What Is A Dual Will and Why Are They Important?

Dual wills, also known as restricted wills, can be a valuable way to streamline the allocation of your assets, while also saving your loved ones significant headaches upon your death. Below, we’ll discuss some of the basic information to know about dual wills and how they can help you protect your estate. Read on to learn more!

What is a Dual Will?

A dual will means that you have more than one will in place to handle the allocation of your finances and property upon your death. Under WESA (Wills, Estates and Succession Act), dual wills are an effective way of sufficiently separating your estate, especially business and personal assets, as needed.

Generally, dual wills divide assets into those requiring probate (your “General Will”) and those that do not require probate (your “Restricted Will”). Typically, business interests (particularly private company shares) will be allocated into the Restricted Will. Having a dual will can help both your family and executor navigate your assets, all while minimizing probate fees and more.

What Does Probate Entail?

Probate refers to the legal process of vetting a will upon the death of the holder. Once you die, your will must be verified by the Supreme Court of British Columbia in order to grant the named executor the authority to proceed with handling the estate. While every province may handle this process differently, in British Columbia, it’s worth noting that the court requires the estate to pay an average 1.4% probate fee on the value of the assets, before it will issue the grant of probate.

What is the Role of a Restricted Will?

As we mentioned above, dual wills can be extremely effective when it comes to reducing probate fees and general confusion for the executor. Assets that do not require probate and that are included in the Restricted Will, generally do not flow through probate, resulting in savings for the estate.

For example, if you own significant shares in your business that do not require probate, these shares can be allocated to your Restricted Will.

Using the Restricted Will, these assets can be managed by the Restricted Estate without requiring a Grant of Probate to manage them. This would result in savings from the probate fees and filing fees that would have otherwise been incurred if they were left in the General Estate. By having a dedicated split between personal and professional, you’ll save your family time and money as they grieve and give your executor the best chance to uphold your wishes on both sides.

Dual wills can certainly be advantageous across a number of estates, however, there are some caveats to consider when deciding whether a Restricted Will structure is for you.

To explore further, contact our team by emailing estates@papercliplaw.com!

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