Leaving Legacy Gifts in Wills

When your ambitions exceed your worth, your estate executor could be taxed to administer your Will.

Axess Law organizes Wills to make it clear to beneficiaries, executors and Ontario probate court who gets what, in which order. Properly structured legacy gifts make distributing your Will easier and can prevent legal disputes among your beneficiaries.

Ensure your estate goes to your loved ones the way you intended by making legacy gifts.


Why Legacy Gifts Matter

Legacy gifts in Wills are important because they give Ontario probate court and your estate trustee direction if your estate plan doesn’t work out the way you intended. Wills written years before your death may be based on assets you had then. Real property, stocks and bonds or bank accounts can be diminished over time. Imagine your executor’s dilemma when your Will is out of step with the state of your current finances.  

Appoint an executor for your estate.


Abatement in Estate Law in Ontario

Rationalizing who gets what when estates fall short is what probate courts call abatement. Ontario estates abate, or are distributed, according to the Succession Law Reform Act. Unless bequests in your Will are in line with your assets, gifts will be distributed in order of priority:

  1. Residuary personalty — objects and things like antiques or collections.
  2. Residuary real property — homes, cottages or land, except for matrimonial homes that pass to legally married spouses. See who gets the house when your spouse dies. 
  3. General legacies — such as cash gifts you leave a grandchild that your executor can take from your estate’s total assets.
  4. Specific legacies — like a collectible you own or stock of a specific company taken from an investment fund you name in your Will.
  5. Demonstrative legacies — from named sources like a specific bank account, but can be fulfilled from your general estate if the account no longer exists.

How you organize your Will can give your executor the authority they need to satisfy your bequests, instead of allowing gifts to lapse or abate.

Read the ultimate guide to Wills in Ontario. 

Giving General Gifts

Giving general gifts enables your executor to provide for beneficiaries from whatever is left after creditors, estate administration taxes and executor’s fees are paid. A bequest of money for college or to make a downpayment on a home, for instance, can be satisfied by your executor selling antiques or collections that form part of your general estate.

Gift beneficiaries throughout your life instead of in a Will. 

Naming Specific Gifts

Rather than drawing on your general estate, specific gifts indicate named assets you bequeath to individual beneficiaries. 

Leaving named assets to specific beneficiaries has its drawbacks. Obviously, you meant well when you drafted your Will. But if those assets are no longer available — for instance, a valuable silver collection you sold without updating your Will — time consuming legal delays can occur in probating your Will. Family members may be left out of any part of your estate because you designated them to receive specific instead of general gifts.

Axess Law structures your Will to prevent estate problems from specific gifts that may plague your executor. 


Deciding on Demonstrative Gifts

Like specific gifts, demonstrative gifts are taken from funds you designate, such as a bond account your investment advisor holds. Even if that fund is depleted by a decline in the value of financial markets, the beneficiary may still inherit. Provided your estate has sufficient general assets, your estate trustee can honour your bequest from other sources.


Why You Need a Wills Lawyer

An Axess Law Wills and estate lawyer can ensure your Will meets the standards set by the Province of Ontario. Instead of worrying that your handwritten final wishes may be overturned by next of kin or an Ontario probate court, you get a professionally written, legally valid Will. 

Why to hire a lawyer to draft your Will. 

Axess Law witnesses and signs your Will in front of you and advises you on storing it securely. You can make multiple Wills in Ontario and gift any beneficiary of your choice, as long as you ensure financially dependant kin are cared for. Our Wills and estates lawyers review your Will to prevent unclear language that could cause problems for your estate.

Protect vulnerable beneficiaries with a Henson trust.

Marriage, separation or divorce can complicate your estate affairs. Axess Law’s Ontario lawyers write new Wills, instead of making amendments or codicils that may confuse estate trustees after you are gone.


Flat Fee Legal Services When You Need Them

Access lawyers near you in Toronto, Greater Toronto or Ottawa when you need to draft new Wills or have questions you need a legal professional to answer.

Axess Law Wills lawyers in Ontario have low, flat fee legal services that are affordable for any budget. Basic Wills start at $199.99 and up plus HST. Couples pay $149.99 plus HST each when you make mirror or individual Wills at the same time. 

Add power of attorney for property (finances) and personal care at the same time. Our fees begin at $249.99 plus HST total for individual virtual wills and two power of attorney appointments ($299.99 plus HST in person).

Make Wills or powers of attorney for less. 


Find a Wills Lawyer Near Me

Whether you need a basic personal Will or secondary Will for business assets, Axess Law has Wills and estate lawyers available 7 days a week, at your convenience. 

Our virtual lawyers remote in with you from anywhere in Ontario. E-signing is easy and convenient and our remote, online software is confidential and secure to use. We bring documents to your home or office to sign if you just can’t get away.

When you prefer to meet in person, drop into any Ottawa or Greater Toronto Area Axess Law locations. Day or evening appointments are available, at times that suit your schedule.


Make Online or Phone Appointments

Book virtual video calls from any location in Ontario or make in person appointments at any of our Axess Law law offices. Our booking form is the easy online way to make appointments.Dial our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line to find a Wills lawyer near you (toll free calls accepted at 877-402-4277). Use our onsite parking or take the bus. Look for our Axess Law locations near major transit stops.