SEPARATION AND THE IMPACT ON ESTATE PLANNING
It is important to review your estate planning upon separation from your spouse. Separation by itself will not have an effect on your Will or the distribution of your estate. Some of the things to consider and discuss with your lawyer are:
- You should consider revoking your Will and Powers of Attorney and making new ones right away, and possibly another Will when matters with your spouse are resolved;
- If you do not have a Will, you should consider preparing one;
- If you own property with your spouse as joint tenants, including your matrimonial home, you should consider the advisability of severing the joint tenancy;
- You should consider changing your beneficiary designations for life insurance policies, RRSPs, etc.
When you are legally divorced in Ontario, your appointment of your spouse as estate trustee or a clause in your Will naming your spouse as a beneficiary of your estate is revoked. However, this does not apply if you are separated from your spouse but not yet divorced. In order to prevent your separated spouse from acting as your estate trustee or receiving a share of your estate under your Will, you will need to prepare a new Will.
It is also important to note that marriage automatically revokes an existing Will unless the Will specifically states that it was made in contemplation of your marriage to your spouse.
Feel free to contact us at any point for assistance or advice with respect to Estate Law, Estate Planning, Estate Administration or Estate Litigation. We may be reached at 705-435-4339 / 1-877-85LEGAL (1-877-855-3425) or contact us via email.