Canada Asbestos Mesothelioma Injury Claims



Asbestos Mesothelioma Injury Claim Lawyer in Canada working for Canadians.  No Risk to Clients with Contingency Fees.

ASBESTOS EXPOSURE IS KNOWN TO BE DEADLY

Deadly Asbestos Fibers

 

Attention Canadian Asbestos Victims and family members: Compensation for those who suffer and the families of those who have died in recent years from serious asbestos related diseases from asbestos exposure is available to our clients in Canada.  Some Canadians are eligible for provincial Workers Compensation benefits and except in Alberta have a choice on whether to accept it or make a claim with a lawyer potentially for greater compensation.  It becomes more complicated when a person has worked with asbestos exposure in more than one province or in other countries.  You have probably seen plenty of confusing Asbestos Cancer and Mesothelioma ads from lawyers in the US promising big compensation if you call their toll free numbers.  When you do call they often do not understand your situation or you may not even get through because many US toll free numbers can not be reached from Canada.  If you are in Canada, you do not need to hire a lawyer in the USA to make a claim. You can have a Canadian lawyer represent you to make a claim for compensation for asbestos related diseases and get the same compensation and probably more. A Canadian lawyer can investigate your situation and advise you on the complicated choices you may have to make including Workers Compensation. The US lawyers have very little information about Canadian Workers Compensation entitlement and about Canadian work sites known for asbestos and generally do not try as hard to get compensation for Canadian clients.  Some leading US law firms refer Canadian clients to our firm to handle the claim.  A Canadian lawyer who works on asbestos case can do the investigation needed to get compensation from the most sources.  There are very few lawyers in Canada who do handle these claims and for our firm it is now the largest part of our work.  As there are few lawyers in Canada doing this, we work on a national level with clients in the Territories and all Provinces.  We check carefully on each claim to find as many asbestos exposure sources as we can to maximize the available compensation. We cross reference claims from our own growing data base of Canadian asbestos hot spots.

Miskin Law Offices, based in Ontario, represents clients all across Canada in making claims to American asbestos trusts. This is not a lawsuit and you do not go to court to get compensation. They are essentially applications for compensation to Bankruptcy funds set up when almost all makers of asbestos products were put out of business by the many claims made against them based on serious harm caused by their products. Applications for our clients are made to many different asbestos trusts and our clients get compensation from multiple sources. We are familiar with Canadian law and workplaces. We understand how the Canadian system works and have many advantages in representing Canadian clients. We are familiar from case experience with Canadian asbestos use history and where known asbestos hazards exist.  Exposure to asbestos gives rise to a claim if the person exposed becomes ill from it even many years later. The asbestos trusts are all based in the United States and we sometimes work with American asbestos specialist lawyers to advance some of our cases with the contingency fee split between our firm and the US law firm.   Our clients do not pay more to have both Canadian and American  representation.  If the American lawyers think they can not help you we do not just give up.  We investigate further. If at the end of our investigation of your claim we conclude that we can not help you there is no charge to you for our services or even expenses. We otherwise charge a percentage of your recovery which is called a contingency fee.  This fee is usually one third of the amount recovered.  For the Manville Trust the fee is by regulation set at 25% of the recovery.

THE DANGERS OF ASBESTOS:  We are working to build awareness of the dangers of asbestos and the specific disease of Mesothelioma through our website Asbestos Facts Canada .  Asbestos is a mineral that has been used as an insulating and fireproofing material for many years in a great number of products and in many buildings.  It is still present in many older buildings such as hospitals and schools and is safe if undisturbed and poses a serious hazard if fibers are released into the air.  It has been mined in various parts of the world including Quebec where there is a Town called Asbestos.  In the September 4, 2012 election the Quebec Liberal Government of Jean Charest which promised a loan to reopen the asbestos mine was defeated by the Parti Quebecois which opposed asbestos. Federal Government support for continued asbestos mining and exporting asbestos to the world has been a very controversial issue. Since the 2012 Quebec election the loan to the mine has been cancelled so it will not reopen and Federal Government support for the asbestos industry has also ended. The 2014 Quebec election which brought back a Liberal majority Government will not bring back the asbestos mines or asbestos exports.  The use of asbestos is banned in Canada and most developed countries. Here is a link to an Operation Maple video about Canada’s export of asbestos including an interview with Murray Miskin:Asbestos Mesothelioma

Mesothelioma Asbestos Cancer Compensation

Murray Miskin in Asbestos Mesothelioma Video

It has been known for many years that asbestos is dangerous to the health of people exposed to it especially when fibers are inhaled and get into the lungs. it can stay in the lungs for many years without a person knowing it is there. There are serious long term consequences of exposure to asbestos.  Some of the most serious ones have only recently started to commonly appear.  Mesothelioma was once considered a rare condition but sadly it has now become very common. The diseases from asbestos include asbestosis, certain forms of lung cancer and the condition of mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining (known as the mesothelium) of the lungs or another organ. Mesothelioma can develop 30-50 years after even just a little exposure to asbestos.  Mesothelioma is appearing more commonly because it takes a long time to develop and it was not always diagnosed properly in the past. Mesothelioma can only be caused by asbestos and maximum compensation is available for this horrific and generally fatal disease.

The very serious diseases affect people who have worked with asbestos, had loose fibers in their workplace (sometimes from or after asbestos removal) and people who have been exposed by their family members who may have come home from a hard day of work with asbestos on their bodies or their clothes.  We have worked on tragic cases where children of parents exposed to asbestos have developed Mesothelioma and can be compensated.

Asbestos Compensation for Canadians is Available

If a loved one has developed one of these conditions in Canada or the USA and is seriously ill or has died due to asbestos exposure it can be proven with medical records and compensation will follow.  Doctors should be able to confirm causation by asbestos when the diagnosis is made. A biopsy is most effective. Compensation is available for Canadians from a number of U.S. trusts set up for that purpose.  This compensation is only open to people who legally live in or are citizens of Canada and the United States. To maximize compensation we need to investigate each case and know the source or sources of exposure to asbestos to determine which manufacturers were involved and where claims may be placed. If a person is suffering from Mesothelioma we move quickly to get necessary information and documentation including affidavits to be sworn to maximize compensation. If a person has died from asbestos illness a number of years ago the available claims are limited by the delay in proceeding. Some of the asbestos trusts have longer time limits so it is worth checking if there is a positive diagnosis even if the death was long ago.

We do not handle claims related to removal of asbestos from homes or other properties nor do we sue employers for asbestos exposure or illness. We also do not take on cases involving fear of possible asbestos illness. We only handle cases involving people who have serious asbestos illness. Having “asbestos on the lungs” or pleural plaques may entitle a person to very small compensation but more importantly it means they are at risk for serious disease and should be monitored by their doctors regularly. We are not accepting pleural plaque claims due to the very limited amount of compensation.

Contact Miskin Law Offices

Contact the Miskin Law Offices in Ontario for information on making a claim for asbestos related diseases.  Email miskinlaw@yahoo.com or call 416-492-0989 from the Toronto area, one of our local numbers or toll free 877-428-8000 from anywhere in Canada or the United States. You can have us as your lawyers here in Canada and get compensation from the trusts set up to pay claims on behalf of the former asbestos manufacturers in the United States. Again we will investigate your possible claim with no cost on your part. If we can get you compensation our fees and expenses are fully paid from the compensation you receive.

