Do You Need a Second Will?

Thanks to a recent change in BC’s estate laws, business owners can now reduce the amount of probate fees payable by their estate by utilizing a second will.  Probate usually becomes necessary because third parties, such as financial institutions, or the Land Title Office, want assurance that the executor has the authority to deal with a particular asset.  Probate fees are payable to the government based on the value of the estate assets.  The articles of most private companies allow for the transfer of a deceased shareholder’s shares to the estate without probate.  However, if probate is required because other assets were owned solely by the deceased (such as a vehicle, bank account or real estate), the company shares must be listed in the probate application and will be subject to probate fees.  If the company shares are dealt with in a separate will, probate fees for the shares are avoided.  To benefit from a second will, you must appoint a different executor under each will.  If you think you would benefit from dual wills, we can help.