The iconic French brand

Hermès. You know the brand name. The name that evokes images of rich women walking around with fancy purses. Purses that cost more than a yearly salary.

The makings of an iconic French brand

Who is Nicolas Puech?

What is the Isocrates Foundation?

The French brand that is a household name

The iconic French brand is definitely a luxury brand that only a few can afford. Founded in Paris in 1837 by Thierry Hermès, the brand began as a harness workshop catering to European noblemen. It was once known for creating well-tailored saddles, riding gear, and leather accessories. These were all items only the rich could once afford.

The tradition of catering to the rich carries into 2023; Hermès caters to women who can afford to live in the lap of luxury. Prices for their bags can range from a mere $6,000 to a whopping $31,000 (and higher.) It’s known as being the brand for creating the iconic Kelly Bag and Birkin Bag. Hermès is also a brand known for creating fancy scarves and perfume.

Who is Nicolas Puech?

It should be no surprise then, that Nicolas Puech, a descendant of Hermès, has (an approximately) WHOPPING $12 billion dollars in his name.

Puech purportedly owns a 5.7% stake in Hermès. There was an explosion of interest in the brand’s products after the pandemic (people wanted to spend again): the demand for products increased the value of the brand to nearly $230.8 billion. This means that Puech’s stake own stake in the company is worth around $12 billion dollars.

The 80 year-old was initially going to give the massive fortune to the Isocrates Foundation, a foundation that he created in 2011.

What is the Isocrates Foundation?

The Isocrates Foundation was founded by Puech himself in 2011. Instead of donating to traditional charities, such as the Red Cross, the Foundation supports investigative journalism. The website states that the foundation “supports public interest journalism and media organizations committed to strengthening the field of investigative journalism and the production of independent quality information.” You would think that Nicolas would be eager to donate money to his own foundation, right?

Who is Puech’s legal heir?

Instead, Puech is making his gardener his legal heir through the process of adoption. Naturally, the foundation isn’t too happy with the breach of contract: “From a legal point of view, a unilateral cancellation of the contract of inheritance seems void and unfounded,” the company stated in a statement to press. You would think that it would be VERY easy for Puech to easily void a contract, especially if it’s a contract for his OWN foundation. However, with the gardener now being a legally adopted heir, it is likely that the inheritance for the Foundation will be cut in half, rather than being entirely removed from inheriting anything. If this is true, then there is likelihood that the Foundation will receive 50%, not 100% of Puech’s fortune. The Foundation will most likely be getting $6 billion, not the entire $12 billion. No word on whether or not Puech can be sued for breach of contract. We can only speculate on Puech’s change of heart: why did he decide to make his gardener his legal heir, instead of giving everything to the foundation?

So, we’ll leave you to wonder about what you would do if you were lucky enough to be adopted by one of the richest men in the world.

what is probate

Probate can sound confusing; it sounds as if it is a complex legal term that involving a lot of paperwork, time, and money. At it’s very core, this process is simply about validating the authenticity of a Last Will and Testament. It is often a misunderstood aspect of estate planning and administration. The Executor distributes the deceased’s assets according to their wishes (just as the Executor would in the case without a Last Will and Testament.) Let’s delve into the various aspects of probate in Canada: how it happens, how long the process takes, how it works, the Executor’s responsibilities, the circumstances requiring the process, and the concept of a Grant of Probate.

What is Probate

When Probate occurs

How long the process takes

When Probate happens

Who Handles Probate?

Do I need a lawyer for Probate?

Grant of Probate

Avoiding Probate

The Next Steps

What is Probate?

This legal procedure takes place after an individual passes away. It serves to officially recognize and authenticate the Last Will in question, which grants the Executor the authority to carry out the deceased’s wishes and distribute their assets among beneficiaries. This process ensures that the deceased’s debts are settled, taxes are paid, and that the assets from the estate are properly distributed.

When Does Probate Happen?

Probate is necessary when there are assets solely in the deceased’s name, and those assets need to be transferred to beneficiaries or sold to settle debts. This occurs in the following situations:

A) Testate Estates: The deceased had a valid Will in place. The court reviews the document to ensure its authenticity and then issues a Grant of Probate to authorize the Executor to carry out the wishes outlined in the Last Will.

B) Intestate: When a person dies without a valid Will, the estate is distributed according to the laws of intestacy. This may vary from province to province. This may require a similar court a Grant of Administration from the courts.

