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Homesteads Act – Time for a Renewal?

photo- homestead

The Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan is looking for some commentary on some changes that it would propose on the Homesteads Act. The Act, located here, and the consultation paper, located here is what the commentary is all about.  The organization and its mandate are described in that consultation paper.

“Marc. Homesteads Act?! This sounds like some piece of legislation meant for farmers. Why should I care about whether Ma and Pa Kettle have some rules that they have to comply with when dealing with their land?”

First, despite its name, the application of the Act is far broader than just a rural setting. Second, you probably need to change your thinking about rural Saskatchewan if that’s your image of its residents.  🙂

The Act is intended to protect the non owning spouse of any property that is considered the ‘homestead’ – which is really just another word for the family home. The Act clarifies all the different ways that a homestead can be interpreted.

In order to allow for certain transactions involving the land to proceed, there needs to be compliance with this Act. To obtain compliance, individuals will need to claim the appropriate exemption under the Act, or to send their non owning spouse to an appropriate individual (like a lawyer or notary) to confirm that they consent to the transaction proceeding.

So…

… if you are refinancing your home, and your long time girlfriend/boyfriend has moved in? This Act may apply to you.
…if you are just splitting up with your spouse/long time partner, and looking to sell your home that is solely in your name – this Act may apply to you.

The Law Reform Commission is considering whether or not one should be able to consent through their Power of Attorney – the Act as it currently stands does not permit it. There are certain cases where it has caused some significant grief — especially in transactions with elderly clients where the non owning spouse no longer has capacity to sign the document.

The paper is an interesting read, or at least to law geeks like me it is. There was definitely some history there that I did not appreciate. Check it out, and if you have any commentary, I am sure they would be interested.

 

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