What to Include In Your Will
Your Will is your personal expression of what you want to do with your estate. It can be as simple or complex as you like.
When you hire Axess Law's licensed Wills and estates lawyers, you can be confident your Will is legally valid, signed and witnessed the right way. We make separate Wills for individuals and mirror Wills for couples.
We include everything your Will requires and leave nothing to chance. Your Axess Law Will includes:
- Your legal, married and commonly used names.
- Your city or town.
- A statement cancelling previous Wills to prevent confusion.
- Instructions for distributing assets.
- Alternate beneficiaries if your first choice passes on.
- What to do with leftover assets after your debts are paid and gifts distributed.
- Who will care for pets.
- Affidavits from your witnesses, in case they are called into court or their signatures are questioned.
And that's just the start.
Who Can Make a Will
Anyone 18 or older can write an Axess Law personal Will. Your Will must be voluntary -- you can't be bullied, coerced or unduly influenced to leave your estate to others. It can be handwritten, called a holographic Will, or as we recommend, professionally done.
You can name any beneficiaries you want -- spouses, trustees for minor children, next-of-kin, pet caregivers, friends or charities -- or disinherit spouses or adult children if you like. (They can still go to probate court and ask for a share of your estate as dependents after you die or, for common law spouses, claim "unjust enrichment" if you benefitted financially from their companionship.)
'Reading' the Will
When you die, your beneficiaries get a mailed or couriered copy of any Wills you made from your estate trustee. The trustee will usually touch base to discuss their progress on distributing your property.
Who Can Be Estate Trustee
Without an executor, your Will may not have any legal effect. Your estate trustee or personal representative arranges your burial or cremation, tracks down beneficiaries, pays debts and taxes, distributes your assets and more.
You can choose any Ontario adult to be your estate trustee, as long as they are mentally capable. Axess Law recommends appointing someone you trust, who has integrity, can manage money and communicates well. You can even appoint professionals, like accountants, trust companies or lawyers.
Being an estate trustee is a demanding, time consuming task. Consider appointing successors or alternates. It ensures the work carries on if your trustee resigns, passes away or is unable to continue.
What We Need
When you arrive for your appointment with your Axess Law Wills and estate lawyer, bring along:
- A general idea of your assets and their approximate values
- Your minor children's names
- Legal guardians you have appointed
- Your pets' names and who will care for them
- Gifts or bequests you want to make
- Your beneficiaries' names and contact details.
We'll draft a personal Will for your review, arrange to have it witnessed and signed and give you the original. If desired, we can store your Will for a one-time fee of $29.99.
What's New for Wills
Ontario plans to change Wills laws with the Accelerated Access to Justice Act, 2021. It's not yet the law, but if adopted, would require couples to proactively change their Wills when they marry, separate or divorce.
Here's what could change.
- Currently, Wills are automatically revoked on marriage, unless they were "made with marriage in mind."
- A divorced spouse is left out, but separated spouses inherit what was in your Wills when you died.
- If you die without a Will, divorced or separated spouses automatically inherit part of your estate.
- With the change, your Wills would stay in place unless updated.
- Divorced spouses and, new to Ontario estate law, spouses who live separate and apart from you for at least three years (with or without a separation agreement) would be prevented from being estate trustees.
- Gifts in Wills to divorced or long-separated spouses would also be revoked. Assets like pensions or life insurance left to former spouses as designated beneficiaries would not.
- If you die without a Will, former spouses would no longer automatically inherit or be able to make claims for net equalization of your property, as they do now. But common law spouses might inherit -- the new law doesn't exclude them.
- Handwritten Wills could be valid if they "substantially" meet Will-making rules in Ontario. Currently, they must "strictly" comply with Wills rules.
- Virtual Wills and power of attorney documents, made via video call, would be permanently allowed, instead of temporarily due to social distancing.
Axess Law's Wills and estates lawyers can answer your questions if you are uncertain how Wills laws apply to you. Call or drop in -- we're open 7 days a week.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Rules for making Wills in Ontario can leave you confused or put your assets at risk. Why risk your valuables or loved ones' well-being? Our Wills lawyers know all the rules. We draft simple, plain language Wills or make complex, multiple Wills that include business shares you own.
You can access lawyers any day of the week, day or evening, when you use Axess Law. We have Will and power of attorney lawyers near you, anywhere in Ontario via video call or by visiting our retail locations.
What Wills and Estates in Ontario Cost
Cost of a Will and power of attorney in Ontario an issue? Axess has cheap lawyers (Toronto and area) who make simple Wills for just $199.99 and up. You pay $249.99 and up if we add power of attorney documents at the same time. Multiple Wills start at $600 and up.
Book a Will Lawyer Online
Arrange lawyers for Wills quickly and easily with Axess Law's convenient online booking form. We make virtual appointments with Wills and estates Ontario lawyers anywhere you are. You can drop into our open law offices or dial our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line any time. Our offices have onsite parking and easy transit access.