Last will and testament ontario
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Last will and testament ontario

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Last will and testament ontario Last will and testament ontario Document Transcript

  • Prepared By: Page 1 of 27 Michael Carabash Wills in Ontario DISCLAIMER: Please note that the information provided in this DL Guide is NOT legal advice and is provided for educational purposes only. Laws are subject to change quickly and without notice. This DL Guide may be outdated. You are always advised to consult with a lawyer to draft a Will in Ontario, Canada (e.g. make a post on Dynamic Lawyers). We have Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Brampton, Mississauga and other Ontario lawyers registered to help you. You can contact Michael Carabash directly at michael@carabashlaw.com. Last Updated: April 2010 © 2008-2010, Dynamic Lawyers Ltd. All Rights Reserved. Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com
  • Wills in Ontario Page 2 of 27 Table of Contents Introduction .................................................................................................................................................... 4 What is a Will? ............................................................................................................................................... 4 What are the legal requirements for a Will to be valid? ................................................................................. 5 Is a lawyer required to have a Will? ............................................................................................................... 6 Why should I have a Will? ............................................................................................................................. 7 What happens if I die without a Will? ............................................................................................................ 8 How will my property be divided if I don’t have a Will? .............................................................................. 9 How do I prepare to have my Will drafted? ................................................................................................. 10 What is the basic structure of a simple Will? ............................................................................................... 11 How can a Will be amended? ....................................................................................................................... 12 How can a Will be revoked?......................................................................................................................... 12 How can a Will be revived? ......................................................................................................................... 12 What if there is a Mistake in a Will? ............................................................................................................ 13 What if I am a Dependant? ........................................................................................................................... 13 What about International Wills? ................................................................................................................... 14 What is a Living Will?.................................................................................................................................. 14 Will Clauses .................................................................................................................................................. 15 Introductory Clause ...................................................................................................................................... 15 Revocations .................................................................................................................................................. 15 Designating an RRSP | RRIF | Pension Beneficiary .................................................................................... 16 Designating an Insurance Policy Beneficiary ............................................................................................... 16 My Estate Trustee ......................................................................................................................................... 19 Vesting Clause .............................................................................................................................................. 19 Dispositive Clauses....................................................................................................................................... 19 Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com
  • Wills in Ontario Page 3 of 27 Estate Trustee’s Powers ................................................................................................................................ 23 Treatment of Minors ..................................................................................................................................... 24 Family Law Act ............................................................................................................................................ 25 Excluding Illegitimate Children from Inheriting .......................................................................................... 25 Custody and Guardianship of Property ........................................................................................................ 24 Signing .......................................................................................................................................................... 26 About Us ....................................................................................................................................................... 27 Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com
  • Wills in Ontario Page 4 of 27 Introduction You’ve heard it many times. You need a Will! But what is a Will and why do you need one? What legal surprises (and headaches) await your loved ones if you don’t have one? Is a lawyer required to draft or witness a Will? What is a ―Living Will? Is that a Will too? What about International Wills? What are some of the standard clauses that you’ll find in a Will? These and other questions are common, but not always answered. Sometimes, a lack or absence of communication can result in costly mistakes and even litigation. This DL Guide will help shed some valuable insight into these and other questions that may come to mind when you’re getting serious about dealing with Wills in Ontario. Remember: if you’re looking for an Ontario lawyer to help, you can make a post on Dynamic Lawyers. We have Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Brampton and other Ontario lawyers registered. What is a Will? A Will (also referred to as a ―Last Will and Testament‖) is a legal document that basically provides instructions as to how your remaining assets and liabilities are to be dealt with. It also provides for instructions as to who will be the ―Estate Trustee‖ responsible for administering your final wishes and identifying who your beneficiaries will be. Finally, a Will can allow you to appoint a ―Custodian‖ for your minor children or dependants and ―Guardian‖ of their property. According to section 1(1) of the Succession Law Reform Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.26, a Will also includes a ―Codicil‖, which is a document that cancels certain parts of your Will or adds new parts to it and which must be read together with your Will as one document. A person who makes and signs a valid Will is referred to as a ―Testator‖ (for a man) or ―Testatrix‖ (for a woman). When you die in Ontario, your assets are pooled together into something called an ―Estate‖. An Estate Trustee is appointed in the Will (and a substitute is usually appointed in case the primary estate trustee is unwilling or unable to perform his or her duties) and must: administer the Will by paying out liabilities (e.g. taxes owed, funeral expenses, creditors, etc.); manage remaining assets (e.g. selling them, gifting them, investing them, etc.); and distribute the residue of the estate (i.e. the remaining funds after everything else is taken care of) to the beneficiaries designated under the Will. Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com
