s a great start. However, as your life changes, so will your estate planning needs.  Here are a few of the triggers that should get you thinking about re-doing your Will: 

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Intellectual Property Information

By Vanessa DeDominicis
We would like to take this opportunity to provide you with important information about protecting your intellectual property rights.  This information is designed to assist you in evaluating your needs in that area.WHAT IS INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY?

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Licencing or Assigning Your Intellectual Property

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Licensing or assigning your intellectual property rights (such as trade-marks, copyrights and patents) to other companies can generate lucrative license fees and royalties but it can also be a minefield. To protect yourself, it is imperative to get these licensing and/or assignment arrangements in writing so as to avoid costly litigation in the future.

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Trade-mark Protection on Facebook

By Vanessa DeDominicis
As of June 13, 2009, the popular social networking site, Facebook, now allows users to reserve their usernames as URLs (the general information for this is posted at: http://blog.facebook.com/blog.php?post=90316352130).

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Realtors can Incorporate as of January 1, 2009

By Vanessa DeDominicis
Categories: Blog, Real Estate
Pursuant to the Real Estate Services Act (the “Act”), as of January 1, 2009, individual realtors may now form personal real estate corporations. Advice from professional advisors, such as Accountants and Lawyers, is extremely important to ascertain whether incorporation is right for an individual realtor. Every realtor’s situation is different and it is important to remember that tax/legal advice may vary greatly depending [...]

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