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Wills in Ontario and the conditions in them

Writing a will is not as easy as scribbling down a few words and paper and rifling it into a drawer somewhere. Wills and estates law is often complex and Ontario residents writing a will can't just insert conditions on a whim and expect them to be legally binding. A testator (the maker of the will) must be abundantly clear when leaving gifts in his or her will.

The wording of a will is extremely important. It should be written concisely and ideally, using appropriate legal terms.  There have been instances when courts have disallowed the last wishes of a testator because the will was either uncertain or because it went against public policy. For instance, a gift can't be contingent upon someone committing any sort of crime, be discriminatory against ethnic or religious groups, ask someone to give up parental rights or ask someone to separate from a spouse.

Another condition in a will that would render it null and void is giving a gift in perpetuity or asking someone to keep something forever -- like a house or a piece of land. Another condition often imposed in a will is that someone is to get a gift when he or she reaches a certain age. Although this is allowed, the way it is written could create problems. Wishes should fit into legal parameters.

Ontario residents wishing to avoid possible nullification of their wills can speak to a lawyer about having a will drafted using the correct wording and conditions yet still in keeping with their wishes. A lawyer experienced in wills and estates law will ensure his or her clients' wills are written using conditions allowable by law. A lawyer will help a client draft a will that adheres to the testator's standards.

 

 

 

Source: findlaw.ca, "What conditions can I put in my will?", Accessed on Oct. 20, 2017

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