We work hard to determine the source of asbestos exposure to maximize the available compensation funds. If we can prove a particular company’s products were used we can get compensation from the applicable trust (again it is not a lawsuit and you do not go to court).  Many people have no idea where they were exposed or do know but know little about the specific asbestos products.  There has to be significant illness diagnosed, not just fear of future illness to make a successful claim. Cases are handled with contingency fee agreements which include a one third fee.  That means you pay nothing until and unless money is received for your claims.  Settlements are in US dollars, which vary in value when converted to Canadian dollars. Now the US dollar is worth 10% more than the Canadian dollar.  We include the sales tax on legal fees in our share of the one third contingency fee so you will not pay any additional PST, GST or HST on a settlement.  Settlement amounts are also tax free for income tax purposes.

Often we can get clients compensation from more than one trust fund. We make sure to try all relevant asbestos trusts to maximize compensation.  Eligibility for multiple trust compensation is dependent on the source of the asbestos exposure. The more details you have on the source of asbestos and specific asbestos products and dates of exposure the more sources of compensation there are.  We are seeing some large cheques come in for our clients and faster processing of claims. If you are not eligible for Worker’s Compensation we can get you compensation so long as we can prove asbestos to be the cause of an illness or if there is a confirmed Mesothelioma diagnosis.  With confirmed Mesothelioma, that is not a problem.  The right to bring a claim may be taken away by receipt of or application for Workers Compensation Benefits so do let us know details of any WCB, Work Safe or WSIB claims made when you first contact us. DO NOT APPLY FOR WORKERS COMPENSATION FOR MESOTHELIOMA UNTIL YOU HAVE HAD LEGAL ADVICE FROM A LAWYER WHO UNDERSTANDS THE PROCESS AND IS INDEPENDENT OF THE WORKERS COMPENSATION BOARD OR ITS LAWYERS.  The Boards have brought U.S. claims for a number of Canadians through American law firms and where that is done we can not bring a claim. Sometimes we need consent from the Workers Compensation Board or from the employer who in some situations pays the benefits, before we can proceed. Compensation Boards keep all of the money that they recover from U.S. claims as reimbursement for what they paid to the injured worker and only pay the worker or their family the excess amount if there is any. Workers Compensation pays a contingency fee to the lawyers they use and also charges its own administrative fee from money it recovers. There is rarely if ever money that they will pay to the worker or the worker’s family from the asbestos trusts.  We are consulting with the Compensation Boards in different provinces to ensure that our clients actually receive maximum compensation from all sources. In some Provinces Workers’ Compensation Boards have allowed us to proceed directly for clients with claims to the asbestos funds where the Boards have rights to make those claims. Persons entitled to benefits from Alberta Workers Compensation do not have any right to make a separate claim for compensation. In Ontario we are claiming on behalf of families of victims and on behalf of School Boards with respect to illness from asbestos exposure in schools.

Murray Miskin has been a lawyer in Ontario practicing personal injury law for over 33 years and has worked on national and international injury claims.  Our experience gives us an edge in representing Canadians on asbestos claims. Murray Miskin has been familiar with asbestos and asbestos products since childhood as his father Nat Miskin was a Toronto plumber who worked with asbestos.  Murray’s oldest brother who also worked as a plumber developed an asbestos related cancer and is recovering from surgery.  Murray’s first work with Canadian asbestos injury claims was in 1979 at the Phelan, O’Brien law firm in Toronto as soon as he finished law school where he assisted Senior Counsel Brendan O’Brien with Canadian asbestos litigation. We are settling many asbestos claims  now and getting compensation for our clients.  These are not lawsuits in court but are applications to compensation funds done with paper work and no personal appearances by clients. We will treat you and your family with compassion and respect and get you results without added stress or work on your part. If you have documentation of the medical condition and information on the source of asbestos exposure (especially type of asbestos product) that helps us get results more quickly. There is no advance fee or financial retainer required and there is no risk to the client. The lawyers are only paid from the funds collected with a regulated contingency fee from the recovery split between the lawyers working on the claim.

You may call our office at a local number or toll free nationally at 1-877-428-8000 and speak with Anna at Extension 140, or Murray at Extension 111 about your situation.  For a speedy response seven days a week email details to Murray Miskin directly: miskinlaw@yahoo.com


Pin It
Share on Tumblr

Canadian Asbestos – Mining, Exposure and Export

Asbestos Snow in “The Wizard of Oz” movie

THIS POPULAR POST ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED JUNE 1, 2012 WAS UPDATED ON APRIL 7, 2014.  SINCE THE ORIGINAL POSTING CANADIAN ASBESTOS MINING AND EXPORT HAS ENDED AND IN MARCH 2014 ASBESTOS WAS DISCOVERED IN BYZANTINE ART DATING BACK TO THE 11TH CENTURY.

Since the 1870s the mineral asbestos was mined in Quebec and Canadian asbestos mining used to be considered one of our country’s greatest natural resources and sources of wealth. Nobody had heard of Asbestosis or Mesothelioma resulting from asbestos exposure. Asbestos was seen as one of the greatest substances known to man. Asbestos is virtually indestructible, it is a most effective fireproofer and insulator with many practical uses. Asbestos uses have included artificial snow for Christmas decoration and for movies like 1939′s The Wizard of Oz with Judy Garland, and Holiday Inn, which in 1942 introduced the song White Christmas. Regular asbestos use was common across Canada in covering pipes, electrical wiring, insulation, floor tiles, children’s toys, kitchen equipment, blankets, curtains, bricks, cement, gaskets, fireman’s suits, auto brake linings, lawn furniture and even filters for cigarettes. Yes, asbestos was used to make tobacco smoking safer! Asbestos use and fire safety were almost synonymous words. Regular daily asbestos exposure was a fact for most Canadians.

There has been Asbestos use by people, in cookware and in clothing, for over 4,000 years. The word asbestos comes from a Greek word meaning “unquenchable” or “inextinguishable”. Charlemagne, the first Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was known to have an asbestos tablecloth in about the year 800. Famous Byzantine paintings in Cyprus from the 11th Century have now through testing been found to have been made with an asbestos base.  Chrysotile which is the white asbestos type mined in Canada was used to create a smooth white surface on the walls and as a finish coating between paint layers in monasteries and other places where the paintings were done.   Asbestos was mined in Cyprus about 60 km. away from the monasteries for many centuries, so it is not too surprising that it was used in that region at the time. This is our first knowledge of asbestos in ancient art.

Byzantine Art studied

Asbestos is hidden under and in 11th Century Art

When Marco Polo visited Siberia in his travels during the 13th Century, he was presented with asbestos clothing which he was first told was made from special wool from a magical lizard (salamander). Its qualities were considered magical. Marco Polo eventually did learn that asbestos actually came from the ground. Like spices and pasta the mineral asbestos was brought back by Marco Polo and introduced to Europe where asbestos exposure and use became common. Asbestos use became more common for industry in the 1800s. As Canada developed, asbestos was discovered and asbestos mining developed into a major Quebec industry.

