Certified True Copies of Documents

What is a Certified True Copy of a document?  

The authentication and legalization process involves sending valuable documents to third parties. Inevitably they will be marked, stamped, bound, or embossed. In many circumstances they will not be returned to you. The alternative to submitting an original document is to use a Certified True Copy.   A Certified True Copy is a copy (usually a photocopy) of the original that has been signed and sealed by a Canadian notary or commissioner of oaths. Generally this requires submitting both the original and the copy to the notary or commissioner. He or she will examine the original and the copy, and then put their seal and signature on the copy, certifying that it is an Original True Copy.

Notarizations and Attestations


A notarized document is a document that has been marked with a stamp (or “seal”), which indicates that the signature on the document is legitimate. A notary watches you sign and then places the stamp near your signature. This tells others that you really signed the document – it wasn’t somebody else posing as you. In the age of identify theft it’s important to know who really signed that important document. In addition to verifying your identity, a notary is supposed to look for signs of trouble: are you signing the document willingly (even if you don’t like what’s in it) or is somebody forcing you to sign? A notary will refuse to validate a signature if signs of coercion are present. Likewise, a notary wants to make sure that you’re in a condition where you can truly understand what you’re signing. If you are intoxicated, medicated, or unable to understand what’s happening for any reason, a notary should refuse to notarize the document.

How to Get a Notarized Document?

How do you get something notarized? Simply sign it in front of notary public (a person who is authorized to notarize documents).
The notary will ask for identification to verify that you really are who you say you are. You’ll need official identification with a photograph – a driver’s license, passport, or other government-issued ID will generally do the trick. If the notary is not confident that you are the person in question, he or she can refuse to notarize your document – nobody is required to notarize anything.
Be sure to bring an unsigned document to the notary (don’t sign it ahead of time). The notary needs to watch you sign in most cases.

Consent Letter for Children Travelling Abroad

What is a Consent Letter for Children Travelling Aboard?

It is recommended that Canadian children carry a consent letter if they are travelling abroad alone, with only one parent/guardian, with friends or relatives or with a group.   A Canadian child is defined as anyone who is under the age of majority.  The age of majority for BC children is the age of 19. 

A consent letter is not a legal requirement in Canada, but it can simplify travel for Canadian children as it may be requested by immigration authorities when entering or leaving a foreign country or by Canadian Officials when re-entering Canada.   The letter demonstrates that Canadian children have permission to travel abroad from parents or guardians who are not accompanying them. 

Carrying a consent letter does not guarantee that children will be allowed to enter or leave a country, as every country has its own entry and exit requirements.

It is recommended that the Consent Letter be witnessed before a Notary Public.  

The following Government of Canada link provides “Sample Consent Letters” for your use.




Letters of Invitation for Foreign Travel

What is a Letter of Invitation?

Anyone who visits Canada must apply from outside the Country.  When someone applies for a visa to visit Canada, they are sometimes asked to provide a letter of invitation from someone in Canada. You may provide your family member or friend a letter of invitation in support of their visa application.  The letter of invitation needs to include information about you and the person you are inviting.   The letter should explain how you will help the visitor during their stay; the purpose of the trip; where the visitor will stay and when the visitor will be leaving Canada;    For example, you may offer to pay for plane tickets or provide accommodation during the visitors stay in Canada.    The primary questions in the visa officer’s mind is “Will the visitor return to his or her own country when the visitor visa expires?” and “Does the visitor have sufficient means to support himself or herself while visiting Canada? 

A letter of invitation  can help, but does not guarantee that a visa will be issued. Visa officers assess and decide whether the visitor meets the terms of Canada’s immigration law.

Some visa officers may ask that a notary public notarize the Letter of Invitation.

The following Government of Canada link contains information on Letter of Invitations




Statutory Declarations/Affidavits

What is a Statutory Declaration?

A statutory declaration is a written statement which a person swears, affirms or declares to be true in the presence of an authorized witness usually a notary public, lawyer or a commissioner for taking affidavits.   If the statutory declaration is being used outside of Canada it should be sworn before a notary public.

What is the difference between an Affidavit and a Statutory Declaration?

An affidavit is a sworn statement of facts that has been written down and sworn to by the affiant (the person who swears the affidavit) before individuals who are authorized to administer oaths.   A statutory declaration is similar to an affidavit except that a statutory declaration is usually used outside of court settings. 






What is the difference between a Statutory Declaration and an Affidavit?

Advanced Directives

What is an Advance Directive?

