Real Time Web Analytics


Sunday, March 21, 2010

When my spouse dies, is my Will still valid?

Twice in the last week, at different seminars, people in my audience said they knew their Will became invalid as soon as their spouse died. What was interesting to me was that each of these people stated this as fact, rather than asking me a question. This leads me to believe that the idea is pretty widespread.

To be more clear, each of these individuals said that if a husband and wife both make Wills, and the husband dies, the wife no longer has a valid Will.

This is completely untrue.

If a Will is properly made, it will anticipate three scenarios, those being:
- the husband dies before the wife
- the wife dies before the husband, and
- they die in a common accident

Quite often when someone is widowed, he or she is advised by their lawyers or accountants to get a new Will. This is not because the Will is invalid. It's because there has been a major change in the widowed person's life and it's a good time to re-think the estate plan. It's a good time to update the naming of an executor.

Also, when a person is widowed, his or her financial picture may change. For example, the person who died may have named the widowed person as a beneficiary in a life insurance policy, RRSP, RRIF, or pension plan, so those funds will be transferred into the widowed person's name. If they owned their home as joint tenants, that property will also transfer into the name of the widowed person by right of survivorship. In other words, it's a good time to sit down with an estate planning lawyer or financial advisor and talk about how financial arrangements might need to be updated.

No comments:

Post a Comment

You might also like

Related Posts with Thumbnails