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John Drayton

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The U.S. pour-over will

Most of the U.S. states have, through legislation, allowed for something called the “pour-over will”. Here’s how that works. A person sets up something called a living trust. (Lawyers call this an “inter vivos” trust.) Sometimes that trust is set up with as little as $5, and sometimes the figure is much larger. It is not uncommon, for example, to transfer investment accounts into the trust.

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Hours of Service for B.C. Log Haulers

B.C. log haulers have special rules applying to them, different from the general rules for commercial drivers. For those readers inclined to do so, I invite you to go to the B.C. government’s website at http://www.th.gov.bc.ca/cvse/national_safety_code.htm and examine the entire regulation, paying particular attention to section 37.15. For those who want a simplified version, the government has posted a summary on its website called “Hours-of-Service Rules—Loggers”.

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Collection Remedies for Loggers - Part 2

Despite all of the remedies available to unpaid loggers, sometimes there simply aren't enough debtor assets available to pay the priority creditors and the unpaid loggers. Government created the Forestry Service Providers Compensation Fund to compensate contractors who are not paid due to licensee insolvency. There are certain Rules that are set out for the trustee to follow, when deciding whether to pay a claim and in what amount. These rules are set out at the Fund's website, and they are...

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Collection Remedies for Loggers - Part 1

Like any unpaid creditor, the ability exists to sue the debtor, to seek from the court a judgment against the debtor. A claim up to $35,000 can be brought in the Small Claims Court. A claim of any size can be brought in the Supreme Court. Once a judgment is obtained, there are various remedies available to enforce that judgment.

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Fair Market Rate

Loggers performing services under a Bill 13 replaceable contract (also known as an evergreen contract) are entitled to be paid a "fair market rate". What is a fair market rate? A fair market rate is one that a willing consumer of these services (i.e. a licensee) would pay to a willing supplier of the services (i.e. a contractor) in a free and open market. The theory behind the legislation is that the parties to a replaceable contract are not willing participants - the licensee is forced to...

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Forestry Service Providers Protection Act

A video on the Forest Service Protection Act by John Drayton

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What is an Independent Contractor and What Does it Mean for You?

Almost every logging contract contains a provision which states that the logger’s relationship to the licensee is that of an “independent contractor”. What does this mean? In the traditional sense, being an independent contractor comes down to control of the work process; to enjoying the profits of a successful operation and risking the loss of an unsuccessful project; and to ownership of the capital, i.e. the equipment. It is easier to define “independent...

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Stumpage Payable Under B.C. Timber Sales

A log harvester that successfully bids on a B.C. Timber Sale will harvest the timber and sell it to one or more mills. Usually the sale price is negotiated, and the mill indicates that it will deduct stumpage from that price and remit that directly to the government. In most cases, that system works just fine. In some cases, however, where that mill is suffering financial difficulties, that can become a real problem for the log harvester. Sometimes the mill pays late; sometimes it...

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Negotiating Logging Rates - It's About Comparables

In my law practice I frequently deal with real estate appraisals. If an appraiser wants to estimate the fair market value of property X, he or she will likely take a direct comparison approach. The appraiser will select three recent sales of similar properties as a starting point. Because no two properties are alike, adjustments are made to the three comparable sales, to bring them in line with property X. The intent is to make an apples-to-apples comparison. So, if one comparable has a larger...

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Obtaining Information from Government

The Provincial Government offers two resources that loggers should be aware of. I use them all of the time. The first of them is the Harvest Billing System. This is an online resource, and users should simply type ‘Harvest Billing System’ into their search engine. The resource is free and instantaneous. Anyone can use it. The Harvest Billing System can provide much in the way of information. I’m often wanting to know the volume of timber harvested under any license or...

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