It is becoming increasingly common for lawyers to discuss or recommend to clients to have two wills prepared if the testator has a substantial investment in one or more private companies .
This plan involves having one will to govern the estate assets that require probate and a second will to govern those estate assets that do not require probate. The customary objective is to achieve a significant savings in Estate Administration Tax.
Usually the will that governs the assets requiring probate is called the “Primary Will” and is signed first, and the will that governs the assets that don’t require probate is called the “Secondary Will” and is signed immediately afterwards.
Assets that can usually be dealt with without the necessity of a formal grant of probate by the court include things like shares in a privately held corporation, partnership interests, beneficial interests in a trust, unsecured debts, and household goods and personal effects except for those that are specifically dealt with under the primary will.
Sometimes even real property can be transferred without probate.
When a person dies, his or her common law spouse is usually entitled to make a claim for support against the estate of the deceased partner, much like the situation between living spouses after a separation.
Where the true nature of the relationship is in dispute, whether or not a person qualifies as a common law spouse can be a difficult issue. The issue is even more difficult when one of the parties to the relationship has died and therefore is not available to describe how the parties felt about each other.
Like many aspects of common law relationships the guidelines that the courts have developed in these kinds of cases might surprise many people.
In order to qualify for support from the estate, the claimant must establish that he/she is a dependent and that the person who died, with or without a will, has not made adequate provision for the proper support of the claimant.
If the claimant can establish this the Court has broad powers to order that the estate pay such support as