Willezy

Table of Contents

BENEFICIARIES AND WITNESSES

PART A: BENEFICIARIES

1. Who should I name as my beneficiaries?

Choosing your beneficiaries is one of the most important decisions you will make when creating your Last Will & Testament in Ontario. Your beneficiaries are the people or organizations that will receive your assets after you die.

Provincial law mandates that those towards whom you may have a financial obligation (E.g., spouse, dependent children) have a claim on your estate. If you are intending to disinherit your spouse or children, we recommend you seek the opinion of a legal professional.

There are a few things to consider when choosing your beneficiaries:

  • Your relationships: Who are the people who are most important to you? Who do you want to receive your assets after you die?
  • Your financial needs: Consider the financial needs of your beneficiaries. Do they have any dependents? Are they struggling financially?
  • Your values: What are your values? Do you want to support any particular causes or organisations after you die?

Once you have considered these factors, you can start to make a list of potential beneficiaries. It is important to be as specific as possible when naming your beneficiaries. Willezy will help you be very specific about your beneficiaries and the shares that they receive.

We will also support in naming alternate beneficiaries in case your primary beneficiaries are unable or unwilling to receive your assets. 

It is important to note that you can change your beneficiaries at any time by updating your Will. 

2. Can I leave my entire estate to charity?

Yes, you can leave your entire estate to charity. Leaving your estate to charity is a great way to make a difference in the world and to support the causes that are important to you. Willezy can support you in leaving your entire estate to charity. 

Provincial law mandates that those towards whom you may have a financial obligation (E.g., spouse, dependent children) have a claim on your estate. If you are intending to disinherit your spouse or children, we recommend you seek the opinion of a legal professional.

There are a few things to keep in mind if you are considering leaving your entire estate to charity. First, you should make sure that your Will is valid and enforceable. This means that it should be signed by you and two witnesses, and it should be dated. Willezy will provide you detailed signing instructions to ensure your will legally valid.

Second, you should tell your loved ones about your plans to leave your entire estate to charity. This will help to avoid any conflict or confusion after you die.

Here are some additional tips if you are considering leaving your entire estate to charity:

  • Choose a charity or charities that are important to you. There are many different charities to choose from, so make sure to choose ones that support the causes that you care about the most.
  • Talk to the charities about your plans. Let the charities know that you are considering leaving them a gift in your Will. They may be able to provide you with information about their work and how your gift will be used.

Leaving your entire estate to charity is a big decision, but it can be a very rewarding one. By supporting the causes that are important to you, you can make a lasting difference in the world.

3. Can I have beneficiaries who are minors?

Yes, you can have beneficiaries who are minors in your Last Will and Testament in Ontario. However, there are a few things to keep in mind.

First, minors cannot legally own property. This means that if you leave an inheritance to a minor, you will need to appoint a guardian for their assets. This guardian will be responsible for managing the inheritance until the minor reaches the age of majority (18 years old).

Second, you should consider the tax implications of leaving an inheritance to a minor. In Canada, there is a graduated tax rate for minors. This means that the more money a minor inherits, the higher their tax rate will be. At Willezy, we help you not only leave your estate to beneficiaries who are minors, but also enable you to decide when the minor beneficiary will inherit the estate.

Here are some additional tips if you are considering leaving an inheritance to a minor:

  • Choose a guardian wisely. The guardian you choose will be responsible for managing the minor’s inheritance until they reach the age of majority. Make sure to choose someone who is trustworthy and who is capable of managing money responsibly.
  • Talk to the minor’s parents. If the minor’s parents are still alive, talk to them about your plans to leave them an inheritance. Let them know who you have chosen as the guardian for the minor’s assets and how you would like the inheritance to be used.

By following these tips, you can help to ensure that your minor beneficiaries are taken care of after you die.

4. Can I disinherit my spouse or children?

Provincial law mandates that those towards whom you may have a financial obligation (E.g., spouse, dependent children) have a claim on your estate. If you are intending to disinherit your spouse or children, we recommend you seek the opinion of a legal professional.

