Garton & Harris

Estate administration and the Titanic clause

It's horrible to think about, but what if disaster should strike and an entire family perishes at the same time? British Columbia residents in the process of fashioning their estate plans might do well to consider adding a "Titanic" clause to their wills to make estate administration easier should the unthinkable befall an entire family. The clause gets its name from Ida Straus's refusal to leave her husband on board the ill-fated Titanic steamship. The elderly pair died together.

The clause is also known as a simultaneous death clause or common disaster clause. In British Columbia, as in Ontario, when both spouses die at the same time, neither is said to have survived the other and assets will go directly to heirs. However, with today's blended families and family members living out of province or country, having wills that reflect the wishes of what people want is truly important. Estate administration should not be about guessing.

A British Columbia lawyer who has experience in wills and estates law will be able to include a Titanic clause when drawing up wills. It is better to be safe than sorry. Without such a clause, things may get complicated should disaster indeed strike. 

Estate administration can go smoothly if everything is planned out beforehand. A lawyer will be able to guide British Columbia residents when it comes to including certain clauses in their wills and provide information in regard to what those clauses mean. He or she will also be able to answer any estate planning questions and guide residents in the estate planning process. 

Source:, "Lack of a 'Titanic clause' could swamp estate planning", Augusta Dwyer, Accessed on Sept. 11, 2017

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