If you are in the process of updating your Will or drafting a Will for the first time, you may
wonder what assets should be included in it. Here are some guidelines:
1. Assets held in your own name alone.
If you have assets, like bank accounts or real estate property or cars, and you own them in your
sole name, then these assets will be passed in your Will.
An exception to this rule would be for insurance policies and investments. You are the only owner, but
they do not pass through your Will. They are said to pass outside of the Will , directly to those
whom you have appointed to be the designated beneficiaries on each of those investments or
2. Assets held with others jointly: two options: “Joint Tenants” or “Tenants-in-
If you have accounts or property that are owned jointly with someone else, they can be owned in
two different formats: Joint Tenancy or Tenancy in Common.
For assets owned as what is called Joint Tenants; these assets will not be passed in your Will. In
this type of ownership, there is something called: the right of survivorship that applies to joint
tenancy, therefore, any asset owned in this format, upon the death of one person, the asset will go
to the surviving person on title. These assets are also said to pass outside the Will. They don’t
pass through the estate, therefore are not subject to probate fees.
For assets owned as Tenants in Common, even though you are one of the owners, not the sole
one, the percentage you own on this asset (house, bank account or a car) will pass in your Will to
the people you have appointed to be your beneficiary there.
These are assets like mentioned above that are owned with others, but in this case your shares in those assets do not transfer to
the surviving person on title. These assets are still your assets if you die, so your percentage of
ownership will be part of your estate.
3. Other special assets or possessions.
If you own something special that has a high monetary or sentimental value, you may want to list
it on your Will and give that as a gift to someone in particular . For example, a car or a classic
car or a boat or a coin collection or jewelry collection.
If you want something like this to go to a specific individual, then you may want to include it as
a gift in your Will. Otherwise, all your possessions will be treated as one thing (residue), and they
will be valued as a group.
These are the topics you should think about in broad strokes when updating or planning on
getting your Will done. There are exceptions to every rule, and we can work with you on your
Will to make sure it addresses your particular situation.
Zancope Notary Public can help you to draft a Will and knows all the ins and outs of what is
required. This article is intended to be some basic general information about Will preparation.
Please contact us if you need help with your Will.
At Zancope Notary Public, we offer Estate Planning services for clients in Langley and
throughout Lower mainland and the Fraser Valley. We can help you with Wills, Power of
Attorneys, and Representation Agreements, and also provide family property transfers and
independent legal advice. We are a full-service firm that is well acquainted with real estate law.
If you have any questions about this article or Estate Planning in general, or if you want to make
an appointment with Zancope Notary Public, please contact us at (604) 260-6783.
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