le­gal mat­ters

A neigh­bour­hood prac­tice help­ing you with Wills, Pow­ers of At­tor­ney, Res­i­den­tial Real Es­tate and Mort­gages, Es­tate Ad­min­is­tra­tion

The Hamilton Spectator - - BUSINESS -

David Reid Simp­son

David Reid Simp­son prac­tices law in the heart of West­dale Vil­lage, Hamil­ton. He grew up in the neigh­bour­hood at­tend­ing what was then Ge­orge R. Al­lan School, Dale­wood School, West­dale Se­condary School and McMaster Univer­sity. He grad­u­ated from Os­goode Hall Law School and has been prac­tic­ing now for over 23 years.

James Reid Simp­son

James Reid Simp­son,Q.C., also at­tended the same schools as his son (ex­cept for Dale­wood) and has been a lawyer in West­dale for over 58 years.

Q I have been to­gether with my part­ner for over 20 years. We are con­sid­ered pretty much the same as a mar­ried cou­ple now aren’t we?

A Com­mon law spouses have sim­i­lar rights – and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties – as mar­ried cou­ples in a lot of cir­cum­stances.

They of­ten qual­ify for sur­vivor pen­sion ben­e­fits, for ex­am­ple.

They can be looked to for spousal sup­port af­ter a break­down of the re­la­tion­ship.

It is not un­rea­son­able to think those sim­i­lar­i­ties would ex­tend into all ar­eas – af­ter all ev­ery­one knows you are a cou­ple – ev­ery­one treats you as a cou­ple.

Un­for­tu­nately com­mon-law spouses are treated dif­fer­ently in some im­por­tant ways.

They do not ac­quire the same prop­erty rights as a mar­ried cou­ple – the con­cept of a “mat­ri­mo­nial home” does not ap­ply to com­mon law spouses for ex­am­ple.

They are not first in line to act as a trustee should their part­ner be­come in­ca­pable – which can be a shock.

As such, com­mon law cou­ples are en­cour­aged to set out all their wishes in writ­ing in the form of a le­gal Will – and also should con­sider hav­ing Pow­ers of At­tor­ney in place.

If you would like to dis­cuss your Will and Pow­ers of At­tor­ney, I would be pleased to help.

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