An Advance Directive is a legal document prepared and signed by a person in advance of a severe illness or injury providing instructions to give or refuse consent to certain health care matters.   The Advance Directive must be made when the adult is capable of understanding the nature and effect of what it covers.  An Advance Directive only applies to health care and can consent to or refusing life support or life prolonging medical interventions. Note that an Advance Directive does not appoint a person to act on your behalf.   The Advance Directive must be specific as possible about the circumstances related to a treatment or intervention.   An instruction such as “I give consent to surgery” or “I refuse consent to surgery” is likely not specific enough. Provided that the written instructions in the Advance Directive are clear they are to be followed by a healthcare practitioner who is aware of the Advance Directive and when no one will be able to make a decision for you.  However, even if your Advance Directive provides clear instructions, a health care provider must not follow your Advance Directive if.

  • you have a Representation Agreement that covers health care, unless you included a statement in the Agreement to say otherwise;
  • the health care provider has evidence that your wishes, values and beliefs have significantly changed since you made the Advanced Directive, unless this is accounted for in the Advance Directive; 
  • there have been significant changes in medical knowledge, practice or technology since you made the Advance Directive and these might substantially benefit you in relation to the health care instruction in your Advance Directive, unless you included a statement that you want your instructions followed despite any such changes. 

An Advance Directive cannot address all possible health care decisions that may arise for you in the future and a health care provider could reject your instructions for one of a number of reasons.  A Section 9 Representation Agreement can cover more health care matters that an Advance Directive and carries more authority because it gives a person the authority to carry out your wishes, even if a health care provider is unsure your instructions applies.  

This following link is a good source of information for advance directives

Power of Attorney/Enduring Power of Attorneys

What is a Power of Attorney?

This is a document that gives the person appointed (the attorney) the authority to act on your behalf (the donor) for financial matters while you are still alive.  The powers provided can be specific or very broad.

For example, your attorney can be appointed to do anything you could do with your own assets such as pay your bills, deposit monies, sell property you own, purchase more suitable care or accommodation for you, raise money for necessary surgery etc.

What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?

An Enduring Power of Attorney provides that the powers granted shall continue to be in effect should you become mentally incapable because of age, accident or illness.  Without the “Enduring clause” an ordinary Power of Attorney ceases to be effective at the same time as the donor loses capacity to transact matters on their own behalf. 

For additional information see Power of Attorney under the Resource tab.



Representation Agreements

What is a Representation Agreement

A Representation Agreement is a tool that allows your representative to make personal and health care decisions for you.  There are 2 types of Representation Agreements, Standard and Enhanced.   Standard Representation Agreements cover routine financial and/or health care decisions, while Enhanced Representation Agreements give broader powers to the representative, including end of life decision making.

A Representation Agreement is the only way to authorize someone called your representative to assist you to act on your behalf for health care and personal care matters.   It can also cover routine financial affairs and legal matters.   You may also appoint a Monitor who will ensure that your representative is carrying out your wishes.   In some cases the monitor is optional.

For additional information see Representation Agreements under the Resources tab.




Wills and Codicils

What is a Will?

A will is a legal document by which a person, the will maker, expresses his or her wishes as to how his or her property is to be distributed at death, and names one or more persons, the executor, to manage the estate until its final distribution.

What is a Codicil?

A codicil is a document that is executed by a person who had previously made his or her will, to modify, delete, or revoke provisions contained in it.   A codicil must be dated, signed and witnessed just as a will would be, and must make some reference to the will it amends.

For additional information see Wills under the Resources tab.

Preparation of Contracts of Purchase and Sale


Generally speaking, in most jurisdictions, a contract respecting land is not enforceable if it is not in writing.    Therefore if you wish to rely on your right to enforce a Contract of Purchase and Sale, you should ensure any offer you make is in writing.

As a buyer never make an offer casually.  If you are not 100% prepared to complete the purchase of the property, you should not make the offer.   A buyer who defaults in a transaction can be held responsible for consequential damages, including the shortfall cost of a resale by the seller at a lower price than your offer.  It is best to consult your Notary or Realtor before signing the contract, because once the contract has been signed by both you and the seller, you typically cannot change it without the seller’s consent.

Who Prepares the Contract of Purchase and Sale?

The contract is the single most important document in the transaction of buying and selling a home and having it prepared right can save you a LOT of headaches.   In British Columbia, it is generally the buyer who will have the Contract of Purchase and Sale prepared.   If a seller is selling a home using a real estate agent, it is normally the buyer’s real estate agent who will prepare the Contract of Purchase and Sale and present it to the Seller’s realtor for acceptance by the seller.   If a seller is selling a home privately without the use of a real estate agent, then the buyer should consult with their Notary Public or lawyer who will then prepare the Contract of Purchase and Sale and ensure that the terms are clear.  The contract has the appropriate conditions and will be a legally binding and enforceable document in a court of law.  Some buyers believe that they will save money by preparing the Contract of Purchase and Sale themselves.   The reverse is true, especially if there are errors made that may put them into court action.   It is always best to have a Notary Public, lawyer or real estate agent experienced in real estate transactions prepare the Contract of Purchase and Sale.

