Can a beneficiary transfer assets directly to a person not named in the will?

When my father passed, he left an apartment to myself and my brother. When the estate is ready to be distributed, my brother doesn't want the property to be registered in his name. Instead, he wants it transferred directly to his son. Can this be done? Or will it have to be transferred to my brother first, and then to his son?



Burnaby, BC

Generally, an estate asset cannot be transferred to someone who is not a beneficiary of the will. If the property was a specific gift to a beneficiary, the executor does not have the authority to deviate from the terms of the will.

However, there may be more latitude where the property forms part of the residue of the estate. The residual beneficiary may be able to direct the executor to transfer their beneficial interest in the residual asset to someone else, and release the executor from any liability for doing so. This is a rather unique scenario and specialized legal and tax advice should be sought.

Nicco Bautista

Nicco Bautista

BMO Wealth Management
  • This information applies to British Columbia, Canada
  • Reviewed for legal accuracy in April 2021

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