Long before anyone knew of the potential for extracting large quantities of oil from the bitumen of the Alberta tar sands, the magical mineral asbestos was viewed as one of Canada’s greatest assets. “These enormous asbestos deposits in the province of Quebec are immensely valuable to Canada in war and peace, and they form a very important part of our great heritage of mineral wealth,” said CBC Radio’s Lorne Greene in 1942, on-site at the Jeffrey Mine in Asbestos, Quebec. But far worse than today’s oil from sand, which has a huge environmental price attached to it, the more easily mined asbestos comes with a deadly impact on miners, people who work with it and people simply exposed to asbestos in everyday life. Asbestos mining has advanced with protection for the miners. The asbestos exposure danger is greatest from breathing in asbestos fibers. The fibers remain in the body indestructible and for many people slowly causing serious diseases like asbestosis and mesothelioma.

In ancient days there was some suspicion of ill effects from asbestos use as it was noted that the slaves who wove asbestos into clothing became ill and had breathing difficulty. They were the symptoms of asbestosis. The connection to asbestos exposure was noted but not a concern since the weavers were slaves and easily replaced. It was not until 1906 that the first human was diagnosed as having died as a result of asbestos exposure. Researchers began to investigate respiratory health problems in asbestos mining towns and it became clear asbestos exposure was the culprit. Conditions such as asbestosis where long term asbestos exposure causes severe respiratory disease became known in the early 1900s with the first official asbestosis death noted in medical journals in 1924. Mine owners and other business users of asbestos did all they could to suppress knowledge of the danger of asbestos. The horrible condition of Mesothelioma which is a deadly and painful cancer of the lining of the lungs was discovered in the 1920s but not linked to asbestos until the 1940s. Mesothelioma can only be caused by asbestos exposure. By the 1970s awareness and fear of asbestos related diseases led to asbestos use being regulated and phased out. There were strikes in the mines due to safety concerns. Lawsuits began which eventually put most mines out of operation and most asbestos product manufacturers into bankruptcy. Asbestos mining is now a very small industry in Canada but asbestos mining continues to get strong support from the Quebec Government in its attempts to support the asbestos mining industry.

Canada continued asbestos mining and export even though asbestos use is banned in Canada and most developed countries. Canadian asbestos is now killing people all over the world with until recently support for the asbestos mining industry from both the Federal and Quebec Governments despite growing opposition to it by Canadians. The Government of Canada has helped prevent a world ban on asbestos and it’s support for the Canadian asbestos industry is a major political issue today. Please view Operation Maple’s video regarding Canada exporting asbestos featuring an interview with Murray Miskin: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uEgwgfVmv7g

In the 2012 Quebec election the pro-asbestos mining Government of Jean Charest was defeated and the minority Parti Quebecois Government immediately cancelled loans that were intended to assist the reopening of the Jeffrey Mine in the Town of Asbestos, Quebec.  The Harper Government saw the writing on the wall and immediately stopped its own support for the asbestos industry.  In the April 7, 2014 Quebec election campaign asbestos has not been an issue.  For more information on this please visit our website Asbestos Facts Canada

More and more Canadians are finding they have Mesothelioma or other serious cancers and other conditions (asbestosis, pleural plaques) caused by exposure to asbestos and asbestos use which may have been many years ago. The Miskin law firm represents Canadian asbestos victims and their families in getting compensation for Asbestosis, Mesothelioma and other diseases. We work to promote awareness of the dangers of asbestos exposure. There is compensation for some people for asbestosis and mesothelioma through Workers Compensation, and we bring claims to asbestos trusts set up to pay claims for asbestos victims from the assets of the asbestos product companies. The greatest compensation is for victims of mesothelioma. Miskin law offices are the leading mesothelioma lawyers in Canada. Call our office or Email miskinlaw@yahoo.com if you or a family member believe you have a claim.

We now have a new informational website where we provide more asbestos facts related to Canada along with links to many asbestos and mesothelioma related resources and organizations. It is www.asbestosfacts.ca

We encourage you to learn more and join the battle to protect Canadians from asbestos and to protect the world from Canadian asbestos exports.

Asbestos, Quebec, Canada

Share on Tumblr

Waiting for Vioxx – Claims Settled but not Paid

Vioxx Advertisement

Vioxx Claims – We have not fallen off the earth

Vioxx victims continue to ask why is the settlement taking so long.  9 1/2 years ago on September 30, 2004 Merck’s anti-inflammatory drug Vioxx was recalled from the market based on evidence of increased risk of heart attack and stroke among users.  We are now in the 10th year since the Vioxx recall and while the Canadian Vioxx class action claim has settled, nobody has yet been paid from the settlement.  This is a March update for 2014 on the status of Vioxx claims and the settlement in Canada.

When Vioxx was recalled many thousands of law suits began around the world related to its use.  In the United States individual injury claims, many of which began before the recall, proceeded and before long there were several trials with mixed results including some very large jury judgements against Merck.  It is difficult to prove in an individual case that Vioxx caused a person to have a cardiac event especially when a person has other risk factors.  There are many other risk factors and as a result some juries did not accept Vioxx as the cause in some of the cases.  Thousands more cases were ready or almost ready for trial when a settlement was negotiated in 2007.  Vioxx users who suffered heart attack, sudden cardiac death or stroke were compensated from a $4.5 Billion fund. Unfortunately “foreigners” including Canadians were not allowed to share in the US settlement as a term of the settlement agreement. This was unfortunate for some of our clients who had cases pending in the New Jersey Court.  The New Jersey court had already ruled that British claimants could not proceed in the US Court and it was expected that Canadians would soon be sent back to proceed with claims in Canada.

The very generous and early US settlement created high hopes around the world for settlement which are mostly gone by now.  Nowhere else in the world has there been a settlement except for Canada.  In Canada claims proceed through a class action process where there was infighting among lawyers for control of the proceedings.  This was followed by continuous appeals by Merck of the certification of the class action.  After the final appeals were dismissed the class action proceeded to a lengthy and very detailed document production process. Meanwhile negotiations for settlement proceeded secretly.  There was finally an agreed settlement for Canada reached in January 2012 with about $25 Million available for Canadian victims.  This works out to much less per average victim than the US settlement but Canadians are doing better than any other victims outside of the US.  The settlement went through an approval process in the Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan courts for the Canadian Class Actions which then had to be ratified in every Province which took quite some time.  The approved settlement was then advertised and claims were allowed to be submitted from April 2013 up until August 19, 2013.  There are approximately 1,200 individual claimants who have filed with basically the same qualifying requirements as the US settlement.  The settlement includes victims of heart attack, sudden cardiac death and stroke. Because of weaker scientific evidence on causation stroke victims are eligible for a maximum of only $5,000 total compensation and their family members are not allowed to claim.  Family members of heart attack and sudden cardiac death victims are allowed to get some compensation and that has created about 1500 additional “derivative” claims.  Spouses and children are each allowed to receive a small percentage of what is awarded to a primary claimant.  Our firm, from over 350 total client files found only 110 primary claimants who we believe may qualify under the settlement and we submitted claims for them and where applicable their family members.   The claims are being assessed and eventually after all claims have been fully assessed and all appeals are over we will know how much any of the claims will be paid.  It is expected that some claims will be rejected and there could be appeals of rejected claims.

