A Personal Approach to the Law

Legal representation involves honesty and trust between a lawyer and his client. AGI Law provides you and your business with comprehensive legal services the areas that matter most.

Competence

We have the knowledge and expertise to give you the support you need to move forward confidently and address your legal needs.

Clarity

Throughout our engagement we focus on answering your questions and guiding you through the complex legal process.

Communication

We keep our case load manageable so we can communicate with every client, return calls and emails and drive your file to completion.

Legal Areas of Expertise

AGI Law provides legal guidance, advice and representation in the following important areas of the law.

Your Foundational Estate Planning

Your estate paperwork is the foundation of your wealth and estate planning.

There are a number of conversations that need be had when naming the key actors in your estate planning. The following tabs will explain who you choose and how you choose them.

The goal of our estate planning system is to educate you and your family/executors/substitute decision makers and be ready for any transition period. Consult with an estate lawyer at AGI Law before you speak to any other party.

Choosing your Executor

The executor collects and oversees estate assets, pays the deceased’s debts, and divides what remains of the estate among the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries are named in the will to inherit the estate.

The executor doesn’t have to be an expert, but DOES have some responsibility to make sure the estate is distributed properly. When choosing an executor, make sure it’s someone who will be available, and a resident of Canada for the near future.

Powers of Attorney for Property and SDA’s

When drafting a Power of Attorney, you will be asked to appoint a substitute decision maker (or “SDA”). The SDA is the individual who is given your signing authority during the times you are incapable of making your own decisions.

SDA’s shouldn’t feel like they have untouchable decision making – that is not the case, which is why we work to educate and inform your named SDA’s as part of the estate process.

As a significant and growing portion of our population faces incapacity, substitute decision- making is becoming a norm and necessary reality in many families. Caregivers, family members and formally appointed attorneys are more frequently seeking and in need of legal advice as they embark on this important role and try to navigate the murky waters of substitute decision making for aging family members.

Powers of Attorney for Property and Substitute Decision Makers

A POA: Property gives SDA power to a named authority for decisions that are made “outside of your skin,” or as it pertains to your property (real property, as well as finances, accounts, banking, taxes, etc).

An example of the tasks a Power of Attorney for Property is meant to do is contained in the following clause:

“My Attorney for Property shall keep accurate and up-to-date accounts of any and all activities executed and authorized by him, her or them, on my behalf in respect of my assets, as my Attorney for Property may at any time be compelled to produce such records by way of a court order or on account of a Public Guardian and Trustee investigation.”

Powers of Attorney for Personal Care and Your Substitute Decision Maker

An SDA for Personal Care is given substitute decision making power for decisions “from your skin in,” as it pertains to your health and personal care (your health care, nutrition, shelter, clothing, hygiene, safety, etc).

Real Estate

A real estate transaction is likely the biggest transaction of your life.

There are many players in the Toronto and Ontario real estate market. You have agents, mortgage brokers, home buyers, home sellers, lawyers, banks and private lenders.

Consult with a real estate lawyer at AGI Law before you speak to any other party.

Selling your home

Selling a property is a multiple step process. AGI Law can help you right from the beginning. Here is what you need to do:

  1. Prepare the property/condo for sale;
  2. find a buyer;
  3. negotiate a conditional agreement of sale;
  4. obtain a good faith deposit;
  5. fulfill the conditions and obtain a waiver of conditions;
  6. obtain a requisition of title from the buyer;
  7. clear requisitions on title;
  8. obtain a discharge statement from your mortgagee;
  9. receive funds from the buyer on closing;
  10. pay off mortgage and receive discharge;
  11. pay off taxes, liens (registered and unregistered) and other expenses on title;
  12. inform the city/condo management of the change of ownership; and
  13. receive the balance of closing costs.

Buying a property

Buying a property is a multistep process. AGI Law can help you right from the beginning. Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Find a property/condo to buy;
  2. negotiate a conditional agreement of sale;
  3. provide a deposit;
  4. conduct the necessary due diligence on the physical property and land and the condo corporation;
  5. fulfill the conditions and send a waiver of conditions;
  6. conduct the necessary due diligence on the title of the property;
  7. send requisitions on title to the seller;
  8. arrange a mortgage for your purchase;
  9. send funds to the seller on closing; and
  10. receive your keys.

Refinancing a property

Refinancing your property involved giving a lender the right to your property (giving them a mortgage to your property) in exchange for money. Lenders come in two general categories:

  1. Institutional lenders (banks, trust companies, etc); and
  2. private lenders (individuals and private corporations).

Institutional lenders lend based on a set of rules and regulations, whereas private lenders are far less regulated. Generally, institutional lenders provide better rates but take fewer risks, and private lenders take more risks but demand more fees.

