If you die without a Will, the law states that you have technically died “intestate,” meaning that you have left no instructions as to how you would like your property to be divided and distributed.
In these circumstances, the Succession Law Reform Act governs how your property will be distributed to your surviving relatives.
Even if you would like your property to be divided according to provincial law, it is a very good idea to have a Will as it will reduce delays and expenses involved in administering your final affairs.
How your assets will be distributed
The Ontario Succession Law Reform Act states that if you pass away without a Will, your assets will be distributed in the following ways:
- If you are married with children: A surviving spouse in Ontario is entitled to $350,000, up from $200,000, as their preferential share of their spouse’s estate if that spouse dies without a will. The Ontario government made the change on February 16th to the Succession Law Reform Act (SLRA), which governs what happens in an intestacy. If anything is left over, it is equally divided between your spouse and your children.
- If you are a single parent with children: The children each inherit an equal portion of your assets. If any of them have died, that child’s descendants (i.e. grandchildren) will inherit their share.
- Married with no children: Your spouse is entitled to everything as long as you are legally married (common-law is not included).
- No spouse and children: Your assets are inherited by your parents.
- No spouse, children, or parents: Your assets are given to your siblings, or nieces and nephews if your siblings predeceased you.
- No spouse, children, parents or siblings: All other next of kin inherit an equal portion of your estate.
- With no living next of kin: Assets, estate and property all go to the Ontario government.
Who is considered a relative?
When someone dies without a Will, only blood relatives, including children born outside of a marriage and legally adopted children can inherit.
Half-blood relatives will share equally with whole-blood relatives.
Contact a Newmarket, Barrie, Richmond Hill, Mississauga or Oshawa Will and Estate Lawyer
Being responsible for a loved one’s estate is no easy task, particularly as you grieve your loss at the same time.
Help detach yourself and seek guidance from an experienced Will and Estate administration lawyer in our Newmarket, Barrie, Richmond Hill, Mississauga or Oshawa law firms. As an executor, we can refer you to other professionals you may require. Contact us now!