No further claims could be brought after the August 2013 deadline.  There are strict requirements for documentation and it has been anticipated that a great number of claims would receive deficiency notices.  Those notices could relate to minor items such as identification and signatures. They also could be related to adequacy of pharmacy or other records proving Vioxx use or to sufficiency of medical records with the patient’s history or the actual event that is to be compensated.  Since the deadline for claim filing the Miskin Law Office has continued to obtain medical and prescription records where we know the full requirements for claim documentation was not available by the deadline.  Where documentation is not available we have been preparing affidavits to confirm information.  We have been anticipating deficiency notices on some claims knowing that they must be answered within 30 days.

The claims administrator was ready to send out about 225 deficiency notices by late November, but there was concern due to the upcoming Christmas season, that it would be difficult to get responses all in within the 30 day time limit.  As well there have been discussions between Merck and representatives of the class action ongoing on how to simplify the assessment of claims which could allow minor technical deficiencies or a lower standard of document requirements to reduce the number of deficiencies.  As a result no deficiency notices were sent out until January 2014.  It is believed this will reduce the total number of deficiencies by about half and simplify the process for completing claim assessment.  In early 2014 we did receive a small number of deficiency notices for the some of the claims we filed.  We have responded to those and a larger second batch within a 30 day time limit.  We are now working on a third batch of deficiency notices and have sent letters to over 20 clients requesting that new forms be signed and returned promptly as required.

Eventually once deficiencies are answered the claim assessments will be completed using a point system where each claim that is allowed will be awarded a certain number of points.  Each claim once assessed will have a right of appeal where people can object to denied claims or request a higher point calculation.  Once all the appeals are complete and the total of all points is known the value of each point can be determined.  Then we will know how much each individual claim will be paid and payments will finally begin.

We have been down a long road with Vioxx claims for the past decade and the claims assessment process is far from complete.  We are hopeful that some claims will be paid in late 2014 but we can safely say they will not be paid at least until then.  Continued patience is needed.

Share on Tumblr

Celebrex and Bextra Settlement Update

Bextra is off the market

Celebrex is still sold with warnings

Celebrex, Vioxx and Bextra were similar class popular anti inflammatory prescription drugs until late in 2004. Vioxx was recalled 9 1/2 years ago with the Bextra recall soon after. The prescription drug Celebrex is still sold and used by people today but with strong risk warnings.

Class action claims related to all three of these prescription drugs have settled. The deadline for submitting claims for settlement of the class action in Canada for Pfizer’s drugs Celebrex and Bextra was December 22, 2012. We are acting for some claimants for Celebrexa and Bextra, although most of our clients with similar claims relate to the drug Vioxx manufactured by Merck.  All 3 of these drugs are Cox-2 inhibitors which are a specific form of non steroidal anti inflammatory drug which is believed to have the effect of increasing the risk of users to have heart attacks or strokes.

We have submitted claims on behalf of our Bextra and Celebrex clients.  We now understand that there have been about 200 claims in total which is a surprisingly low number especially considering the widespread popular use of Celebrex.  Bextra was a new drug introduced shortly before the Vioxx recall and there were not very many people taking it. We understand that some claims including those submitted several months ago are still being “assessed” and that no claims have been paid to date. Since the deadline has passed for further claims we have received some claim assessments for our clients and for some we have had to send in additional material. The assessments we have so far on Bextra look good and those clients are pleased.

For the Vioxx claims we now have finalization of the settlement approval which allowed claims to be filed until August 2013. There are an estimated 1200 Vioxx claims that are to be submitted with our firm representing a substantial number of the people with Vioxx claims.  The Vioxx recall received considerable publicity with many Vioxx users being switched to Celebrex after. The Vioxx claims was fought hard by Merck and had a much higher profile than the case related to Celebrex and Bextra.  Pfizer has been far more co-operative in dealing with claims and a settlement in Canada was reached about a year earlier with more generous terms to the settlement.

The current Bextra Celebrex status of slow processing of claims is a definite indicator that it may be some time before Vioxx claims are actually paid.  We are now thinking we will not see any payments on Vioxx until at least late 2014.  We are optimistic that some Bextra and Celebrex claims will be paid soon but no payments will be made until all are fully assessed with any appeals completed.  Payment of Vioxx claims will not take place until all of the claims have been assessed.  Payment is then made “pro-rata” based on a division of the total funds available for the settlement.  Fortunately it is expected that there will be interim payments on Vioxx which there are not on Bextra and Celebrex.

Share on Tumblr

Mesothelioma, Lung Cancer and Asbestos

Respiratory Difficulty Caused

Asbestos fibres enter the lungs and do not leave

Many Canadians are still regularly exposed to asbestos where they work, visit go to school or live. Asbestos exposure can cause deadly lung cancer and diseases such as mesothelioma when the asbestos fibres are inhaled.  The indestructible fibres cause respiratory difficulty, but over time can lead to deadly diseases such as Mesothelioma.  Severe illness can develop many years after asbestos exposure. Claims are made and compensation is mainly paid by asbestos trusts to people whose asbestos exposure was 20 or more years ago when there were less safeguards in the use and removal of asbestos.  Compensation for those who suffer and the families of those who have died from mesothelioma, lung cancer and other serious asbestos related diseases  is available to Canadians.  If you are in Canada, you do not need to hire a US lawyer to make a claim. You can be better served by a lawyer in Canada who can better understand your situation, Canadian Workers Compensation laws, Canadian sources of asbestos exposure and our very different health care system. Miskin Law Offices is one of very few Canadian law firms that is registered with the US asbestos trusts and handles asbestos compensation claims. We have been working in asbestos claims for almost a decade. We look at a person’s entire work history for clues about the source of asbestos exposure.  When exposure is not from work we consider alternative ways that a person may have been exposed to asbestos.  For the Miskin Law firm asbestos injury claims from across Canada are our main area of law practice.

Miskin Law Offices are based in Ontario, but we represent clients from all across Canada, in all Provinces and Territories, in making claims to American asbestos trusts.  This is not a lawsuit and you do not go to court to get compensation. They are essentially applications for asbestos compensation to funds set up when almost makers of asbestos products were put into bankruptcy by the many claims made against them based on harm caused by their products. Applications for our clients are made to many asbestos trusts and our clients get compensation from multiple sources.  The asbestos trusts are based in the United States and we work as needed with American lawyers to advance our cases with a contingency fee split between our firm and the US law firm so our clients pay no more for having both Canadian and American representation.  We are working with UK lawyers to get compensation from insurers and others where exposure was in the UK.  The American asbestos trusts do not pay people whose only exposure was in the UK or countries other than the USA or Canada.  Our clients do not pay more to have Canadian representation and applicable  GST/HST is included in the contingency fee. Many people exposed to asbestos in their workplace are eligible for Workers Compensation benefits and often have a CHOICE on whether to claim Workers Compensation or apply to the asbestos trusts. It is important to get specific legal advice BEFORE applying for Workers Compensation. Which Workers Compensation Board a person applies to is based on the Province where work with asbestos was done which is not necessarily the Province where a person lives.  In Alberta workers are required to apply for Alberta Workers Compensation benefits and if found eligible may not apply to the asbestos trusts. In some cases, particularly with younger victims it may be preferable to apply for Workers Compensation and with victims past retirement age, it is generally better to apply to the asbestos trusts. Individual advice should still be sought in all cases.

