Clauses In Will

There is no single, preferable way to draft a will. In fact, they take on many different forms and longtime legal practitioners will almost inevitably adopt their own styles. However, there are clauses that a present in most wills, which have essentially come to be seen as standard based on the requirements of the Succession Law Reform Act and the various common law cases that have been decided over the years.

Introductory Clauses


Most wills, for obvious reasons, lead with the introduction of the testator, that is, the person making the will. Drafting lawyers will usually include several identifying factors in addition to the name, in the understanding that they might be needed during the Certificate application process.

This is usually followed by a clear revocation of any previous wills. It is important to note that if the intention is to make a few minor edits to an existing will, the proper method for doing that is through a codicil. If a will is being made, unless there is a specific reason not to, it should be made with the intention of making it the final and only will. This only indicates to all parties that this is the only will that should be considered and all previous wills are to be discounted. In case of a dispute over the estate, the courts will also know which will should be considered the final one.

Finally, a executor and trustee should be clearly named. Because most wills use the terms executor and trustee interchangeable and some wills name multiple parties that should act together, most wills clarify that any use of the word “trustee” should be seen as a reference to whatever parties were named in this clause and that the word is interchangeable with the word executor.

Disposition


While the payment of and debts or taxes after the death of the grantor is required by law, most wills contain clauses confirming that it is the duty of the executor to make these payments on behalf of the estate prior to any distribution. This also makes it very clear to all parties involved that the trustee has this obligation and will make it clear that these payments might affect their overall entitlements under the estate.

The most important part of any will are the gifts and bequests. Here the grantor will outline specifically which parties are to be given specific items in their possession and under what terms. Sometimes these gifts take the form of something tangible, like a piano, whereas other times they are restricted to financial bequests. A conditional gift is one that relies on some sort of prerequisite, such as “If the (beneficiary) is at least twenty-five years old on the date of my death”. Other gifts do not have such restrictions.

Once all the specific gifts and monetary entitlements have been fulfilled, there is usually a residual clause. Residue in the context of a will is a specific legal term which references everything that is left over after all the gifts and bequests have been made. Many people are not even fully aware of what may form a part of their estate and almost no one can know what will form their estate upon their deaths. People will often make a will and then live on for decades, changing homes, making investments, acquiring new liabilities etc. The residue serves as a catchall term to reference the net assets of the estate, regardless of what those might be, and what to do with it.

Specific Directions


After the dispositions are finished, specific directions and waivers usually follow. For one, if anyone under the age of eighteen, a minor, is set to inherit anything from the estate, a trust will have to be established to take care of the property until that person reaches the age of majority.

While there is no specific requirement for how this is to be drafted, most grantors simply follow their lawyer’s drafting advice. Such trusts will allow the trustee to use the money for the benefit of the minor person, without giving them full control of it.

Other clauses allow the trustee a broad range of power to sell, convey and otherwise turn the estate in cash for the purpose of dividing it between the beneficiaries. In some cases a grantor might specifically direct the trustee to not dispose of specific property, such as a rental residence, which would need to be clearly spelled out. Other clauses deal with the exclusion of spouses of the beneficiaries from any inheritance or share, indemnifying the trustee from litigation arising from the administration of the estate, and appointing the guardian for any minor children.

Jurat


The jurat is one of the most crucial parts of any will. In it the testator will swear that the will is a reflection of their final wishes, and two witnesses will confirm that they did so voluntarily. One of the witnesses, usually contemporaneously with the signing of the will, will swear an affidavit to that effect.

If you are looking to have a professionally drafted made for the benefit of your estate and descendants call Empel Law Professional Corporation for a consultation at 416-500-1937.

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Arkadiusz J. Empel urodził się w Katowicah. Jako dziecko emigrował do Kanady, razem z rodziną, lecz wrócił jako student aby ukończyć Pracę Magisterską w Krakowie. Przez swoją pracę z polonią w okolicy Toronto utrzymał władność w swojim języku ojczystym. Jeżeli Państwo życzy się skonsultować prosto z adwokatem Polski, proszę przedzwonić na numer 416-500-1937.