Is Your Will Up To Date?

Les Kotzer

Fish and Associates is well known for offering people a free review of their existing WILL. You can call to make an appointment, and we will sit down with you to go through your WILL to see if it is up to date and not recipe for a family battle.

Your WILL should be a living, breathing document, and it should reflect your current life situation. Unfortunately, many WILLs are locked in safety deposit boxes and haven’t been looked at in years. Meanwhile, since the WILL was made, there may have been marriages, divorces, re-marriages, more children, more grandchildren etc., and assets that have changed. Your WILL is one of the most important documents you will ever sign. You made a WILL to protect your loved ones. How can it protect your loved ones, if it is out of date?

I have seen so many WILLs’ that were prepared in the 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s. These WILLs’ do not have a special clause to protect a child’s inheritance in case that child gets separated or divorced. It is not good enough just to say “I leave my estate to my son Bill.” Without a family law clause in your WILL, any money your child makes on the inheritance through investments is not protected in case he or she gets separated or divorced. I also find this important clause missing from so many of the WILL Kits and Homemade WILLs’ that I review. Even if your WILL was done in the 90’s or after 2000. I would be pleased to review it to make sure it has the Family Law clause in it.

One of the most important parts of your WILL is the appointment of your Executor. I find so many WILLs’ have Executors named that are no longer alive. Many of these WILLs’ also have no back up Executor to replace the Executor that is no longer alive. Without an Executor named in your will, there will be nobody to act for your Estate immediately upon your death.

If you have Separated since the date of your last WILL, it is important to consider revising your WILL. If your WILL leaves everything to your “spouse” and you are separated, you should be aware that your Separated spouse is still your spouse and could inherit under your existing will, if he or she is named. Your Separation does not revoke your will. On the other hand, if you have married since the date of your last will, your will is revoked by Ontario Law. In other words, if your WILL is dated January 15, 2010, and you got married in 2016, you no longer have a valid will.

I reviewed WILLs’ for a Husband and Wife who had forgotten to update them after their third child was born. Their WILLs’ left everything to each other and then to two of their three children. They had inadvertently cut out their third child. They made a new WILL that included all of their children as beneficiaries

So many WILLs’ I review refer to assets that no longer exist. If you left your 14K gold ring to your daughter Mary, and you no longer own it, it is important to revise your WILL so that you do not create false expectations. As well, if you left Mary your house on John Street but you no longer own that house, she will not get your house on Main Street. If you want her to get your house on Main Street, you should revise your WILL to say this.

I reviewed a woman’s WILL which appeared to be fine until she told me that her daughter, who was getting half of her Estate outright, is on Ontario Disability Support Benefits. When I told her that this WILL would lead to her daughter most likely losing her government benefits, she was shocked. I explained that in order to protect her daughter’s Government Benefits, she could not leave an outright gift of such a large amount of money but should consider setting up what is known as a Henson Trust.

A man brought in a homemade WILL for me to review. When I asked him what he did for a living, he told me that he owned a manufacturing company. When I asked the value of the company, he told me it was worth about 5 Million Dollars. I told him that the Probate Tax would be approximately $75.000.00 Dollars. He was not aware that he could make a second WILL for his company shares which would mean that Probate Tax on those shares would be zero. I have seen Doctors and Dentists who own Medical and Dental Professional Corporations who now realize that they can make a second WILL tor their Corporation which will result in Zero Probate Tax for such Corporate assets. In Ontario – you are allowed to make two WILLs, one for your Corporation and one for your other assets. You can save a lot of Probate Tax by doing this.

As mentioned. I would be pleased to review your existing WILL for Free. Peace of Mind is Worth the Time.

To contact Fish & Associates for a Free WILL Consultation or Free Review of your existing WILL and Powers of Attorney, call 905-881 -1500 or visit lcskotzer.com or willappointment.com. Contact Les Kotzer at les@Ieskotzer.com or Michelle Kotzer at mkotzer@fishlaw.ca
(905) 881-1500 Ext. 22.