It has been known for many years that asbestos exposure is dangerous to health of people especially when fibers are inhaled and get into the lungs. Asbestos can stay in the lungs for many years without a person knowing it is there. There are serious long term consequences of asbestos exposure.  The asbestos diseases include asbestosis, certain forms of lung cancer and the condition of mesothelioma.  Mesothelioma is a cancer of the lining (known as the mesothelium) of the lungs or another organ. It is generally considered a form of lung cancer but it is not always associated with the lungs.  Mesothelioma can develop 20-50 years after even just a little exposure to asbestos.  Mesothelioma was thought to be a very rare condition but it is appearing more commonly because it takes a long time to develop and it was not always diagnosed properly in the past. Mesothelioma can only be caused by asbestos and maximum asbestos compensation is available for this horrific and generally fatal disease. For more information on Asbestos visit our website: asbestosfacts.ca

The very serious diseases from asbestos affect people who have worked with asbestos, had loose fibres in their workplace (sometimes from or after asbestos removal) and people who have been exposed by their family members who may have come home from a hard day of work with asbestos on their bodies or their clothes.

If a loved one has developed one of these conditions in Canada, the UK or the USA and is seriously ill or has died due to asbestos exposure it can be proven with medical records and compensation will follow.  Doctors can confirm causation by asbestos when the diagnosis is made. A biopsy for lung cancer victims is most effective. Asbestos compensation is available for Canadians from a number of U.S. trusts set up for that purpose.  To maximize compensation Miskin law offices needs to know the source of exposure to asbestos for us to determine which manufacturers were involved and where claims may be placed. If a person has died from asbestos illness a number of years ago the available claims are limited by the delay in proceeding. Some of the asbestos trusts have longer time limits so it is worth checking if there is a positive diagnosis even if the death was long ago. We will investigate possible claims for no cost or obligation and if at the end of our investigation we can not help you there is no charge.

Our law offices do not handle claims related to removal of asbestos from homes or other properties nor do we sue employers for asbestos exposure or illness. We also do not take on cases involving fear of possible asbestos illness. Miskin law offices only handles cases involving people who have serious asbestos illness.

 

Share on Tumblr

Wills are necessary. Arrange a Meeting Now

Plan and Prepare for your Estate

You need a Will prepared by a Lawyer

 

 

The Miskin Law Office prepares Wills and Powers of Attorney for individuals in Ontario, Canada. If you live in another jurisdiction your Will should be prepared by a lawyer in that jurisdiction. We draft the Will after a first personal meeting with a lawyer and the client to assess a client’s situation and needs in order to best meet the individual requirements and wishes of the client.  The purpose is to simplify future estate issues to ensure a smooth transition of assets which will reduce the need for future legal services and also plan for reducing taxes payable after death.  We encourage clients to prepare wills that do not lead to family disputes which can ruin relationships and cost a lot of money.  Where there already is an estate dispute we work with clients to resolve the issues sensibly and avoid costly court proceedings.  If there is a dispute mediation is a big part of our services and Murray Miskin conducts mediations and also represent clients in Estate Mediation. Murray Miskin also acts as arbitrator in estate disputes. Estate litigation can be very costly and time consuming and we usually refer complex or unresolvable disputes to lawyers who specialize in such litigation. The best thing is to avoid disputes with properly prepared legal documents. A Will is a document that you can sign with your binding instructions as to who will receive your assets after your death. It names an Estate Trustee (formerly known as Executor) whose responsibility after your death is to manage the estate in accordance with your wishes. You may also propose guardians for your underage children and indicate preferred funeral arrangements in your will. We often prepare specialized wills for people who have children with disabilities or special needs. Until your death the will may be revoked or changed so long as you are mentally competent. Minor changes can be done by Codicils which cost less than a new will. Wills should be redone immediately on a marriage break up. If you do not have a valid will the law determines what happens to your estate without consideration of your preferences.  This may be fine for many families where there are no common law relationships.  If you are living common law or there are children of prior relationships involved it would be wise to obtain legal advice immediately. A Power of Attorney for property is a document you can sign which gives power only in your lifetime over your assets to another person whom you may designate. That authority may be set up to be effective any time or only if you become incapacitated. It may be restricted to dealing with or not dealing with certain matters. You may have more than one person designated so both or either may sign for you. You may name alternates and specify whether the attorney has a right to be paid for what they do. It does not take away your own rights to sign on your own behalf.   A Power of Attorney is a critical document to have should you ever become totally incapacitated or suffer a loss of mental competence.  A Power of Attorney expires on your death.

You may also sign a separate  Power of Attorney for Personal Care where you authorize another person  (again with an alternate) to make health care choices for you when you are unable to do so yourself. This is sometimes called a Living Will. In it you may state your preferences on treatment issues and life support questions.  Many people who want these documents prepared have strong opinions on the possible choices their doctors and family members will have should they become sick to the point where they may have no hope of recovery and may become a burden on others.  Some people do not want their next of kin to decide what to do but instead they may have  a close friend they wish to involve in decisions.  You may also name a doctor or type of doctor you wish to have assess you and give advice when critical decisions must be made.

We strongly emphasize the need to use a lawyer to prepare any of the above document to ensure it is valid and does what you want it to do.  Cheap Will kits are available but pose a serious danger, in that, what you prepare will be invalid unless properly done following strict legal requirements.   For the money you save doing it by yourself it is not worth the risk.  In preparing these documents we always have a lawyer meet with you for as long as necessary to advise you and take careful instructions to make sure the document prepared is what you want it to be. We generally bill and expect full or partial payment by cash or cheque at the first meeting.  It is important to have a fully qualified and experienced lawyer discuss your intentions with you to ensure that the will is done properly.  We do not believe it is sufficient to give instructions to a member of the lawyer’s staff in a meeting or by phone.  It is important that the lawyer assess capacity issues at a meeting to prevent future disputes of wills. This is particularly true for people who are elderly, have mental health issues or wish to make unusual bequests. We sometimes require clients to get a doctor’s note or an assessment on capacity ahead of signing a will. At a later meeting the documents are signed in accordance with Ontario legal requirements with the lawyer present to oversee, explain the document and discuss any last minute changes.  In cases of complicated wills with unusual provisions or special requirements due to personal circumstances we may charge extra and we will let you know and decide how to proceed at our no cost or obligation meeting in advance of actual will preparation.

