On today’s show, we are joined by Kim Melanson who is a local lawyer in Ottawa. She is a specialist in family law. The bulk of the conversation is spent on the particulars of drafting a will and the considerations that have to go into this process. Kim also reminds just how important it is to have an up to date will, something many of us have heard but many of us do not act on! She talks about good times to update your documents and the ins and outs of naming guardians and executors before discussing inheritances, donations, and probate. We then turn to a few different types of wills, namely mutual will, mirror wills, and dual wills. Kim weighs in on the topic of ‘will kits’ and services that make the writing of a will appear a little easier. We also talk about some common errors that are made in the realm of estate planning before turning our attention to family law. Kim answers our questions common-law relationships, domestic contracts, divisions of assets and more, so for all of this from a true expert on Ontario legal matters, be sure to listen in with us today on the Rational Reminder Podcast!


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Key Points From This Episode:

  • An important legal disclaimer about today’s show. [0:02:21.9]
  • What happens if you die in Ontario without a will? [0:03:13.6]
  • Reasons that every adult needs to have a will. [0:05:34.7]
  • How often to update a will throughout the course a lifetime. [0:07:32.7]
  • Best practices for the naming guardians and executors. [0:08:34.6]
  • Kim’s recommendations for allocation of inheritances, donations, and probate. [0:14:14.4]
  • Understanding dual wills, how they work and when they make sense. [0:19:14.3]
  • Considering the use of ‘will kits’ and where these services might fall short. [0:21:39.6]
  • Mutual and mirror wills; managing and policing of these documents. [0:23:19.1]
  • Common and important errors made in estate planning. [0:25:19.4]
  • The definition of a common-law relationship in Ontario. [0:26:50.6]
  • Approaching the conversation and weighing the utility of domestic contracts. [0:30:48.6]
  • The Family Law Act ruling on the division of assets; exclusions and subtractions. [0:34:54.4]
  • Kim’s own definition of success and her hopes for a positive impact. [0:36:36.2]



“There’s a large misconception by the public that if they die without a will, the government automatically receives all of their assets and a lot of people are fearful of that. That’s really not the case.” — Kim Melanson [0:03:13]

“One thing that you can put in your will is you can explain your wishes as to who you’d like to be the guardians for your children. As parents, that’s our biggest fear.” — Kim Melanson [0:06:15]

“Your will allows for your guardians to be appointed for 90 days. Then after that that individual needs to apply to the court and seek a formal court order.” — Kim Melanson [0:06:38]

“The benefit of probate often is is that it gives third parties, like investment companies, banks, land title system the authorization and the confirmation that they’re not going to get sued and they can have the confidence to then distribute assets to the executor.” — Kim Melanson [0:15:44]


Links From Today’s Episode:

Kim Melanson — https://ca.linkedin.com/in/kimberly-melanson-41578096


Download the transcript of this episode here: Rational Reminder Podcast – EP. 80 – Transcript