Is It Time To Update Your Will?
November is “Make a Will Month”! If you don’t have a Will yet, it’s a good time to get one! And if you do have a Will, especially if it’s more than 5 years old, it’s a good time to review it to see whether it should be revised to reflect changes in the law or in your circumstances. For example:
Changes in the Law
- a 2018 court case challenges the validity of certain multiple Wills prepared for the purpose of avoiding probate fees on shares of private corporations and other private assets
- 2016 income tax legislation reduces or eliminates the tax advantages of certain trusts created by Will
- other tax changes eliminate access to the principal residence exemption where a home is held in a trust
- new measures providing enhanced financial security to individuals with a disability can be incorporated into a Will for the benefit of an adult child or other beneficiary with a disability
Changes of Circumstances
- children may have become responsible enough to be appointed executors in the place of older family members or friends
- new life insurance, RRSPs, RRIFs or TFSAs may have been opened without full primary and alternate beneficiary designations
- seniors may wish to divest themselves of some of the responsibility for managing their finances, or indeed to transfer some of their wealth to their beneficiaries during lifetime
- others with larger estates and no dependents may consider creating a charitable legacy (with the fringe benefit of reducing income tax either now or on death)
If you have any questions concerning Wills, Powers of Attorney, or other areas of Estate Planning, please contact a member of the LMR Estates & Succession Group.