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Probate Tip – Multiple Wills

Probate is a legal process where the executor is confirmed, and the Will is validated by the courts.

The court imposes a fee (or tax) for performing this function and the fee is a percentage of the estate’s value. Probate fees vary from province to province and there are a number of tools at your disposal that can be used to avoid probate: For example, you can name a direct beneficiary on an RRSPs, RRIFs, segregated funds and other insurance contacts.

Another Probate Avoidance Tool

Let’s say you have some real property, some stocks and bonds in a brokerage account, as well as shares of a private business. Financial institutions typically require probate before they will allow your executor to take control over brokerage account and probate will be required to transfer the real property. However, is probate really require to transfer the private company shares?

Using one will for assets that must be probated and another for other assets that do not require probate is considered a valid planning opportunity in Ontario.

Outside of Ontario

The use of multiple wills outside of Ontario is somewhat limited and is not permitted in those jurisdictions with high probate rates. It is unlikely that this strategy would be successful in BC, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.

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