How Long Does It Take for a Will to Go Through Probate in Canada?

The process can be time-consuming: this varies on the complexity of the estate, the workload of the court, and whether or not any disputes or challenges may arise. It may take anywhere from a few months to a year to complete the process.

Executors should expect the following:

  1. Filing the Application: The Executor initiates the process by filing an application for Probate. This is the first step. This step can take a few weeks, because of all of the paperwork required.
  2. Review and Approval: Once the application is filed, the court reviews the Will in question (and the supporting documents) to ensure everything is in order. This can take several weeks to a few months. It depends on the backlog the particular court is facing at that time.
  3. Notification and Waiting Period: Creditors and potential beneficiaries must be notified during this whole extended process. There is typically a waiting period for any potential objections to the Probate process, which can further extend the process.
  4. Distribution of Assets: Once probate is granted, the Executor can begin distributing assets according to the terms of the Will. This also eats up extra time. It becomes even more of a lengthy process when the estate is complex.

How Does Probate Happen?

Probate in Canada occurs at the provincial/territorial level. Each province/territory has it’s own rules and stipulations regarding this process. Executors should file for Probate in the province/territory where the deceased held assets.

Who Handles The Process?

The person responsible for handling the process is known as the executor or estate trustee. This individual is typically named in the deceased’s Last Will. This person is responsible for:

  • Gathering and examining the deceased’s assets. This person evaluates the value of the assets.
  • Paying any outstanding debts, taxes, or liabilities from the estate.
  • Disperse the remaining assets to the beneficiaries as specified in the Last Will.

If there is no Last Will or no Executor, the court in question may appoint an administrator to handle the deceased’s affairs.

Do You Need a Lawyer to Probate a Will in Canada?

It’s not legally required to hire a lawyer to handle probate for a Will in Canada. It may be necessary for estates that are particularly complex. The process involves navigating through legal complexities, preparing legal documentation and ensuring that the documents are in compliance with provincial/territorial laws.

An Executor’s Responsibilities

The Executor is a key figure in this entire probate process:

  • Identifying Assets: Locating and securing all of the assets the deceased owned. This includes any financial accounts, real estate, and personal items.
  • Notifying Individuals: Properly informing creditors, beneficiaries, and other parties about probate.
  • Managing Finances: The Executor should manage the estate’s finances, pay off outstanding debts, funeral expenses, and deal with any tax obligations.
  • Assets: Ensure that the remaining assets are distributed in accordance with the provincial laws.
  • Submit documentation: Prepare and submit all of the necessary paperwork.

Check out this comprehensive executor guide for tips on making the best choice.

Circumstances Requiring Probate

Probate is typically required under various circumstances:

  • Sole Ownership: When the deceased owned assets only in their name (no joint ownership).
  • Real Estate Ownership: Real estate owned in the deceased’s name requires the necessity of the process.
  • Large Estates: Wealthy estates may require the process to streamline equitable distribution.
  • Will Disputes: If disputes arise, the process may be required to resolve these issues.

What Is A Grant Of Probate

A Grant of Probate is a vital legal document issued by the probate court. This verifies the authenticity of the deceased’s Will. It grants authority to the appointed executor to administer the estate. This document is pivotal as it provides the necessary legal authority to access, manage, and distribute the deceased’s assets.

Probate fees are also known estate administration fees. These are the costs associated with the legal process of probate in Canada. These fees can vary across Canada: Ontario, BC, Alberta, Quebec, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland and Labrador, Yukon, Northwest Territories, PEI, and Nunavut.

What Are Probate Fees?

These fees are charges imposed by provincial/territorial governments for the validation and administration of a deceased person’s Will. These fees are typically calculated as a percentage of the total estate value or based on a tiered fee structure. This all depends upon the jurisdiction.

Fees in Ontario

In Ontario, fees are often referred to as an Estate Administration Tax. These are assessed on estates with assets over $50,000. The rate is $15 for every $1,000 of estate value exceeding $50,000.

Fees in BC

In British Columbia, fees are likewise based on the total estate value. These are also based on a tiered fee structure. Fees range from 0.6% to 1.4% of the estate value.

Fees in Alberta

Alberta does not have fees; instead, it has a flat-rate fee for filing a $35 Grant of Probate fee.

Fees in Quebec

Quebec imposes notarial and registration fees instead of traditional fees. These costs are typically lower than the fees in other provinces.

Fees in Saskatchewan

Saskatchewan has a progressive fee structure: this ranges from from 0.7% to 1.5% of the estate’s total value.