Our usual fees (including basic planning for the estate and including disbursements) are set out below with 13% HST added to any fee: Wills: one will $300, a pair for $500
Codicils (Will Changes): fee for one is $125, $200 for a pair
Power of Attorney: one document of each type is $150, a pair of each type are $250

The above fees are discounted when multiple documents are prepared.  Beginning in January 2014 we have a Will special where we prepare a Will and one Power of Attorney for $300 or $500 for a couple.  This special may be ended at any time. Clients pay the fee on a first meeting to discuss wills and then the documents are reviewed and signed on a second visit.  We usually store the original signed Will and give clients 2 copies. For Powers of Attorney we usually make 3 originals and the client keeps 2 and we hold the 3rd. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO GET YOUR WILL DONE SOON. NOBODY KNOWS WHEN THEIR WILL IS GOING TO BE NEEDED OR WHEN THEY MAY LOSE CAPACITY TO SIGN A WILL OR POWER OF ATTORNEY.

Some clients require personalized estate planning for their special situations. We may recommend that you establish a Trust to deal with your situation.  We may refer you to accountants or other experts to help with planning. This will cost extra but probably save later costs in taxes paid by the estate and provide more structured plans for your family and future generations to preserve wealth.  We can assist you with up to date information about recent changes in tax structures.  Please call and make an appointment for Estate Planning.  The first meeting is free and with no obligation.Plan carefully for the next generation.

Share on Tumblr

Yaz and Yasmin Claims Class Action Certified

Lawsuits Against Bayer

Bayer’s Birth Control Products

 

 

Many individual law suits in the USA,  and Canadian Class Action lawsuits are in progress over the side effects of the two similar birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin. In Canada there are class action proceedings with the main one in Ontario now certified and allowed by the court to proceed.  Miskin Law Office is making claims for Canadians in the class action.  Claimants  have a choice to make soon on whether to be part of the class action and bound by ANY settlement of it or to proceed with an individual claim.  We are now advising our clients of their rights and considerations for that decision.  Here is some information on the nature of the claim against Bayer:

Serious side effects of Yaz and Yasmin include deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and very commonly loss of the gallbladder.   Those cases were being fought by the manufacturer Bayer in different US districts where they are co-ordinated in Multi District Litigation (MDLs). The courts in Illinois and Pennsylvania ordered  mediation to take place before cases were to go to trial in early 2012. In the mediation process Bayer agreed in early March 2012 to a settlement in 70  lawsuits.  This has progressed so that most cases are now settled.  There are now about 7,000 settlements of the most serious cases involving deep vein thrombosis or pulmonary embolism in the USA in the range of $200,000 each for a total of about $1.5 Billion.  In the US there are still over 5,000 addition claims involving venous or arterial thromboembolism injury. Gallbladder cases have settled for much less.  Gallbladder cases in the US are settled at $2,000 dollars for gall bladder injury and $3,000 where the gall bladder is removed.  In Canada there is no settlement for any claims yet but settlements when they happen are generally much lower than they are in the US and so expectations on all cases should be lower.   We are hopeful that some progress will be made towards resolving claims in Canada now that there is certification of the Canadian Yaz and Yasmin Class Action lawsuit.  We are hoping they will settle gallbladder cases as well as deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism cases as part of the likely future class action settlement. The greatest number of claims relate to gallbladder where nominal settlements if any should be expected in Canada.   The pills continue to be sold and to be very profitable for Bayer.  A recommendation to recall the drug was narrowly defeated by an advisory committee to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).  Bayer has changed its advertisements and product warnings since then so that it would be difficult to make a claim in a new case.  THE CANADIAN CLASS ACTION BASED IN ONTARIO HAS BEEN LIMITED TO CLAIMS FOR INCIDENTS UP TO NOVEMBER 30, 2011 SO IF YOU HAVE A PROBLEM THAT CAME UP AFTER THAT DATE IT IS NOT INCLUDED IN THE CLASS ACTION AND IT WOULD BE GOOD TO CONTACT A LAWYER IN YOUR OWN PROVINCE IMMEDIATELY TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS BY ISSUING A CLAIM. PERSONS COVERED BY THE CLASS ACTION MAY DO NOTHING AND REMAIN IN IT OR CHOOSE TO OPT OUT AND PURSUE AN INDIVIDUAL CLAIM.

Yaz or Yasmin can cause dehydration which causes an increase in the potassium levels (hyperkalemia) and a decrease in the sodium levels (hyponatremia) in the body.  As potassium acts as a key control in cardiac rhythm, this imbalance can cause hyperkalemia arrhythmias, which, in turn can cause blood clots and thrombotic events such as stroke or deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism, or heart attack. Dehydration is also a risk factor for kidney stones and gallbladder disease. While other birth control pills can also cause deep vein thrombosis and other thrombotic events, the cause of those effects are from the estrogen side of the equation. The thrombotic effects of Yaz and Yasmin are from the progesterin side. While it has long been accepted that high estrogen levels can cause these adverse events, the birth control pills Yaz, Yasmin and Ocella have been marketed as having low estrogen levels, thereby having a lower risk for thrombotic events. There have been several studies that have called this into question.
The Miskin Law firm is making claims related to these birth control drugs and working with the class action court proceedings that have been started in Ontario Canada. These proceedings take a long time to advance and they stop individual law suits from proceeding for now. An application for certification of the class action was heard in the Ontario court in late January 2013 before Justice D.S. Crane.  A decision was made  on April 15, 2013 to certify the class action.  The judge released reasons for decision where he rejected arguments against certifying the class action.  He expressed concern over the proposed timetable for proceedings and there will be further discussion before a formal certification order is actually given.  The decision has been delayed in implementation as it was appealed by Bayer who on September 5, 2013 lost in court in its attempt for leave to appeal.  The appeal now can not proceed and there will not be a long delay.  It is expected that a formal court order of certification of the class action will issue soon with more details.  Until then we are working to document our clients’ claims and we are being retained by new clients.  We represent people to get them compensation both individually and through the class action process. Once there is certification by the court of the class action people will have a choice of claiming through it or trying to get more with special circumstances in an individual claim and we have written to our clients to explain the option to each of our clients. If you do not yet have a lawyer, contact us if you believe you have been harmed by Yaz or Yasmin birth control pills. Most importantly keep all evidence of prescriptions including receipts, pill bottles and summaries that your pharmacist can provide. If you think you have a claim email Murray Miskin directly: miskinlaw@yahoo.com

Share on Tumblr

Liver Damage is Caused by Excessive Tylenol Use

Liver Failure Tylenol

Tylenol puts a strain on the liver. If you have been diagnosed with liver damage related to use of Tylenol or other Acetaminophen products contact  Murray Miskin at Miskin Law Office 877-428-8000. We are investigating Canadian cases and possible claims for damages.

In the United States claims against the manufacturer of Tylenol and other acetaminophen manufacturers are proceeding through Multi District Litigation co-ordinated by the Eastern District Court in Pennsylvania.  Tylenol is the most popular analgesic (pain killer) on the market. Serious damage claims related to liver damage and liver failure are proceeding in the USA, but not yet in Canada.  In both countries the manufacturer of Tylenol is Johnson and Johnson through its subsidiary McNeil Consumer Healthcare.   The Miskin Law Firm is investigating the Canadian situation with a view to proceeding with liver damage claims on behalf of Canadians. A Canadian claim related to acetaminophen would almost certainly have to proceed by way of class action.

