Every adult should have a will. But there may be instances in Ontario where having multiple wills may be even more prudent, especially when it comes to lowering estate administration taxes as they’re now known. Ontario is actually the only province to allow dual wills to assist with probate fees, which are amongst the highest in the country. Tax on the first $50,000 in assets of an estate is 0.5 percent, while any amount over that gets taxed with a 1.5 percent probate tax.
When utilizing more than one will, the main will is the one which would include those assets to be probated in court; in other words, a property that isn’t owned jointly, bank accounts or shares in a public corporation. A second will would be for assets that don’t have to be probated such as jewellery, art pieces, shares in a private company and so on. For those who own foreign property, a third will may even be advised.
Those who have more than one will can name separate executors for each if they choose or they could have the same person acting for all wills. But it is important to make mention of another will in each of the wills. At least one executor — if there is more than one — should know where the wills are located.
Lawyers can help Ontario residents with estate planning queries and point them in the right direction when it comes to getting other help, from financial planners, for instance. Wills are a part of a solid, overall estate plan. Getting legal guidance regarding multiple wills may prove to be invaluable when it comes to saving on taxes during probate and putting more in the hands of beneficiaries.
Source: cbj.ca, “Use Multiple Wills to lower Probate Taxes“, Tina Tehranchian, Accessed on Jan. 7, 2018