Fees in Manitoba

Manitoba calculates fees based on the total value of the estate. Rates vary from 0.5% to 1.5%.

Fees in New Brunswick

New Brunswick assesses fees on estates valued at $10,000 or more. Rates ranging from 0.5% to 1.5%.

Fees in Nova Scotia

In Nova Scotia, fees are calculated as a percentage of the estate value, varying from 0.5% to 1.695%.

Fees in Newfoundland and Labrador

Newfoundland and Labrador apply fees based on the total estate value, with rates varying from 0.7% to 1.5%.

Fees in Yukon

Yukon assesses fees based on the total value of the estate; rates range from 0.4% to 1.2%.

Fees in Northwest Territories

In the Northwest Territories, fees range between 0.6% to 1.4%.

Fees in PEI

PEI imposes fees based on the total estate value, with rates ranging from 0.5% to 1.5%.

Fees in Nunavut

Nunavut assesses fees based on the total value of the estate, with rates ranging from 0.4% to 1.2%.

How Can I Avoid Probate in Canada?

Avoiding probate in Canada is possible through various strategies:

  1. Joint Ownership: Owning assets jointly with a spouse or family member can bypass the process. Ownership transfers automatically to the surviving co-owner.
  2. Designated Beneficiaries: Naming beneficiaries insurance policies, retirement accounts, and registered savings plans allows your assets to pass directly to beneficiaries.
  3. Gifts: Gifting assets to your loved ones during your lifetime reduces the value of the estate subject to probate.
  4. Establishing Trusts: Creating trusts for specific assets may keep them out of the process.
  5. Small Estate Affidavit: Estates that have low value may qualify for a simplified process.

FAQ: What is Probate Court?

This is a specialized court overseeing the whole process. The function of this court is to: validate Wills, appointing executors/administrators, settling disputes between people involved in probate, and streamlining the deceased’s assets.

FAQ: What is Probate Tax?

This is also known as estate administration tax. These fees are a provincial/territorial fee levied on the estate. It is based on the total value of the estate. It validates the Will and makes the process easier. The tax rate varies depending on the jurisdiction and the value of the estate.

FAQ: What Happens After a Probate is Granted?

After probate is granted, the executor or administrator has the authority to manage the deceased’s assets. This involves the following:

  • Identifying and securing assets.
  • Paying outstanding debts, taxes, and any administrative expenses.
  • Distributing assets to beneficiaries as per the Will or other legal requirements.
  • Keeping detailed records of all transactions related to the estate.

Your next steps

In a nutshell, the entire process is simply to validate the deceased’s Last Will. This includes ensuring that their wishes are respected, their debts are settled, their assets are distributed (the same thing that a Last Will is supposed to do), etc. Probate is just certifying that the Will is validated, but with extra steps.

There are different procedures, fees, and rules for each province: In Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia, the probate process includes submitting the Will to each respective provincial court to be validated. Other provinces may have different procedures. It’s always a good idea to do your research.

The fees for each province can be substantial, so you will want to minimize the fees as much as possible. Some common methods include: joint ownership, designated beneficiaries outside of Wills, trusts, gifts, etc.

Probate doesn’t have to be a confusing process; seek out advice if you need it or start writing your Will online today. This can help you avoid the whole process altogether, or make it easier if the issue does arise.

Start creating your legal will online today in just few easy steps with Formalwill

Online will Canada

As our world becomes increasingly digitized, the importance of navigating online becomes essential. This includes preparing for what’s best for ourselves and our loved ones. We need to protect both our digital and physical assets. This is where online Wills come into play. It is a testament to the marriage of technology and legal paperwork that we can now create online Wills.

You do not need to go with some online Will template that is a boilerplate option. You will want to work with a proper legal platform offering the best online Will option in Canada. When you create your Canadian Will online, you will want to ensure that it legally holds up in court or during a dispute. There should be instructions regarding what to do once the Will is complete.

What’s in a Will?

Breaking down Wills

Are Online Wills legal?

What service should I use?

In the End

What is included in a Will?

Let’s take a closer look at what a Canada online will looks like: it requires exactly the same type of requirements of that a traditional paper Will. You should start with the first and last names of the beneficiaries. Your beneficiaries are the recipients of the assets you are leaving behind once you pass away. There should be a breakdown of the assets each beneficiary is meant to receive. This breakdown can include either specific items or a percentage of assets.

