Own a Business? Know the Importance of Dual Wills

March 6th, 2014 by Dan Stone

Last Will and Testment document with gavel and pen Preparing dual wills is a useful estate planning tool for business owners and offers the estate significant savings with respect to probate fees.

When administering an estate, the first step is often to apply for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee (a process commonly referred to as probate). In making this application, the executor/estate trustee furnishes the Court with an estate value. It is based on this value that the Court requires payment of a probate fee. The fee is determined as follows:

  • $5 for each $1,000.00 or part thereof of the first $50,000.00 of the value of the estate; and
  • $15 for each $1,000.00 or part thereof by which the value of the estate exceeds $50,000.00.

Not all assets are created equal, however. Some assets do not require a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee in order to permit the estate trustee to redeem or otherwise deal with those assets. Corporate assets, such as shares held in a private corporation, are perhaps the best example of assets that do not require probate. The use of dual wills effectively excludes corporate assets from the process and saves the estate probate fees on the value of those corporate assets. What the testator ends up with is a Primary Will, which includes assets such as real estate and investments held personally and a Secondary (Corporate) Will, which includes corporate assets. The Primary Will is the only will subject to probate. The practical outcome of this approach is to reduce overall probate fees payable by the estate, thereby ensuring that more money remains in the estate.

For more information or assistance regarding dual wills or probate fees, please contact one of our lawyers http://www.devrylaw.ca.


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