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Legislative Changes That May Impact Your Estate Planning

Lady with brown hair and glasses in an orange t-shirt overwhelmed by reading various documents.

As of January 1, 2022, the Ontario government passed the Accelerating Access to Justice Act, 2021, S.O. 2021, c. 4 - Bill 245, which includes amendments and new introductions to estate planning and estate legislation in the Province of Ontario.

Marriage No Longer Revokes a Previous Will

In the Province of Ontario, a marriage between spouses will no longer automatically render a Will null and void. This change in estates law marks a significant departure from previous regulations. The Province of Ontario hopes to protect individuals with substantial assets from being taken advantage of through manipulative marriage proposals, where an unscrupulous person may seek to marry and benefit from the estate of their unsuspecting partner, thereby bypassing the original Will and leaving the new spouse as a primary beneficiary.

Separation May Eliminate Property Rights

Regardless of whether a legal divorce has been finalized, a separation will be treated as if you are divorced and the rights to property will no longer be applicable to a former spouse. It is important to note that spouses will be classified as separated if they have resided separately for a minimum of THREE (3) years, possess a legally binding separation agreement, or have a separation agreement mandated by a Court Order. Upon separation, any gifts or inheritances designated for a former spouse in a Will are no longer valid, and they cannot be appointed as an executor of the Will. Additionally, if someone dies without a Will, their former spouse will not have any claim to inheritance.

How to Save an Invalid Will

In the past, difficulties have arisen when a Will has come to light that seemingly reflects the deceased individual's intentions, yet fails to meet the necessary legal requirements for valid execution. In other words, where a Will was not executed adhering to the legal requirements, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice would deem the Will to be void.

The recent update in the law is a beneficial one and aligns the Province of Ontario with majority of other provinces by adhering to the principles of 'substantial compliance'. Thus, the Ontario Superior Court of Justice can now interpret Wills that were once previously deemed invalid due to minor technical issues as valid, fulfilling the testator's true intentions.

Toronto (Scarborough) & Bowmanville Estate Planning Lawyer

Whether you reside in Toronto (Scarborough), Bowmanville or elsewhere in Ontario, feel free to call our Wills & Powers of Attorney lawyer at 416 953 0040 or email our estate planning law office at and schedule an appointment today.

PLEASE NOTE: It's important to note that laws and regulations are subject to change, and the information provided in the article may not reflect the most up-to-date legal requirements. Therefore, before making any decisions or taking any action, it's essential to consult with a legal professional to ensure that you have the most current and accurate information.

The content provided on this website is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as professional legal advice. If you have specific questions or concerns about your situation, it's always best to consult with our highly competent estate lawyer who can provide personalized guidance.


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