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Calgary General Practice Law Blog

Estate planning: Keeping the peace over end-of-life wishes

Taking about end-of-life plans with loved ones is not the most pleasant of conversations, but it is an important one. Alberta residents who are looking to do some comprehensive estate planning most likely don't want their plans to cause any family disagreements, so speaking with loved ones about end-of-life wishes is a discussion that needs to happen at some point. A discussion should be compassionate, honest and a testator should be able to explain the reasons behind his or her decisions and to have loved ones weigh in on them.

Having a designated executor for an estate plan who can devote the time to the task is necessary. Administering an estate is not always easy and loved one should know who that person will be. An executor should be someone who is comfortable communicating with beneficiaries as well as being a trusted individual who can make some difficult decisions if the need arises. It may also be wise to discuss funeral arrangements with loved ones, which may cause less confusion or hurt feelings when the time comes.

Sales up in Calgary real estate market a good indicator

Sales are up in Cow Town's housing market, although levels are still nowhere near what they were in the latter part of the 1990s. Although the real estate market has been rallying in Calgary and in other areas of the province, it's not near the level it was moving into 2014, prior to the recession. Analysts say the good news is the market is continuing to move toward balance between inventory and sales.

The ratio of inventory to sales in February in Calgary sat at 47.5% -- just slightly below between the 50-60%, indicating a balanced market. The benchmark price of a home fell 0.79% last month compared to Feb. 2019 and puts the average price of a single family home at $416,900. Lower prices indicate that the market is still somewhat unbalanced in inventory.

Real estate continues to adjust in 2 major Alberta markets

The housing game in Wild Rose country's two largest cities paint a very different picture. It seems that real estate sales in Calgary are up, while they're down in Edmonton. Some other areas of Alberta saw year-over-year increases in sales according to a report from the Alberta Real Estate Association (AREA), but sales in the provincial capital eased slightly due to a decline in homes on the market.

Sales in Calgary this January, compared to Jan. 2019, were up by about 12%, but new listings fell by 8%, according to AREA. It's still a buyer's market in Calgary, which saw a decline in housing prices in Cow Town. But analysts are saying the market is beginning to adjust and home price declines are beginning to ease.

Real estate investment firm acquires major Calgary office spaces

A western-based investment company just keeps adding to its portfolio. Crestpoint Real Estate Investments Inc. recently added two large office buildings in Calgary to its real estate inventory. The company can boast about owning TransAlta Place and Stampede Station with an additional 498,000 square feet of space. It is Crestpoint's first foray into office space holdings in Cow Town.

The company already owns a number of retail and industrial spaces in Calgary. It plans on leasing its new retail spaces with a long-term goal of turning them into high-rise residential units. The properties are located in the city's Beltline which wasn't really impacted by the real estate snail pace over the last few years. It continues to be one of the city's fastest growing areas.

Cannabis companies facing litigation suits stateside

Big players in the cannabis industry are facing class action lawsuits stateside. Recreational cannabis use is legal in Alberta, along with the rest of the country, but the industry hasn't been without its issues, including a number of litigation cases. Problems range from allegedly misleading investors to failure to disclose issues in business due to major losses in the stock market.

Most of the cases  now in American courts involve Canopy Growth, Aurora Cannabis and Hexo Corp. The lawsuits claim when issues in those companies became known, their stock plummeted. Experts say the suits are creating added uncertainty, making it difficult for these corporations to secure additional investors.

The importance of estate planning for new Alberta parents

New parents are likely overwhelmed with having a new addition in the family, even with all the joy they feel. Alberta couples or single individuals who are parents for the first time may not even have estate planning on their radar, but they actually should for a number of reasons. No parent ever wants to think about being in a position of not being able to care for their baby, but planning for unforeseen events is crucial.

The first thing new parents should take care of -- besides making sure they have a will -- is choosing a guardian for their child should they not be able to care for him or her. If one parent dies, the other will assume care of the child, but if both parents should pass away, someone has to step in to take over caring for the child. Most often parents will choose a family member or close friend whose values and beliefs closely mirror their own, but if the guardianship should come into play, the person named guardian would still have to go to court to apply to become the child's legal guardian.

Real estate: Alberta home prices expected to jump in 2020

The year looks golden for those thinking of selling their homes in Wild Rose Country. A recent market survey regarding real estate in Alberta shows that home prices are expected to rise, especially in two major markets -- Calgary and Edmonton. Home prices in Cow Town are expected to increase by 1.5% in 2020 over last year, bringing the median price for a single family home to about $477,000.

Meanwhile, in Edmonton, home prices are expected to increase by 1% putting a single family home at a little more than $383,000. Analysts says most of those increases will not happen until the second quarter of 2020. That's good news for sellers, but buyers also have good news with continued low interest rates and positive migration. 

Climate change spurring litigation suits

Class action lawsuits regarding the climate are on the rise around the world. Whether they involve flash floods, wildfires or rising tides, climate change litigation cases are becoming more the norm and some of those are related to Alberta oil sands projects. In fact, the Canadian Securities Administrators (CSA) has called for better reporting on material climate risks. 

When it comes to companies, Canadian regulators have put more focus on climate change and suggest Canadian issuers realize that litigation cases could ensue regarding enforcement. Investors are also urging companies to be upfront about how climate change might affect their businesses. Investors also want to know how companies are going to handle their carbon footprints in light of the decarbonization of the economy. 

Corporate news: WestJet to have added eastern presence after sale

One of the country's major airlines is spreading its wings. WestJet -- whose home base is in Calgary, Alberta -- has lit up the corporate world with news that it is intending to beef up its presence in the eastern part of the country. The announcement comes on the tails of the airline's sale to a private equity firm for $5 billion. WestJet plans to fly into Pearson International Airport more frequently.

The company -- whose CEO says it's proud of its Alberta roots -- will keep its corporate headquarters in Cow Town with no plans to introduce an offshoot of EastJet. He also says the sale has brought relief and satisfaction after the friendly takeover this past May. With its interests now in the hands of a private company, WestJet won't have to reveal quarterly results, nor will it have to reveal pertinent information to investors or to competitors which, the CEO adds, gives the company a leg up on the competition.

Recovering GDP a shining light on Alberta real estate market

Things are looking up for Calgary's home market. Alberta's Cow Town has had some good news recently regarding the real estate sector which is now poised to come out of a yearslong downturn. In fact, the market in the entire province is rallying due to overall increased economic growth and a more lively gross domestic product sector. 

Recent forecasts expect Calgary's GDP to grow by 2% next year and by 2.8% moving into 2021. Other good news is that more people have moved into the province compared to the same time last year -- 40% more. Edmonton and Calgary rank first and second, respectively, when it comes to real estate deals in the province. These numbers, experts suggest, are enticing investors to look again at Alberta -- particularly Calgary and the capital.


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