A goal of many is to avoid probate fees. Probate is the court order which confirms the validity of a deceased’s will and the appointment of the executor named in the will who will distribute your assets in accordance with the probated will.
Probate fees (approximately 1.4% of the value of your estate assets passing to the executor) are paid to the government to obtain probate. There are many strategies that can reduce probate fees each of which should be carefully considered.
Since the 2014 legislative changes in BC, one of those strategies is the use of multiple wills.
Not all assets need probate to be administered; for example, shares in privately held companies in usual circumstances do not require probate when there is no concern as to the validity of the will and where no wills variation claims are expected.
When multiple wills are used, any assets requiring a grant of probate for administration (such as real estate, vehicles and bank accounts registered alone in the deceased’s name) are administered by one will while assets not requiring probate (such as shares) are covered under a second will which is not probated.
It is essential that you seek the advice of an experienced estate planning lawyer who can review the various strategies used to reduce or avoid probate fees. At BKS Law, we have that experience.