by Monica Goyal

The beginning of the year is great time to do a legal check up. Consider the following as you go into the New Year.

Monica Goyal

1.      Refresh your will – Revisiting your will, living will and power of attorney on an annual basis could save you or your family heartache down the road. Consider whether there has been any of the following changes in your life this past year: significant changes to the business, birth of a child, death in the family, a divorce, or you bought that something new that is worth bequeathing to someone.  Something you may also wasn’t to consider, if you haven’t done so already, is access to electronic assets. Having your passwords to your computer, email, photos, or Facebook account in a document that is accessible to your heirs can save lots of time for them and can be extremely valuable. For example, if there are communications that have to be addressed, bills that are only received electronically that need attending to, or photos on flickr that you want your family to have access to, you should consider including information on how to access these accounts. If you are interested in learning more on how companies will treat your electronic assets on death, take a look at the Terms of Use of Apple, Google, or Yahoo.

2.      Review the Privacy Policy and Terms of Use of your website – Consider what new functionality you have on your website and mobile app. Did you recently add a blog or include a newsletter signup? Are you collecting addresses now when you were only collecting their names before? Are you aggregating information or providing your users’ information to an aggregator? If you decided to add ecommerce functionality to your site, you will want to think about whether or not you are collecting credit card information.

3.      Financials – If you are looking at your year in review consider your cash flow situation and, depending on your type of business, you may want to consider dealing with delinquent accounts. It may also be a good idea to analyze your current billing process and terms for your invoices. For example, adding a 30-day term condition to your invoices sets a clear expectation with your clients. You can save money, time and headaches by dealing with late-paying (or non-paying!) customers proactively.

4.      Corporate Housekeeping – As you enter the New Year, you may be preparing your taxes and planning your annual general meeting. Make sure to update your minute book, and to make any necessary changes to it. Remember to file a Form 1, Initial Return/Notice of Change by an Ontario Corporation, if there has been a change to your list of directors or other corporate information such as the main corporate address. You need to file these changes 15 days after the changes take place.

While there are many things you can, and probably should, do to keep your business current and running smoothly, starting on the four things above can get your year off to a great start.


Monica Goyal is a Toronto-based lawyer and a technology entrepreneur who founded My Legal Briefcase,

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