Blended families call for mirror wills. They let couples create individual Wills that are different, yet alike.
If you’ve recently remarried and want children from previous relationships and any new children you have together to be cared for when you die, ask Axess Law about making a mirror Will.
Our Wills and estates Ontario lawyers are experienced at helping families sort out who receives real property and possessions when they pass. We make writing a new Will, with or without your current spouse, easy and affordable.
What is a Mirror Will?
Mirror Wills are individual, virtually identical Wills typically made by common law partners or legally married couples, naming each other as the beneficiaries. You can plan who gets your estate (typically your children) if you die together and can make individual gifts exclusive of a partner or spouse. (Mirror Wills pros and cons.)
Wills for New and Blended Children
Legally married couples who bring children of their own to their new relationship often have individual Wills already. Beware! Your existing Will may bequeath assets to past spouses or adult children you no longer have a close relationship with.
You may have good intentions about rewriting your Will or making amendments and be simply putting it off while you adjust to your newly blended family. You want to protect your assets — that’s what prenuptial agreements in Ontario are for. But it only takes a minute for all your plans for your new family and shared children to be frustrated.
New Wills Laws in Ontario
Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act was updated in 2021 to allow past spouses to benefit from your Will unless you deliberately exclude them. That means if current Wills in Ontario are collecting dust, your ex could receive most or all of your estate when you die.
Without making any Will at all, you leave both biological children from other marriages and any new children you have with your current spouse in a tight spot. Dying intestate in Ontario means who receives what will be decided by a probate judge, without any opportunity for your blended children or new and previous spouses to be heard.
That’s leaving a lot to chance.
Common Wills Mistakes
- Assuming biological children and a new spouse will get along after you’re gone.
- Trusting your children’s biological parent won’t seek shared or solo decision-making responsibility (formerly custody).
- Neglecting to legally adopt stepchildren you care about, leaving them without an inheritance unless you specifically name them in your Will.
- Not appointing legal guardians for minor children and trustees for their inheritances. You could lose control of your estate if the court appoints your previous spouse (their biological parent) or someone you have never met to be legal guardian or trustee of their financial property.
- Being unrealistic about a spouse’s future plans, like remarrying and moving on. How would you feel if your spouse bequeathed the estate you worked so hard to build to an absolute stranger?
Why Update Your Will Now?
Keeping your Will current is as easy as giving Axess Law a call.
Our lawyers for Wills set aside previous versions and make a new Will any time your life circumstances change. Address or legal name changes, significant new income, aging or marital breakup can make your Will stale dated.
We take that all into account. Here’s how.
- Minor errors like a change of name or address can delay a decision made by a probate court. Instead of letting a judge make revisions, Axess Law brings your Will up to date.
- When you change jobs or move up in business, your income can go up substantially. Our Wills lawyers for Toronto area and Ottawa restructure your Wills to reflect business partnerships or newly acquired wealth.
- Becoming injured or ill or aging could require you to have a trusted substitute decision maker. Our Wills lawyers can prepare powers of attorney for personal care or (financial) property when we draft your Will.
- Divorce or separation affect who inherits. Axess Law adds language to your Will that protects you and your children’s financial interests in case of marital breakup.
- Serious fallings out with adopted step children can cause you to rethink who you want to inherit. We refresh your bequests by writing a new Will for you.
- Children or spouses forced to go to court to make a dependant’s support claim because you neglected to make a Will. Axess Law ensures financial dependancy claims and matrimonial home ownership are decided in your Will.
Can a Mirror Will be Changed?
You can make changes with or without your spouse (mirror Wills don’t require spousal consent).
We make individual Wills if you and your spouse have different ideas about how to structure assets you own yourself. Or Mirror Wills if you want the terms to be mostly similar, with some tweaks.
For example, you may have inheritances from next-of-kin that have been willed directly to you. As long as you don’t mingle these assets with your spouse’s — such as buying a matrimonial home or putting them in a joint bank account — they belong to you if you divorce.
You alone decide to distribute your assets when you die. Ask us about inheritance and wealth protection too.
Life Interests and Minor Trusts
Minor stepchildren and biological children you have with a previous or current spouse deserve special attention.
Putting assets in a testamentary trust allows your spouse to live comfortably on the interest from your estate. Since minors can’t inherit directly, you can name your spouse or any trusted friend or relative to manage their inheritance in your absence. Your blended or biological children receive your estate principal when your spouse is gone. (Give gifts while you’re alive with an inter vivos trust instead.)
You could even opt to leave stepchildren out of your Will. Your biological children can inherit your entire estate, as long as you don’t omit legally adopted stepchildren who were financially dependent on you.
Cheap Flat Rate Legal Services
New Wills cost so little.
Why amend yours by having your lawyer make frequent and costly codicils? Crossing out handwritten bequests in a holographic Will may only confuse your estate trustee and a probate court.
Axess Law Wills lawyers can draft a new Will and arrange for you to sign it for only $199.99 and up, plus HST — $249.99 and up plus HST if you make a power of attorney at the same time.
If your estate includes business assets, we make primary Wills for personal property and possessions and secondary Wills for corporate shares. You pay only $600 and up, plus HST, for multiple Wills to serve any purpose.
Easy Online Video Appointments
Our lawyers for Wills can video conference online anywhere in Ontario. We join you via secure, confidential video call from the comfort of your home or office, with convenient hours that fit any schedule.
In person appointments are available day or evening, 7 days a week, at Axess Law locations in Toronto, Greater Toronto Area or Ottawa. Make online or in person appointments with our online booking form or call our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line to find a Wills and estates lawyer near you. Toll free calls accepted at 1-877-402-4277.
Axess Law has onsite parking and easy transit access.