The maximum recommended does of Tylenol is 4,000 mg. per day which equals 8 tablets of the extra strength product (500 mg.) commonly used by adults with 2 pills at a time.  Many people exceed this maximum as the warnings are not strong enough for the product given the danger and many other medicinal products contain acetaminophen and add to what is consumed directly with Tylenol.  There are over 600 additional products on the market containing acetaminophen.  The US Food and Drug Administration has, through a committee, recommended that Tylenol not be sold in pills larger than 325 mg. and that the maximum dosage should be 2,600 mg. per day.  The  Tylenol liver damage lawsuits claim that J&J went on with the marketing of Tylenol to consumers “without disclosing these side effects when there were safer alternative methods for pain relief.”

On August 30, 2013 it was announced by McNeil that in the USA (and not in Canada) noticeable warnings would be placed on the bottle cap that Tylenol contains Acetaminophen and that people should read the label carefully.  They accept now that because many other products contain Acetaminophen people should be alerted to the potential danger of Acetaminophen overdose. Although there are almost as many other products with Acetaminophen in Canada they do not feel a similar warning is needed in Canada.  This may change once Tylenol overdose law suits become common in Canada.

Additional to Tylenol many medications and non medical drugs and alcohol are broken down in the liver and that puts a strain on the liver.  The ideal claimants that we are looking for at this time are individuals who suffer liver damage who have used Tylenol within the current recommended dosages but without also consuming excessive quantities  of other drugs or alcohol.  Please call our office 1-877-428-8000 or email details of your situation, if relevant to Murray Miskin at: miskinlaw@yahoo.com

 

Share on Tumblr

STATUS OF CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT FOR VIOXX

Merck's Super Aspirin

9 Years after the recall of the drug Vioxx some of the Canadian victims will be compensated by a class action settlement.

 

THE VIOXX CLASS ACTION SETTLEMENT FOR CANADA IS BEING IMPLEMENTED. FILING CLAIMS OPENED APRIL 20, 2013 AND CLOSED AUGUST 19, 2013. CLAIMS ARE NOW BEING ASSESSED BY THE CLAIMS ADMINISTRATOR.  THIS POST DETAILS HOW THE SETTLEMENT PROCESS PROCEEDED.  FOR UP TO DATE INFORMATION ON THE STATUS OF CLAIM NOW PLEASE READ OUR NEW POST ON THE TOPIC.

THE COURTS OF ALL PROVINCES APPROVED THE VIOXX SETTLEMENT FOR ENFORCEMENT AND NOTICE WAS PUBLISHED  THAT WE WOULD BE ABLE TO SUBMIT CLAIMS TO THE CLAIMS ADMINISTRATOR FROM SATURDAY APRIL 20 TO MONDAY AUGUST 19, 2013.  NOTICE WAS PUBLISHED IN MAJOR NEWSPAPERS ACROSS CANADA ON SATURDAY APRIL 20TH. THIS FOLLOWED THE MAIN SETTLEMENT APPROVALS WHICH TOOK PLACE IN 2012.  DETAILS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

In the summer of 2012 a settlement of Vioxx injury claims in Canada was presented for approval to courts in Ontario, Saskatchewan and then Quebec.  The courts were asked by lawyers for Merck and lawyers for the class action to approve a settlement that was negotiated in 2011 and announced in January 2012. For background information, settlement details and events leading up to settlement approval please read our earlier posts.

The courts were asked to either accept or reject the negotiated agreement and also approve the fees and expenses to be paid from the settlement to the consortium of law firms across Canada who were involved in the class action proceedings.  There was no jurisdiction to change the terms of settlement.  In a decision released September 18, 2012 Madam Justice Leitch of Ontario’s Superior Court of Justice approved the settlement and approved the fees, taxes and disbursements of the class action lawyers.  A similar approval decision was issued by Justice Marcotte of the Quebec Superior Court on October 4, 2012. Justice Currie of the Saskatchewan Court of the Queens Bench also gave approval but without issuing reasons on July 25, 2012.

The settlement as approved provides for the following payments to be made by the drug manufacturer Merck:

1.  $3,500,000 to be paid to Canada’s provincial health insurers to reimburse medical expenses of Vioxx victims.

2.  $1,000,000 to be paid for the cost of notices and claims administration.

3.  $6,000,000 to be paid to the class action lawyers allocated as approximately $4,500,000 for legal fees, $1,000,000 for expenses and $500,000 for GST and provincial taxes applicable to the legal fees.  This does not include any money for the lawyers representing individual claimants who will be paid from the money available to pay actual claims of Vioxx victims.

4.  $22,612,500 to be paid to Vioxx victims who are eligible for payment under the settlement.  That amount will be increased if there are over 1,500 such people to a maximum of $26,381,250. Most claimants will pay their own lawyers a percentage of their recovery for legal fees, taxes and expenses none of which are provided for in the settlement.

To be eligible for payment under the settlement a person must pass both the “usage gate” and the “event gate”.  The usage gate requires a certain amount of Vioxx to be consumed in the time immediately before the event.  The event gate requires a person claiming to have had a heart attack, sudden cardiac death or an ischemic stroke.  Stroke victims will be given $5,000 compensation regardless of the severity of the stroke or its lasting effects.  It is estimated for those with heart attack or sudden cardiac death, that after deductions for various risk factors (other than Vioxx use) and after legal costs the average person will receive $15,000 to $25,000 compensation.  That means some will receive more  and some will receive less.  The maximum in the best case would be about $100,000 before legal fees.  There is also payment to spouses and children (including adult children) of victims which is additional money up to 20% of what is paid to the principal claimant.  In every case certain medical and pharmacy records are required to prove use, show other risk factors and prove that there is a qualifying event.  The cost of obtaining records is an expense that is to be paid from the compensation received. As well most claimants will pay from the compensation legal fees averaging one third of the compensation paid.  They will also pay provincial and federal tax (PST, HST, GST) on the legal fees.  There is no income tax payable on the net compensation that victims and their families will actually receive.

The compensation being paid to Vioxx victims is clearly quite low in relation to the seriousness of having had a heart attack, stroke or sudden cardiac death.  The court considered that these events are common in Canada among persons who have not used Vioxx and that use of Vioxx is not necessarily the cause of the event.  They considered expert medical opinion on Vioxx’s role in causation noting that the connection to stroke is not as clearly proven as the connection to heart attack.  They accepted that persons with other conditions not covered by the settlement were a minority in the class and that it was reasonable and in the best interests of the class as a whole to accept a settlement that did not compensate them. The courts considered the continuing denial by Merck of any liability and the risk of the case not succeeding if the settlement was not approved.  They did consider the negative result in the Australian court and the fact that cases tried in the US had mixed results.  It was noted that even if the case proceeded to trial successfully payment of claims could be delayed by appeals. The court decided that the settlement is in the best interests of the class members as a whole.

