It is good practice to review your will every three to five years in order to ensure that new circumstances, rules and changes in your testamentary desires are properly reflected in this important document. The next time you review your will, you should consider whether or not multiple wills are applicable for your estate.
Based on a 1998 Ontario Court decision (Granovsky), it is now generally accepted that a taxpayer’s estate can be administered by more than one will. Where shares of a private company make up a substantial portion of the estate of a deceased individual, and these shares are transferred to a beneficiary by a separate will, substantially reduced probate fees can result. Probate fees on all estate property over $50,000 are assessed at a rate of 1.5%. Consequently, if shares worth $5-million are successfully transferred through a will not requiring probate, the estate could save $75,000.