Wills FAQs

This page is about you. Do you have any comments or questions about wills or estates? Let me know and I will answer them.

Here are some frequently asked questions:

What is a mirror will?

Mirror wills are simply wills that “mirror” each other. Typically prepared by a husband and wife, the husband’s will gives everything or almost everything to the wife, and if the wife does not survive him, then everything or almost everything to their children. The wife’s will is not the same, obviously, as she does not give everything to herself when she passes away. Instead, it is the mirror image of the husband’s will. It gives everything or almost everything to the husband, and if the husband does not survive her, then everything or almost everything to their children.

Am I correct to assume that my executor can’t be a beneficiary ?

No, that is not correct. In fact, normally it makes sense to have a beneficiary as the executor (or one of the executors), as the beneficiary has a direct interest in making sure that everything is handled properly with your estate.

Does my executor have to see my will or assets prior to my death ? I would not think so but I just want to be sure.

No, but your executor should know where to find your will.

Are registered accounts (RRSPs, TFSAs) going to be taxed prior to distribution

If you designate your spouse as beneficiary of these accounts, then they can be rolled over on a tax free basis to your spouse. Otherwise, it is deemed that you cashed the RRSP, etc. in on the date of your death, and there would be taxes resulting from that.

My will would state : after payment of taxes, funerals arrangements and other wishes…. assets should be distributed as follows… Can you please clarify for me

Yes, that is correct. You don’t have a choice in this matter – taxes and funeral expenses come right off the top, before anything can be distributed to beneficiaries.

Because I am married, I read the first $200K has to go to my spouse. Is it correct?

It is a bit more complicated than this. Your spouse is entitled to what he or she would have received if the two of you separated on the date of your death.

I have a life insurance policy at work, am I correct to designate as beneficiaries ”to be paid to my estate” so the amount will be added to my estate and divided according to my wishes?

It is generally preferable to designate a beneficiary (and an alternate beneficiary) of a life insurance policy. The reason for this is that if you designate the beneficiary, the payment goes to the beneficiary without any hassle or legal process. If you designate your estate as beneficiary, then the procees of the life insurance policy will end up subject to probate taxes, and can be vulnerable to lawsuits or creditors.

Please confirm that I can amend my will at my entire discretion as my life and wishes change.

Yes, that is correct.

You’re Invited to Call or E-Mail!

If you are considering a will, power of attorney, or trust — or have already made your decision — you’re invited to call or email us. We’ll explain how you can protect your loved ones and your assets. You can call us at (613) 519-0320 or email us using our contact form here.

Comments

  1. P&V Zador says:

    We wish to delete one name from our wills. Time and your fee?

    • @P&V Zador – The time and cost are the same as drafting a new will from scratch, as I’ll still need to go through your current will and situation to ensure that no other changes are needed. You can find out more about our process and fees here:
      http://www.ottawawills.org/process/

      Once you are a client and have had a will drafted, generally this sort of update is done at no charge.

      Also, from a practical point of view, it makes sense to re-draft the entire will, as you likely do not want the person who is currently a beneficiary to know he was cut out of your will.

  2. Banu Bayar says:

    Hi,
    My husband and I are interested in having our wills and powers of attorney drafted. What do we need to prepare in advance of an appointment?
    Regards,
    Banu Bayar

  3. @Banu – The things a will deals with are what happens to your assets when you pass away, at what age do your beneficiaries receive your assets if they are minors, who will look after your estate when you pass away, who will look after your children when you pass away, and whether you have any specific burial or funeral wishes.

    In advance of an appointment, it is a good idea to think about all of these issues and what you want. You will also want to speak with the people involved to see if they are willing to act as your estate trustee or guardian of your children.

    Finally, you should have a general idea of all of your assets and debts, as well as any beneficiary designations you have on life insurance policies, RRSPs, etc. If you own a home with your partner, it is a good idea to check your deed to find out whether the home is held “jointly” or as “tenants in common.”

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