Please note that the information provided herein is not legal advice and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. If you need legal advice with respect to Wills and Estates matters, you should seek professional assistance (e.g. make a post on Dynamic Legal Forms). We have Toronto, Ottawa, Hamilton, Brampton, Mississauga and other Ontario lawyers registered to help you.
This is the first of a series of blogs about Codicils (Ontario). Here, I’ll be discussing what a Will is and how it can be amended.
What is a Will?
A Will (also referred to as a “Last Will and Testament”) is a legal document that basically provides instructions as to how your remaining assets and liabilities are to be dealt with. It also provides for instructions as to who will be the “Estate Trustee” responsible for administering your final wishes and identifying who your beneficiaries will be. Finally, a Will can allow you to appoint a “Custodian” for your minor children or dependents and “Guardian” of their property.
According to section 1(1) of the Succession Law Reform Act, R.S.O. 1990, c. S.26, a Will also includes a “Codicil”, which is a document that cancels certain parts of your Will or adds new parts to it and which must be read together with your Will as one document. A person who makes and signs a valid Will is referred to as a “Testator” (for a man) or “Testatrix” (for a woman).
When you die in Ontario, your assets are pooled together into something called an “Estate”. An Estate Trustee is appointed in the Will (and a substitute is usually appointed in case the primary estate trustee is unwilling or unable to perform his or her duties) and must:
- administer the Will by paying out liabilities (e.g. taxes owed, funeral expenses, creditors, etc.);
- manage remaining assets (e.g. selling them, gifting them, investing them, etc.); and
- distribute the residue of the estate (i.e. the remaining funds after everything else is taken care of) to the beneficiaries designated under the Will.
How can a Will be amended?
If you want to amend your will, you will generally need to create a Codicil (i.e. a legal document). The Codicil is a written document that refers to the Will and the parts that are being altered and must be signed, dated, and witnessed by two parties as per the regular rules of making a Will under the Succession Law Reform Act: s. 18.
Codicils that amend previous Codicils should also state that fact (i.e. that a particular Codicil is being revoked). Worth mentioning is that if there are many Codicils, it would probably make sense to re-write the entire Will (for simplicity’s sake).
By the way, if you have a Will and are looking for an Ontario Codicil to make changes to it, you’ve come to the right place:
This legal form can be used by a Testator or Testatrix (i.e. a person who has already made a Will) to make minor changes to their Last Will and Testament (i.e. Will) without needing to re-write the whole thing. This Ontario Codicil also comes with a FREE VIDEO GUIDE (watch a useful example of how this legal form can be customized), a FREE DL GUIDE (read helpful information about this legal form), and another FREE DL GUIDE that offers valuable insight into how contracts can be challenged) What are you waiting for? Go to Dynamic Legal Forms. Best of all, if you DO need a lawyer and need some legal advice, simply make a post and get FREE quotes from Ontario lawyers focusing on the area of law you require!
This information and this sample video guide is NOT legal advice and is provided for informational purposes only. If you need an Ontario lawyer, go to Dynamic Legal Forms and make a post.