Ontario has amended its regulations under the Successional Law Reform Act to reflect the modern day experiences of individuals and challenges faced with living through a pandemic as well as changing long standing legal principles in estate planning.
The 3 biggest changes are:
- Remote Execution of Wills is now Possible: Under the previous law, all Wills must be executed and witnessed in person. However, dealing with the Covid pandemic has made in person meetings/signings extremely difficult or impossible in some cases. With this change the remote execution and witnessing of Wills in counterpart are now permitted on a permanent basis.
- Marriage no longer revokes a will: Further amendments were made which stop the consequences of a predatory marriage by repealing the clause which provides that a will or part of a will is revoked by marriage. This means the past legal principle that a marriage revoked a Will, is no longer in effect.
- Separated Spouses, not just Divorced Spouses, are disentitled under previous Wills: The Accelerating Access to Justice Act further amended the Successional Law Reform Act adding necessary modifications to the situation when the testator and his or her spouse are separated at the testator’ death. This means that if the spouses have entered into a valid separation agreement, arbitration agreement and have been living separate and apart for three years at the time of the testator’s death, that separated surviving spouse will no longer be entitled under the Will of the deceased (subject to limited exceptions)
Now may be the time to speak with Deborah and Renee about your Estate Planning documents, and what these changes mean for you.
(disclaimer this blog is not intended as legal advice)