The approval decisions had to be confirmed for enforcement purposes in the courts of all other Provinces.  This had to be completed before any claims for Vioxx victims can be submitted for processing to the class action administrator.  The Miskin law office has completed submitting Vioxx claims for processing and payment.  We have been in contact with the class action administrators who have received claims for compensation and are now processing them.   We sent claim forms to clients to sign and also have signed by family members who are eligible for compensation.  Family members do not get compensation in stroke cases.   After assessment of all claims, notices will be sent out by the claims administrator for every claim filed and payment of Canadian Vioxx claims will finally begin.  This may take many more months.

We will be contacting our clients for further information as may be needed by the claims administrator to assess their claim and also we will let clients know as soon as we have word of assessment of their claim.  The time from assessment to payment of claims may again be lengthy.

Share on Tumblr

Power of Attorney or Will: Be sure to Meet Legal Requirements

gavel on will

It is important to plan well for your Will and get personalized legal and sometimes accounting advice first.

Wills, Power of Attorney and estate planning are matters to be taken very seriously.  The Miskin Law Office prepares Wills and Power of Attorney for individuals in Ontario, Canada. This is done after a first meeting with a lawyer and the client to assess a client’s situation and needs in order to prepare the best document to meet the individual requirements and decision making wishes of the client.  The purpose is to use estate planning to simplify future estate issues to ensure a smooth transition of assets which will reduce the need for future legal services and also plan for reducing taxes payable after death.  We encourage clients to prepare wills that do not lead to family disputes which can ruin relationships and cost a lot of money.  Where there already is an estate dispute we work with clients to resolve the issues sensibly and avoid costly court proceedings.  If there is a dispute mediation is a big part of our law firm’s range of services and we represent clients in Estate Mediation. Murray Miskin also acts as mediator in estate disputes. Estate litigation can be very costly and time consuming and we usually refer complex or unresolvable disputes to lawyers who specialize in such litigation. We are willing to mediate these disputes but we will no longer act for a party litigating these disputes. The best thing is to avoid disputes with estate planning and properly prepared legal documents. A Will is a document that you can sign with your binding instructions as to who will receive your assets after your death. It names an Estate Trustee (formerly known as Executor) whose responsibility after your death is to manage the estate in accordance with your wishes. You may also propose guardians for your underage children and indicate preferred funeral arrangements in your will. We often prepare specialized wills for people who have children with disabilities or special needs. Until your death the will may be revoked or changed so long as you are mentally competent. Minor changes can be done by Codicils which cost less than a new will. Wills should be redone immediately on a marriage break up. If you do not have a valid will the legal requirements of the law determine what happens to your estate without consideration of your preferences.  This may be fine for many families where there are no second marriages, common law relationships, specific bequests or unusual preferences to be considered.  If you are living common law or there are children of prior relationships involved it would be wise to obtain legal advice immediately.

A Power of Attorney for property is a document you can sign which gives power only in your lifetime over your assets to another person whom you may designate. That authority may be set up to be effective any time or only if you become incapacitated. It may be restricted to dealing with or not dealing with certain matters. You may have more than one person designated so both or either may sign for you. You may name alternates and specify whether the attorney has a right to be paid for what they do. It does not take away your own rights to sign on your own behalf.   A Power of Attorney for Property which our office refers to as POA,  is a critical document to have should you ever become totally incapacitated or suffer a loss of mental competence.  A Power of Attorney expires on your death.

You may also sign a separate  Power of Attorney for Personal Care where you authorize another person  (again with an alternate) to make health care choices for you when you are unable to do so yourself. This is sometimes called a Living Will. In it you may state your preferences on treatment issues and life support questions.  Many people who want these documents prepared have strong opinions on the possible choices their doctors and family members will have should they become sick to the point where they may have no hope of recovery and may become a burden on others.  Some people do not want their next of kin to decide what to do but instead they may have  a close friend or other relative they wish to involve in decisions.  You may also name a doctor or type of doctor you wish to have assess you and give advice when critical decisions must be made.

We strongly emphasize the need to use a lawyer to prepare any of the above documents to ensure it is valid and does what you want it to do.  Cheap Will and Power Attorney kits are available but pose a serious danger, in that, what you prepare will be invalid unless properly done following strict legal requirements.   For the money you save doing it by yourself it is not worth the risk.  In preparing these documents we always have a lawyer meet with you for as long as necessary to advise you and take careful instructions to make sure the document prepared is what you want it to be. We generally bill and expect full or partial payment by cash or cheque at the first meeting.  It is important to have a fully qualified and experienced lawyer discuss your intentions with you to ensure that the will is done properly.  We do not believe it is sufficient to give instructions to a member of the lawyer’s staff in a meeting, by letter or email, or by phone.  It is important that the lawyer use their judgment to assess capacity issues at a meeting to prevent future disputes of wills. We sometimes require clients to get a doctor’s note on capacity ahead of signing a will. At a later meeting the documents are signed in accordance with Ontario legal requirements with the lawyer present to oversee, explain the document and discuss any last minute changes.  In cases of complicated wills with unusual provisions or special requirements due to personal circumstances we may charge extra and we will let you know and decide how to proceed at our no cost or obligation meeting in advance of actual will preparation.

Our usual fees (including basic planning for the estate and including disbursements) are set out below with 13% HST added to any fee: Wills: one will $300, a pair for $500
Codicils (Will Changes): fee for one is $125, $200 for a pair
Power of Attorney (POA): one document of each type is $200, a pair of each type are $300.  These fees are USUALLY discounted when multiple documents are prepared.  Typically you will save $50 or more per person by preparing a Will with a Power of Attorney or both types of Power of Attorney. Call for exact price details for your situation. Documents requiring unusual clauses and extra planning may cost more as well.

WHERE NECESSARY WE WILL TRAVEL OUTSIDE OF OUR OFFICES AND IN THOSE INSTANCES OUR USUAL HOURLY RATES FOR EXTRA TIME AND ANY MAJOR DISBURSEMENTS WILL APPLY TO CLIENT ACCOUNTS.

The above fees are discounted when multiple documents are prepared.  Clients pay the fee on a first meeting to discuss wills and then the documents are reviewed and signed on a second visit.  We usually  store the original signed Will and give clients 2 copies. For Powers of Attorney we usually make 3 originals and the client keeps 2 and we hold the 3rd. We keep original documents in our heavy fire proof filing cabinet at our office until they are needed or signed out by the client.  WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO GET YOUR WILL DONE SOON. NOBODY KNOWS WHEN THEIR WILL IS GOING TO BE NEEDED OR WHEN THEY MAY LOSE CAPACITY TO SIGN A WILL OR POWER OF ATTORNEY.

Some clients require personalized estate planning for their special situations. In some situations it is advisable to have more than one Will.   We may refer you to accountants or other experts to help with planning. This will cost you a extra to engage such professionals but probably save later costs in taxes paid by the estate and provide more structured plans for future generations to preserve wealth.  We can assist you with up to date information about recent changes in the legal requirements of tax structures.  Please call Angela at Extension 112 for an appointment for a Will,  Power of Attorney or Estate Planning.  The first meeting is free and with no obligation to proceed with us. Plan carefully for the next generation.
Share

Share on Tumblr