All About Estates

Bill 245 and Changes to the Succession Law Reform Act

On February 5, 2021, I wrote a blog on Section 16(b) of the Succession Law Reform Act. Now, almost three months later, Ontario’s Bill 245 has received royal assent. Among many other changes to various pieces of legislation, Bill 245 revokes section 16 of the Succession Law Reform Act (the “SLRA”) in its entirety. Accordingly, a Will will no longer be revoked by a subsequent marriage of the testator.

This is a change welcomed by many practitioners, as it protects both clients who have carefully considered their plans prior to marriage, and do not want them set aside on the basis of marriage, and those clients who may be victims of “predatory marriages”.

Interestingly, the entirety of Section 16 has been removed, without any grandfathering provisions. It’s not clear, then, if a Will that was revoked prior to the law coming into effect by a subsequent marriage of the testator can be redeemed by the application of the section 16(b) if the testator dies subsequent to Bill 245 coming into effect, as this provision no longer exists, or if, in fact, the Will itself is revived by the removal of section 16.[1]

While a Will is no longer revoked by a subsequent marriage, estate planners must still advise clients of potential changes to be made to their Wills following marriage. In the absence of a domestic contract between the parties, a claim for equalization under section 2 of the Family Law Act, or dependents support under Part V of the SLRA are still very much available remedies for a spouse otherwise not adequately provided for under a Will.

While Bill 245 makes welcome changes to the SLRA, we should still be reminding our clients (and ourselves) that our estate plans need to change as our life circumstances do.

[1] I suspect the revisions to Form 74.4 – Application for Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee with a Will (and the related 74.4.1) may be illuminating on this point, as they currently require a “Yes” or “No” answer as to whether or not the deceased married after the date of the Will.

About Emily Hubling
Emily Hubling is an associate in the Trusts, Wills, Estates and Charities group at Fasken. Emily has experience in advising estate trustees in administering a range of complex estate matters, including intestacies, cross-border matters, and contested estates. Working closely with clients’ advisors, Emily prepares Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Trusts to assist clients in fulfilling their unique estate-planning objectives.

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