5. Can I choose to not name any beneficiaries?

Yes, you may choose to not name any beneficiaries. However, when doing your will through Willezy we require you to name at least one beneficiary. This is because one of the key functions of your will is to provide clarity on what happens to your assets / estate after your time.

6. What happens if a beneficiary predeceases me?

In the unfortunate event that one or more beneficiaries predeceases you, Willezy will help you determine what should happen to that share of your estate. You may choose to distribute the share among other beneficiaries, pass it onto the children of the deceased beneficiary, donate the share to charity, or even give the share to another beneficiary. We provide you an extensive set of options to put the power of deciding what happens to your estate back in your hands.

7. What if I leave a gift to a beneficiary, but that gift no longer exists when I pass away?

Legally, specific gifts that you give specific individuals are assumed to be a part of your estate. If you decide, in your will, to gift a specific item (e.g., a Rolex watch) to your nephew but lose the Rolex before you pass away, then your nephew does not receive the Rolex watch. Importantly, your nephew (or any beneficiary) is not entitled to an equivalent or alternative compensation from your estate.


PART B. WITNESSES

1. What is a Witness and who can be my Witness?

A witness for a last will and testament in Canada is a person who is present when the will-maker (also known as the testator) signs their will, and who then signs the will themselves to confirm that the testator signed it freely and willingly, while of sound mind.

To make the will legally valid, you need two witnesses who fit the below requirements.

Requirements for witnesses to a will in Canada:

  • Witnesses must be at least 18 years old.
  • Witnesses cannot be beneficiaries of the will, or the spouse or partner of a beneficiary.
  • Witnesses cannot be anyone else who has something to gain from the testator’s death, such as a child of a beneficiary.

Remember, as long as your witnesses fit the above criteria, your witness could be relayed to you, and can live in the same address as well.

Here are some tips for choosing your witness:

  • Choose witnesses who are trustworthy and reliable.
  • Choose witnesses who are likely to be alive and willing to testify in court many years from now.
  • Choose witnesses who are not beneficiaries of your will, or the spouse or partner of a beneficiary.
  • Choose witnesses who do not have anything to gain from your death.

2. Should my witnesses physically sign my Will?

As of Nov 2023, yes! Except for British Columbia, every other province requires the witnesses to physically sign Wills (“wet signature”).

3. How does the signing process work?

Before signing your will:

  • Make sure you understand everything in it.
  • Update or edit it if needed.
  • Destroy all other copies to avoid confusion.

On the day of signing:

  • Meet your witnesses in-person
  • Initial each page of the will with your witnesses.
  • Sign your full name on the last page of the will in front of your witnesses.
  • Ensure your witnesses sign the will in your presence.

Other important tips:

  • Keep only one original copy of the will.
  • Sign the original copy in blue ink.
  • Do not sign any photocopies of the will.

Once you have signed and witnessed your will, it becomes your legal last will and testament.

4. Should my witnesses expect to be contacted in the future?

That depends on whether your estate needs to go through probate. If your estate has to go through probate then, in Ontario (and most other provinces), one of your witnesses will need to provide an affidavit of execution confirming that he/she was witness to the creation of your will.

You can avoid additional steps later by completing the affidavit of execution as you complete your will. Then the affidavit needs to be stored along with your will.

If you do not provide an affidavit of execution, then your witness would be required to provide one after your passing. The task of contacting your witness lies with your executor. If your executor cannot find your witness or the witness has passed away, then the executor needs to convince the courts about the efforts undertaken to locate the witnesses.

Outside of the above, your witness could be summoned by the courts in the event of disputes on the validity of your will.

We recommend you complete your affidavit of execution right away to avoid ambiguity later.

5. Does a notary or a legal professional need to be consulted regarding the validity of my witnesses?

No. If you follow the requirements mentioned above and confirm to the general laws of your province, a notary or lawyer is not required to validate your witnesses.

Share the knowledge.

Empower your loved ones beyond your lifetime. ​