Multiple Wills? Why would I want more than one will?

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Multiple Wills? Why would I want more than one will?

In some circumstances, I am recommending to my clients that they make more than one will. While I do charge extra for this service – it is only done in circumstances where having more than one will leads to considerable savings in estate and probate fees for my client.

When a person passes away with a will – the will is often probated. This fancy legal term means simply that an application to a court is brought to obtain a certificate that proves that the executor has the authority to take control of the assets of the estate.

Now – some assets will absolutely require probate.

·       Land that is not registered jointly
·       Investments or accounts with a financial institution that are not registered investment with a designated beneficiary.

·       Shares of Publicly traded corporations.

You simply cannot get by without probating a will.

Most other assets will not require probate.

When you apply to probate a will, Estate Fees are charged at the rate of $5 per $1000 on the first $50,000 ($250) and $15 per thousand on each additional 10000.   So, for every $100,000 in assets, there are probate fees of $1500.

Now, although only some assets require probating – fees are charged on ALL assets contained in the will, whether they require probate or not.

You can set up two different wills, one for assets that require probate, and one for assets that do not.  If you have valuable assets that would not require probate, you can save the estate a considerable amount of money.

The reporting of assets in Ontario has become more stringent, with more serious penalties for providing false information.  Audits are occurring to figure out if proper probate fees have been paid.

A lawyer can help you figure out if dual wills are appropriate for you.

If you would like more information about wills and powers of attorney, please contact us below.