You also want to include someone responsible for carrying out the wishes that you have requested in your Will. This person is called the Executor of your Will. This person is responsible for distributing your assets and managing your requests.

If there are minor children involved, you can also appoint a Guardian for those children (in the event of your untimely departure from this world.) Finally, if there are any special instructions, requests, or actions that your beneficiaries or Executor need to be made aware of, those should also be included in the Will.

Understanding the mystery of Online Wills In Canada

Online wills can also be known as electronic Wills or even digital Wills. These are stored electronically. They can even be delivered electronically. You simply have to print out the Last Will in question and make sure that it’s signed and witnessed in the right places.

Another benefit of creating an online Will versus a traditional written Will is the convenience factor. Online Wills can be made from the comfort of your own home (or office), which removes the need for any type of in-person meeting as well as any costly meetings with lawyers.

Another major plus point is just how accessible creating an online Will is. It is perfect for those who may live in remote areas (or have reduced mobility). Online Wills may allow people living in (relatively) inaccessible areas the convenience of creating their Will online. They would simply have to have access to a computer, the Internet, and a printer. This also goes into the benefit of cost-effectiveness. An online Will tends to be significantly cheaper than creating a traditional Will.

You may think creating a Will is a complex, taxing process, but you would be wrong. Many services today offer an online Will kit for Canada. You may want a service providing you with a step-by-step guide to create your Will. These services will take you by the hand and guide you through a platform that helps simplify the creation of your Will. Before creating your Last Will, you need to know what your assets are, who your beneficiaries are, your Executor(s), Guardian(s), etc. Have your information ready before you start.

Online Wills offering customization options that cater to your specific needs are the best option for you. Online Will services allow you to create a Will that is tailored to your circumstances. Your Will can be tailored to your wishes.

The legality of the Will may vary from province to province. You may want to check directly with your provincial laws to see the rules and current legislation. But any credible Will service will have the proper instructions to follow in your province/territory of residence. You can print the Will and signing instruction letter out. Just follow any instructions in letter that comes with it. Be certain the letter is tailored to your province/territory of your residence. With that said, if you feel as if you require legal advice, you may still want to consider speaking with a legal professional. This too, is covered by credible online Will services. When you create your Will, these online Will services may have lawyers you can consult with (for a fee). The cost of using these lawyers may be a lot cheaper than going through a lawyer directly. There are always options available.

If you follow the instructions provided by the online Will service, the Executor should be able to access your Will with no issues. Once the Testator (the person who drafted up the last Will) passes away, the Executor should know what to do: the Executor should know where to find the Will, what the next steps are, etc. This will help streamline the process of Will creation.  

It is important to note that there are fundamental requirements for the Will to be considered legal. They are as follows:

The first specification is to ensure that whoever is creating their Will is of sound mind; that their mental capacity is not in question. The Testator needs to be able, within the legal framework, to understand what they are doing. There may also be requirements to have witnesses present and sign off on the Will. These witnesses, may or may not able to be beneficiaries themselves. This information should be included in your Last Will.

Another legal requirement circles back to storage requirements. As mentioned above, the document should be securely stored and yet, easily accessible.  The right people should be able to access the document when necessary.

What to take into consideration when choosing an online Will service in Canada

If you have already made up your mind and want to go completely digital with this critical document, the next step is finding the right platform for you. It all starts with finding one with a strong reputation. You’re looking for a track record, testimonials, and reviews of their products and services. This allows you to better understand whether the service in question is the right fit for you. You are looking for people with a background in legal expertise and are familiar with Canadian laws/laws related to Wills, etc.

Beyond this, you want to do your due diligence on the security features these online platforms have. Make sure they are robust with the right type of encryption and authentication features and have a proper team managing their cyber security.

The final item you’re going to want to take a look at is pricing. You clearly want to compare the cost to the quality of service. Just be comfortable with everything before proceeding.

In the end

Don’t make the mistake of thinking you’re not old enough to set up a Will. Creating your online Will in Canada can be done as soon as you have loved ones you care for and assets in your possession. This also applies to both Millennials and GenZ; yes, these two generations are struggling financially, and yes, they have a rocky start in comparison to the post-war baby boomers of the 50’s and 60’s. But, and this is a big but, at some point in their lives, there will be a time when they accumulate at least some of their wealth. This could be in the form of digital assets (such as bitcoin), or physical assets (such as jewelry, antiques, etc.)  As life circumstances change and evolve, you may want to create a Will at some point in your life. Additionally, creating a Will has many tax benefits. A Will can also eliminate any family squabbling that could occur after your passing. There is no reason to postpone such an important document as you may never know when your time comes.

