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Posted on March 1st 2009 in Estate Law

Did You Know?

Did You Know?
The Right of Survivorship

When purchasing a home, most couples will take title as joint tenants. This means that both parties are equally owners of the whole property. What you might not realize is that the key aspect of joint tenancy is the right of survivorship. When one half of the couple dies, the survivor automatically becomes of the owner of the entire property. Since the law deems that the property passes to the survivor the second before the death of the other joint tenant, it passes outside the estate and will not be subject to probate taxes.

Assets (except land)
With respect to all other assets that a couple may own, the law presumes that they are owned jointly, unless there is an indication to the contrary. These assets may include household goods, vehicles, bank accounts and investments. The surviving spouse will acquire everything because of the right of survivorship.

Probate Fees
If a will must be probated, an estate administration tax will be charged based on the value of the estate. (Assets that pass outside the estate are not taken into consideration.) In Ontario, the estate administration tax is $5 per $1,000 on the first $50,000, plus $15 per $1,000 of the estate’s value over $50,000. There is no maximum.

Further Information
It is important to do estate planning and to review it periodically. Your family will have enough to contend with, help make things easier.

If you require assistance with your own planning or with the administration of a deceased’s estate please contact us. We would be happy to work with you.1