Site logo

New Legislation For Wills

June 24, 2014

Tax Question:

What are the new rules for wills and why do I need a will?


The new Wills and Estates Succession Act (WESA) came into effect on March 31, 2014. There are major changes for those people that do not have a will. There are only minor changes for those who currently have a will.


Everyone should have a will to facilitate the distribution of their possessions and assets upon death. A will is also important for the following reasons:

  • Appointing a guardian for any of your children under the age of 19
  • Appointing a representative to look after your affairs, which is called the executor
  • Designating a certain age for your beneficiaries to receive their inheritance
  • Avoiding the provincial laws if you die without a will such as the government appointing a public guardian and trustee for your children
  • Reducing the cost of administering your estate
  • Business succession planning

Here is a list of major changes as per the WESA for a person who dies without a will:

  • The spouse is entitled to $300,000 if all the children are shared with the deceased (previous spousal share was $65,000). The spouse only gets $150,000 if the deceased’s children are from another relationship
  • The spouse receives 50% of the balance of the estate not including the matrimonial home (previous spousal share was split equally with the children)
  • The children will get the remainder of the estate to split equally (the previous share split equally with a spouse)
  • The spouse does not get a life interest in the home (previously the spouse did have a life interest in the home). The spouse will have a right to purchase the matrimonial home or elect to have it considered to be part of the estate
  • Different distribution rules for those who do not have a spouse or child. The new rules will be based on closeness to a parent rather than just blood relations
  • New probate rules and forms are required to be sent to all beneficiaries and heirs

A will should be reviewed when there is a major change in your life such as a birth, death, marriage or marital breakdown in your family. You may also want to change the will if you have a substantial change in assets/liabilities or if there is a change in tax laws.

If you would like more information on this topic, please contact a member of the Empire CPA team by filling out the contact form below.

Canadian and foreign tax laws are complex and have a tendency to change on a frequent basis. As such, the content published above is believed to be accurate as of the date of this post. Before implementing any tax planning, please seek professional advice from a qualified tax professional. Empire, Chartered Professional Accountants will not accept any liability for any tax ramifications that may result from acting based on the information contained above.

Share this post

Related posts