Who Should Have A Will in Ontario and Why?
In Ontario any person who dies without a Will dies “intestate”, the Estate to be distributed in accordance with the Succession Law Reform Act. (“SLRA”). This means as the government determines; not the intestate (deceased).
By contrast, with a dated Will, the deceased Estate will be distributed to whom he/she wished and, with careful planning, sometimes with considerably lesser taxes and costs.
Unfortunately less than half of Canadians have a Will. Either erroneously thinking there is no need, or it’s undesirable to have to think about a Will, or the time and effort; or maybe even the cost.
All of these excuses are dangerous and will cost you more money. And the alternative of no Will usually results in a considerably larger legal mess, additional taxes, and certainly more costs. Why do that? Preparing a Will with our Will Preparation Kit reduces the effort of SMART Planning and will often result in you uncovering things you never thought of. Actually, getting a Will completed should come as a relief and avoids many and much worse complications for your family.
Some quick thoughts…
Will preparation is a set of questions and answers. You already know most of the answers. But probably never thought about the implication to your long-term planning.
After a lifetime of careful money management and family security, why throw it away and let the government, run your investments?
Wills can be relatively simple: however, your circumstances may be complicated as we expand our families and our business ventures.
Multiple Wills may be in your best interest to significantly reduce the “Probate” fees. You should learn more about that. By the way, “Probate” is a legal process that takes place after someone dies. It includes: proving in court that a deceased person’s Will is valid (usually a routine matter), identifying and inventorying the deceased person’s property. … Distributing the remaining property as the Will (or provincial law, if there’s no Will) directs.
No Will means, usually, you have a big mess. Questions that will arise include:
- Who is going to apply for Probate?
- Who will pay Probate fees?
- Who is responsible for the Estate?
- Who is to inherit what and how?
If you own real estate, Probate is mandatory before any real estate sale can proceed; so fix the issue now by having a Will.
WHO SHOULD HAVE A WILL?
Simple: everyone. No excuse why not unless of course, you wish to cause excessive grief for your family and business associates.
You absolutely must have a Will if:
- Recently married (almost all pre-marriage Wills are void)
- You are separated (your so-called ex-spouse, in separation, is still a “spouse” with significant rights, some preferential to your Estate.
- You are in a common-law relationship (your partner has no right to anything on your death) and worse, your former spouse may take a priority, even over your children.
- You’re wise and want to save money; no Will definitely means more costs, more additional time and effort, and probably higher taxes.
- You own a business
- You own property
- You have children
- You have responsibility for another person (for example a parent or sibling)
- You have a recreational property in or out of Ontario
If you do not have a Will, the cost to your estate will usually be at least several thousand dollars in extra expense, not to mention the pain and cost to your Executor, spouse, and family that poor planning will inflict.
Read more about the Key Components of a Will
Ministry of Attorney General Information on Estates, Wills and Trusts
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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.