Ensure you revisit estate plans when clients move to other provinces and territories. Here’s what to consider.

1. Will validity

Each province and territory has its own criteria for a valid will. The new jurisdiction may have different rules regarding whether a subsequent marriage or divorce revokes a will. And if your client doesn’t have a will, each has its own intestacy rules.

2. Probate

Probate fees differ throughout Canada. Nova Scotia and Ontario are the most expensive, at 1.645% and 1.5% respectively, of the estate’s value on the date of death. Minimizing these fees is less of a worry in Alberta and N.W.T., where they’re capped at $400.

3. Dual wills

If a client relocates to or acquires certain assets in Ontario, such as shares in private corporations, it may be possible to minimize probate fees using multiple wills (different assets are allocated to each will). This strategy may also be available in B.C. under the soon-to-be-in-force Wills, Estates and Succession Act. For real property in Quebec, like a cottage, clients may be able to execute notarial wills to avoid the probate process.
System 1 in action

4. Dependent’s relief

This type of legislation ensures support to a deceased person’s dependants if she failed to provide adequately for them in her will. The Supreme Court of Canada has confirmed that B.C.’s legislative requirement to provide “proper maintenance and support” includes not only the basic necessities of life, but also moral obligations. This requirement can lead the court to redistribute an estate, even to the extent of providing for an adult independent child who was excluded from the will.
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If clients move, revisit their estate plans