Private equity mortgages

As a lender, you receive a pre-determined interest rate in exchange for a predetermined amount of money. If you are providing loans to individuals, one of the best ways to improve the possibility of receiving your money back is by securing it against their property.

Take a meeting with AGI Law to determine whether becoming a private lender suits your investment profile. The following are the steps in providing a private equity mortgage (lending money):

  1. Determine how much money you want to lend;
  2. determine what type of return you are willing to accept;
  3. determine what type of risk you are willing to take;
  4. find a property owner who wants to borrow money;
  5. draft and sign a commitment agreement between the lender and the borrower conditional on your due diligence;
  6. do a title search on property to determine how much money is registered against their property;
  7. have a professional appraiser provide an independent third party appraisal;
  8. calculate the loan to value ratio of the subject property by dividing the following:
    • Amount of loans registered on title; divided by
    • Assessed current value of the property.
  9. determine whether the subject property and due diligence is satisfactory;
  10. send necessary mortgage registration documents to the borrower’s lawyer;
  11. receive post dated cheques from borrower;
  12. send money to the borrower’s lawyer;
  13. register mortgage on title; and
  14. cash the interest cheques monthly.

Tax Law

A tax lawyer represents you in a dispute with the CRA. Tax disputes with the CRA are one of the most stressful experiences you will face. The CRA will threaten to put a lien on your home or garnish your wages. When you are facing the CRA you will be facing both CRA collections and CRA audits.

Disputes with the CRA include builder tax disputes, HST reassessments from a new home build and disallowed building deductions. Ontario businesses also have CRA disputes that require a tax lawyer. Finally, you may be personally audited for unreported income – AGI Law will represent your tax case.

Your dispute with the CRA begins with a notice of information and ends with a resolution from the Tax Court of Canada.

Planning

It doesn’t matter how much money you make but rather how much of it you keep. In Canada, taxpayers are allowed to organize their estates in a way to maximize return and minimize tax. Setting up your business and corporation should be done with an eye to tax planning.

There are a number of goals to tax planning of your income and assets, these include:

  1. Minimize taxes;
    • government grants;
    • investment tax credits;
    • input tax credits;
    • SR&ED;
    • tax planning;
    • engagement in tax incentivized programs;
    • corporate tax planning;
    • trust based tax planning.
  2. defer tax payments;
  3. limit liability exposure of assets;
  4. shift assets into tax positive investments and liabilities into tax negative investments; and
  5. corporate reorganization and insurance purchase to minimize tax and succession plan; and
  6. succession planning.

Audit

A tax lawyer represents you in a dispute with the CRA. Tax disputes with the CRA are one of the most stressful experiences you will face. The CRA will threaten to put a lien on your home or garnish your wages. When you are facing the CRA you will be facing both CRA collections and CRA audits.

After collecting information from you, the CRA will conduct an audit. They will follow up with you and request more information.

Once they collect all of the information they require, they re-assess your self-assessed taxes for the tax year in question and provide a “notice of re-assessment”.

The re-assessed funds will be subject to interest and penalty. If you disagree with the re-assessment, you have a fixed deadline to file a notice of objection.

Notice of Objection

A Notice of Objection can be seen as your first step into tax litigation and tax court. It gives you as a taxpayer an opportunity to review the re-assessment and object to the governments findings. At the end of the Objection process, the taxpayer can decide whether they want to make the leap to litigation.

Canadian tax law requires all arguments to have a legal basis, you can’t just “negotiate” with the CRA. On a notice of objection the taxpayer goes through the re-assessment with a fine-toothed comb and provides the legal and factual representations that addresses why the CRA is wrong.

Notice of Appeal

If the Objection and response from the CRA is not favourable or acceptable for the taxpayer, the next step is a Notice of Appeal. A Notice of Appeal moves your file to the tax court.

Tax Court

Tax Court is the process where the taxpayer and CRA adjudicate their dispute in front of a judge. Legal and factual arguments are made on both sides, settlements and negotiations are put on the table, and if a resolution is not met, a final decision is passed down by the judge.

This decision is subject to appeal if leave is given.

Principal Lawyer at AGI Law

Ardalan Ghassemi had year of experience in both business and real estate before he became a lawyer. He created AGI Law in response to his past experience with lawyers.

Ardalan Ghassemi

Partner, JD, B.Sc. (Hons), Canadian Tax Foundation, Real Estate Council of Ontario, Toronto Real Estate Board

Ardalan Ghassemi earned his honours Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience, Psychology and Biology, from the University of Toronto and obtained his law degree in the tax curricular from Osgoode Hall Law School. As a partner in the Tensor Group, Ardalan guides clients on IP Value Chains and Scientific Research and Experimental Development Claim Applications (SR&ED). He is also the managing lawyer at AGI Law and has been a member of the Real Estate Council of Ontario and Toronto Real Estate Board for over a decade.