Even with an online Will, nothing is set in stone, and you can periodically review your Will to ensure the document is kept updated. Maybe your children are no longer minors, or there are additional assets to add to your Will. You can easily update these items through your online Will. You can do this without the need to go through expensive revisions through a lawyer.

This is a revolutionary option that can help protect generational wealth in an easy-to-use format. There’s no fear of losing your documentation as the documents will be stored digitally. Whenever you’re ready to consider doing your Will online, feel free to reach out to us. We will be prepared to handle your inquiries and help get your online Will setup in no time. We can help you make the best-informed decision about online Wills and, more importantly, ensure that you’re going to secure your legacy and protect your loved ones.

A romantic couple

When do you need to update your Will? Estate planning is an ever-evolving process that adjusts and adapts to the ebbs and flows of our lives. Central to this is your Last Will and Testament. But creating a Will isn’t a one-time affair; life’s unpredictability demands regular revisions. So, how do you know when it’s time to dust off that old document and make some changes? Let’s dive in.

The Living Document

Major Life Events

Financial Changes

Relationship Changes

Geographical Changes

Tax Law Changes

Setting up Trusts

Periodic Reviews

Appointing or Changing Executors

1. Introduction: The Living Document

A Will is often viewed as a ‘living document’. Just as our lives undergo changes, so should our Wills. It’s good to review your Will to ensure that it remains relevant and reflects your current wishes. This includes reviewing your Will whenever you move, have more children, etc. Essentially, anytime your life circumstances change, your Will should change right along with it.

2. Major Life Events: The Obvious Catalysts

Whenever a significant event occurs in your life, it’s a clear signal to revisit your Will.

  • Marriage: Newlywed bliss also comes with legal implications. Update your Will to include your spouse or adjust asset distribution. What is your spouse getting in your Will?
  • Divorce: The end of a marital union often necessitates changes in asset beneficiaries and executors. How will your Last Will and Testament change?
  • Birth or Adoption: The addition of a child is a joyous occasion. Ensure they’re a part of your Will and consider setting up trusts. Is there a guardian you want to add?
  • Death of a Beneficiary or Executor: When a named person in your Will passes away, adjustments are crucial. How will your Last Will change?

3. Financial Changes: Wealth’s Ebb and Flow

Major financial shifts can greatly impact how you’d like your assets to be distributed.

  • Acquisition of Significant Assets: Whether it’s a new home or a valuable piece of art, newly acquired assets should be addressed in your Will.
  • Sale or Disposition of Assets: If you’ve mentioned specific assets in your Will which you no longer own, those sections need revising.
  • Starting a Business: This not only adds to your assets but might also involve complex distribution desires.

4. Changes in Relationships

Beyond marriages and divorces, other relationship dynamics can influence your Will.

  • Estrangements: Sometimes, we grow apart from those once close. Such shifts might impact your distribution wishes.
  • New Dependencies: Whether it’s a new stepchild or an aging parent, new dependents might need to be factored into your Will.

5. Geographical Moves: New Horizons, New Rules

Relocating, especially across state lines or countries, can necessitate a Will update due to differing estate laws. Your Will may need to be updated to the provincial/state laws of the province that you’re living in.

6. Changes in Tax Laws

Estate and inheritance tax laws are prone to shifts. An update in these laws might prompt a restructuring of your estate plan to maximize benefits. It’s wise to change your Will to adapt to the province/state of residence.

7. Setting Up Trusts

If you’ve recently established trusts or wish to integrate them into your estate planning, it’s time for an update. You can choose this option in your Last Will and Testament; choose to leave everything in a trust.

8. Periodic Reviews: A Proactive Approach

Even without significant life changes, it’s wise to review your Will every 3-5 years. Regular checks ensure that your Will remains aligned with your current wishes. Always good to be prepared.

9. Appointing or Changing Executors

Your chosen Executor plays a pivotal role in the execution of your Will. Any change in your trust level or their ability to perform the task should trigger an update. Who would you trust to be the Executor of your Estate?

Keeping your Will up-to-date ensures that upon your passing, your wishes are carried out as envisioned. You will want to avoid as many disputes between loved ones as possible. That is why it’s important to ensure that your Will is updated to match your life circumstances.