Common law couples do not have the right to seek an equalization of family property under current Ontario legislation – this fact cannot be overstated. As discussed in a previous post by my colleagues:
Division of property is dealt with in Part I of the Family Law Act. When married couples separate, generally speaking they are entitled to divide their property equally between the two spouses, regardless of who legally owns the property. Under the Family Law Act, “spouses” are entitled to divide their property on the breakdown of the marriage. “Spouse” is defined as either (1) two people who are married to each other, or, (2) two people who entered into a marriage that is either void or voidable, in good faith. It does not include “common law couples” – even couples who have lived together for more than least 3 years, or are living together and are the parents of a child. So, what does that mean exactly? It means that common law couples cannot look to the Family Law Act
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.