Effective January 1st, Ontario is enacting new laws which are focused on the validity of wills when it comes to re-married/divorced couples.
When someone remarries after a divorce, their Last Will and Testament from the previous marriage will no longer be deemed invalid.
We have outlined an example scenario of the new changes and explained in detail what is involved with the new updates.
Here’s an Example Situation
Married couple, John and Mary decided many years ago that in the event their spouse was no longer alive, their estate would go equally to their children.
Their financial lives were solid and their estate plans were pretty straightforward.
When the time came for John and Mary decided to get a divorce, it ended up being very amicable and assets were split 50/50.
Since then, John has decided to remarry and if his marriage occurs before Jan. 1, 2022, his existing will is no longer considered valid.
If he were to die, his estate would be considered “intestate,” meaning without a will to give direction as to what happens to his assets. (This is a whole other issue and the subject of a future discussion; in the meantime, best to contact us today to discuss further.)
This is also assuming that there was no premarital agreement in place. If his marriage occurs in the new year, it’s a whole new story.
Where the Legislation Changes are Occurring?
Changes in the legislation under Schedule 9 to Bill 245 are designed to help protect vulnerable seniors from “predatory marriages” – where there is a hidden agenda by a new spouse that preys on the vulnerability of the other spouse.
This change stops the automatic revocation of wills, which may not be the intention of the testator (writer of the will). A new will can always be signed if the testator has the required level of mental capacity needed to make a new will.
If it is John’s wish is to still leave his estate to his children and some to his new wife, it will be set out in a brand new will.
In conclusion, it is best to regularly have your will reviewed to reflect your current situation even if you don’t think there are any changes to be made.
Laws are ever-evolving and it’s best to ensure everything is up to date as you don’t want your last wishes for your estate to be questioned.
This change effective Jan. 1 is for Ontario legislation only. Never make assumptions when it comes to what will happen with your estate. Please contact us today to learn about your local jurisdiction to see whether your local laws are being changed.