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Multiple wills in British Columbia

Having more than one will has a very limited purpose.  Multiple wills help reduce the overall value of assets that have to pass through probate in an uncontested will situation. The multiple-will technique has been used in Ontario to reduce exposure to probate taxes in that province, but it's somewhat different in British Columbia.

In one particular instance, Ontario ruled that if someone dies having more than one will (with a common executor), the executor seeking probate doesn't have to probate all the wills. He or she has the choice to probate whichever wills of the deceased and probate taxes would apply just on assets that were part of the will probated.  In British Columbia, however,  probate fees are calculated on the gross value of all property that passes to the personal representative of the deceased --  in other words, to the executor of the wills in question. 

In other words, in British Columbia, if an executor is applying for probate, he or she must list all assets of the deceased person that passes to him or her. But, the executor is not obligated to disclose any assets passing to any other executor under another will.  It should be noted that more than one will may limit the value of assets that need to be probated, but only if none of the wills are challenged. 

British Columbia residents thinking of adopting the multiple wills format, should talk with a lawyer experienced in wills and estate law. These wills need to be drafted meticulously so one will does not revoke the other. A lawyer's expertise will ensure each will deals with the right assets.

Source: lycosasset.com, "Multiple Wills", Accessed on July 23, 2017

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