We would be happy to assist you with the drafting of your Contract of Purchase and Sale.



Manufactured Home Purchases and Sales

Manufactured or Mobile Homes

British Columbia is the only jurisdiction in Canada that protects a person’s investment in a manufactured home by having a central register of ownership details and controlling the movement of the manufactured homes within BC.

Under the Manufactured Home Act of British Columbia, no sale, transfer or purchase of a manufactured home in BC is effective unless the transaction is registered with the Manufactured Home Registry. The registry protects a person’s investment in a manufactured home by:

  • Maintaining a central register of manufactured home ownership details
  • Controlling the movement of the manufactured homes in BC
  • Improving the security of lenders in financing buying of manufactured home

Manufactured or Mobile Home Buying Tips

  • Before you buy a Manufactured Home which is to be placed in a Manufactured Home park, or if you are buying an existing Manufactured Home in a park, make sure to visit the park and become acquainted with the landlord or manager. Talk to the residents of the Manufactured Home Park.   Ask yourself if this is a person that you can work with during your tenancy in the park.
  •  Obtain a copy of the park rules and read them carefully.   Check the rules in regard to children, pets, rentals, skirting, landscaping, gardening, spaces provided for your car and spaces for visitors cars.  Inquire about snow removal and ground maintenance of the Manufactured Home park.  
  • If you are wanting to place a brand new Manufactured Home in the park inquire as to what strength power is available in the park. Newer homes need higher volts dues to larger electric hot water tanks, electric stoves, dryers or electric heat as some older parks do not have the required volt/amp circuits.
  • Ask to see the Canadian Standards Association Certification label or the Silver Label provided by the Provincial Safety Manager. Since the early 1990’s, all Manufactured Homes produced in Canada have been required to carry a Canadian Standards Association Certification; either CSA Z240 for mobile homes or CSA A277 for modular homes. The decal is usually found affixed to the cladding just to the left of the main entrance.   When the Canadian Standards Association Certificate label is not present because it has been removed, painted over, or sided over etc, a Manufactured Home can obtain a Silver label indicating approval by the BC Safety Authority (BCSA).   The Silver label can be obtained by hiring a licensed electrical contractor. Without the CSA decal or the Silver Label, the value of the structure is greatly diminished
  • I recommend that you have a home inspection on your manufactured home as there can be many unforeseen problems, especially when the manufactured home is older

Why do I need a Notary Public when buying a Manufactured Home?

Briefly, your Notary will do the following:

  • Search the title to the manufactured home and will ensure that any charges that will affect the ownership of the manufactured home will be removed.
  • Assist you with the preparation of the Contract of Purchase and Sale and will ensure that all appropriate terms and conditions are inserted in the contract including all chattels being purchased.
  • Ascertain the status of the annual taxes on the manufactured home and make sure that the outstanding taxes are paid
  • Prepare a Statement of Adjustments and the necessary documents required to complete your purchase and review those documents with you and arrange for the registration of the appropriate documents at the Manufactured Home Registry
  • Confirm that title to the Manufactured Home has been accepted for registration in the Manufactured Home registry free of all registered financial charges and other registered charges except those for which you have agreed to other than any new mortgage financing which you have arranged.
  • With your consent, deliver the sale proceeds to the Seller’s Notary or on the Seller’s Notary undertaking to discharge any existing charges which are not acceptable.
  • If asked to do so by your mortgage lender, and if you agree, prepare the mortgage documentation for both you and the lender.


Mortgage Refinancing

What is a Mortgage?

A contract between a borrower and a lender.  The borrower pledges property as security to guarantee repayment of the mortgage debt.  Lenders consider both the property (security) and the financial worth of the borrower in deciding on a mortgage loan. When looking at your financial worth the lender considers your income, expenses, down payment and current mortgage rates.

What is Refinancing?

Refinancing a mortgage means paying off an existing mortgage and replacing it with a new mortgage.    There are many reasons why homeowners refinance.    The homeowner may want to consolidate debt; obtain a lower interest rate or convert from a variable rate mortgage to a fixed rate mortgage or vice versa.  Often homeowners access the equity in their home for a large purchase.  Refinancing can be a valuable tool in the right circumstances.   Whatever the reason for refinancing, it is vital to understand the benefits and the pitfalls.  

For additional information see Mortgages – FAQ’s under the Resource Tab



Residential Real Estate Transfers (i.e. buying, selling or transferring)

Residential Real Estate (buying, selling or transferring)

A good source of information is the guide Important Information for Buyers/Sellers of real estate under the Resource Tab



Commercial Real Estate Transfers (ich.e. buying selling or transferring)

Additional information coming soon

Subdivisions including preparation of Easements, Restrictive Covenants and Right of Ways

Additional information coming soon