August 1, 2006 Hull & Hull LLP Beneficiary Designations Tags: , , , , 0 Comments

Yesterday’s blog introduced the topic of beneficiary designations and considered the law in Ontario as it related to the making of beneficiary designations. Today, we consider the law as it relates to the revocation of such beneficiary designations. This applicable statute is section 52 of the Succession Law Reform Act which, as annotated, reads as follows (with underlined words added for emphasis):

s. 52(1) A revocation in a will is effective to revoke a designation made by instrument only if the revocation relates expressly to the designation, either generally or specifically.

The revocation of a RRSP, for example, must reference the RRSP in sufficient detail, to leave no doubt as to which instrument is being revoked. However, the Courts have had to consider how to interpret this subsection. We will consider this issue further in tomorrow’s blog.

(2) Despite section 15*, a later designation revokes an earlier designation to the extent of any inconsistency.

*Section 15 of the SLRA states that a will is revoked only by: marriage, a later will, a written declaration made with the formality of a will, or destruction by the testator or another person under his or her presence and direction.

(3) Revocation of a will revokes a designation in the will.

(4) A designation or revocation contained in an instrument purporting to be a will is not invalid by reason only of the fact that the instrument is invalid as a will.

This subsection is potentially very problematic as, presumably, the objections raised to the validity of the Will such as the capacity of the testator will have a direct bearing on the validity of the beneficiary designation.

(5) A designation in an instrument that purports to be but is not a valid will is revoked by an event that would have the effect of revoking the instrument if it had been a valid will.

(6) Revocation of a designation does not revive an earlier designation.

(7) Despite section 22, a designation or revocation in a will is effective from the time when the will is signed.

Section 22 of the SLRA states that a Will speaks and takes effect as if it had been made immediately before the death of the testator. As we can see, section 52 is a fairly exhaustive list of the possible scenarios that may unfold relating to the revocation of beneficiary designations. Tomorrow’s blog will consider these provisions in further detail.

Have a great day, David. ——–

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