  • The full DL Guide is available for FREE with the purchase of a Legal Form. Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com
  • Wills in Ontario Page 8 of 27 What happens if I die without a Will? In Ontario, if you die WITHOUT a Will, then someone will need to apply to the relevant court to be appointed the Estate Trustee. This application is made in the court office for the area (e.g. county, district, region, or metropolitan municipality) in which the deceased resided at the date of death. In Toronto, for example, the appropriate court is the Estates Court office located at 393 University Avenue, 10th floor, 416- 326-4230 (otherwise, you make an application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice). Applications for Certificates of Appointment of Estate Trustee are processed by Ministry of the Attorney General court staff. They perform the duties of an estate registrar in the Civil Office of the Superior Court of Justice. These duties are prescribed by law. Staff must review each application to confirm that the application and all accompanying documents are complete and comply with the Ontario Rules of Civil Procedure (the rules of court) and other applicable legislation. Section 74.05 of those Rules require that an Application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee without a Will (Form 74.14 or 74.15) be accompanied by: 1. An affidavit (Form 74.16) attesting that notice of the application (Form 74.17) has been served on all persons entitled to share in the distribution of the estate (including special ways to serve minors under 18 years old and mentally incapable persons). 2. A renunciation (Form 74.18) from every person who is entitled in priority to be named as estate trustee and who has not joined in the application. 3. A consent to the applicant’s appointment (Form 74.19) by persons who are entitled to share in the distribution of the estate and who together have a majority interest in the value of the assets of the estate at the date of death; 4. The security required by the Estates Act; and 5. Any other additional material which the court may direct (e.g. affidavit dispensing with bond, Draft Order Dispensing with bond, Draft Certificate, affidavits concerning value of estate, etc.). If court staff have concerns about the application or accompanying materials, the application must be referred to a judge for direction. The judge may require further materials to be filed or steps taken by the personal representative in relation to the application. The Ministry strives to process certificates of appointment of estate trustee with or without a will within 15 days after the application and accompanying materials are complete and judicial direction, if required, has been obtained. If a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee Without a Will is issued, it will be in Form 74.20. Be sure to consult a lawyer if you need one! Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com
  • The full DL Guide is available for FREE with the purchase of a Legal Form. Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com
  • Wills in Ontario Page 12 of 27 How can a Will be amended? If you want to amend your will, you can do so by creating a Codicil (i.e. a legal document). You can’t simply cross off a part of the Will or insert a new section in handwriting on top of the Will. You must either create a new Will or (if the change is relatively minor) create a Codicil. A Codicil is a written document that refers to the Will and the parts that are being changed (removed, added, etc.). A Codicil must be signed, dated, and witnessed by two parties in the same way as a Will is made: section 18 of the Succession Law Reform Act. Codicils that amend previous Codicils should also state that fact (i.e. that a particular Codicil is being revoked). If there are many Codicils, it would probably make sense to re-write the entire Will (for simplicity’s sake). You can purchase a Codicil on Dynamic Lawyers. How can a Will be revoked? A Will can only be revoked only by: • Marriage, unless there is a declaration in the Will that it is made in contemplation of a marriage to a particular person: sections 15(a) and 16(a) of the Succession Law Reform Act • Making and properly executing another Will: section 15(b) of the Succession Law Reform Act. • A written declaration with an intention to revoke which follows the rules of making a Will: s.15(c). • The Will being destroyed (e.g. burned, torn, etc.) by the Testator / Testatrix or some person in his or her presence and by his or her direction with the intention of revoking the Will: section 15(d). There must be both a physical act and an intention to destroy (so a symbolic destruction will not suffice!). How can a Will be revived? A Will that is revoked can be revived only under section 19 of the Succession Law Reform Act: • By a Will being made; • By a Codicil being made which shows an intention to give effect to the Will or the part of the Will that was revoked; or • By the re-execution of a previously revoked Will with the required formalities. Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com
  • The full DL Guide is available for FREE with the purchase of a Legal Form. Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com
  • Wills in Ontario Page 15 of 27 Will Clauses In what is to follow, I will discuss some of the clauses in a simple Will. Introductory Clause This clause identifies the Testator / Testatrix and his or her residence. It is a good idea to include residency: because there may be one or more people with the same name as the Testator / Testatrix; for tax purposes (so that whoever is doing the Testator / Testatrix’s taxes will know); because it helps to identify which court will deal with probate and estate administration matters. Not only should the full legal name of the Testator / Testatrix be used, but also aliases or common names. This helps prevent future problems where the Will is in one name but another name has been used with the banks (for example). If the Will is being made IN CONTEMPLATION OF MARRIAGE, then the introductory clause SHOULD SAY SO if it is the Testator / Testatrix’s intention to have the Will survive marriage. Recall that a Will is AUTOMATICALLY CANCELLED upon marriage unless the Will says that it is made in contemplation of marriage, as follows: THIS IS THE LAST WILL AND TESTAMENT of me, [insert name], of the [insert ―City‖ or ―Town‖] of [insert name of City or Town], in the Province of Ontario, made in contemplation of my marriage to [insert name]. Finally worth mentioning is that, UNLESS the Will says otherwise, if the Testator / Testatrix is married, makes a Will and then divorces, clauses which transfer property to the former spouse or name the former spouse as the Estate Trustee are REVOKED: section 17(2) of the Succession Law Reform Act. The former spouse is considered to have predeceased the Testator / Testatrix for the purpose of administering the Will. Revocations This clause specifically revokes any prior Wills or Codicils the Testator / Testatrix may have made. While section 15(b) of the Succession Law Reform Act already says that making a new Will revokes previous Wills and Codicils, it is important to get the message across to the Testator / Testatrix by adding this clause. Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com
  • The full DL Guide is available for FREE with the purchase of a Legal Form. Michael Carabash, B.A., LL.B., J.D., M.B.A. michael@carabashlaw.com Need an Ontario Lawyer? Make a Post. Get FREE Quotes! www.DynamicLawyers.com