Revocation of a Will by Marriage: A Reminder


Written on March 1, 2013 – 8:31 am | by Laura West

It is important to remember that in some jurisdictions in Canada, a pre-existing valid Will of an individual will be revoked upon her marriage by operation of law except in certain specific circumstances.  Although statutory reform in certain provinces has (or will) do away with the rule that marriage revokes a Will, it remains in force in Ontario.

In Ontario, the Succession Law Reform Act (Ontario) provides that a will is revoked by the marriage of the testator except where there is a declaration in the will that it is made in contemplation of the marriage.  (There are two other specific scenarios set out in the legislation where marriage does not automatically revoke a Will).

Usually when people are planning for a wedding, they do not normally think of making a new Will.  However, as a result of this rule, if an individual gets married without creating a new will, and then dies, she would normally die intestate, which could lead to consequences that she never desired or intended.

As a result, it is important that estate planning considerations be part of the planning for a new marriage in order to avoid the revocation of a pre-existing Will (in those jurisdictions where this rule is in force) and also to ensure that the testator’s estate plan is reflective of his new personal circumstances.

Thanks

Laura West

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