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Clients don’t always appreciate how lawyers can help on other legal issues they may encounter as they go through life.

Just as booking an appointment with a doctor or financial advisor offers an opportunity to identify issues and gauge your health (physical and financial), checking in with their lawyer can ensure your client’s legal health is also in good shape.

Perhaps your client has experienced a change in their relationship status or are considering the purchase or sale of a home, rental or vacation property. Perhaps they are considering the future of their little ones or other loved ones, and how they can make sure they are protected and provided for. In all cases, consulting with a lawyer in advance can provide valuable insights to save them time and money and to highlight any red flags.

To help lawyers remind their clients to check up their “legal health”, LAWPRO has created the Annual Legal Health Check-up (in Word format and PDF format). It is a non-exhaustive list of common legal issues that arise in a client’s personal or business life. The list can be modified to use as best suits your own practice.

Here is a partial list of questions the Legal Health Check-up asks clients to consider:

  • Have you married or started a common-law relationship recently?
  • Are you separated/divorced recently?
  • Do you have children?
  • Do you have a pet (e.g. Pit bull terrier or a monkey) to which special restrictions apply?
  • Are you considering acting as a sponsor for foreign nationals seeking to immigrate to Canada?
  • Do you own a home or other property? Is the ownership alone or with someone?
  • Is your home/property left vacant for any period of time or do you have any property outside of Canada?
  • Are you thinking of building or renovating soon?
  • Do you have title insurance for your property?
  • Do you have a will? Has anything changed since you signed it?

A lot can happen over the course of a year to impact your client’s legal health. By mailing or emailing this Check-up list to clients, lawyers can encourage them to proactively consider their potential legal needs and be aware that their lawyer can help them address issues before there is a crisis.

As part of LAWPRO’s public outreach efforts, a matte story describing the Check-up was made available to Canadian newspaper outlets.