May 2, 2019
Like many legal queries, the answer to this question is not black and white. However, the most common reason for individuals create a primary will, and then a secondary will, is to avoid paying unnecessary probate fees. The other most common scenario is that secondary wills are used to breakdown down complex estates for executors and trustees.
It’s important to note that creating a secondary will is different than someone having two wills. A secondary will is done on purpose. If there is a question of multiple wills, then it becomes a question of which will should be upheld as the legal, valid will.
How do secondary wills help with probate fees and large estates?
What the law says about secondary wills
Recently, an Ontario court ruled that primary wills are invalid if they allowed the estate trustee to decide which assets fell into which will. This ruling impacts how primary and secondary wills could be used going forward. However, the Ontario Divisional court overruled this decision, and provided further clarity on how primary and secondary wills could be used.
If you have questions about creating a secondary will, it’s best to consult an experienced estates lawyer. He or she will be able to provide you with legal advice on the current laws in place, and what rules apply when you create a primary and a secondary will.