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What Happens to Your Home When You Die without a Will?


When you die without a Will in Ontario, and two people own a home as joint tenants, when one of the joint owners (partners in this case) passes away, the ownership of the property automatically transfers to the surviving joint owner. This transfer happens by the principle of survivorship, which means that the surviving joint owner becomes the sole owner of the property. This process occurs independently of the deceased person’s Will or the laws of intestacy.

This principle of survivorship applies (if the title was registered as joint tenants) regardless of the relationship between the joint owners. Whether they are married, common-law partners, relatives, friends, or business partners, the surviving joint owner will automatically inherit the deceased joint owner’s share of the property.

In this scenario, the Estate of the deceased partner does not go through the Probate process for the property, as the transfer happens outside of the Estate Administration. However, other assets of the deceased partner that are not held jointly might be subject to Probate and the rules of intestacy if there is no valid Will in place.

It’s important to keep in mind that while joint ownership with survivorship can simplify the transfer of property, it’s crucial to have a clear understanding of the legal implications and potential tax consequences. Consulting with a legal professional, such as a real estate lawyer or Estate Planning lawyer, is recommended to ensure that the joint ownership arrangement aligns with your intentions and circumstances. Additionally, legal advice can help you plan for other aspects of your Estate, such as assets that are not held jointly, and address any potential issues that may arise.


Read more about What To Do If There Is No Will

View the Succession Law Reform Act, or SLRA

Want more information?

Are you interested in a consultation with Peter R. Welsh?
Contact me at Peter@SmartWills.ca
By telephone 416-526-3121
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This material is for general information and educational purposes only. Information is based on data gathered from what we believe are reliable sources. It is not guaranteed as to accuracy, does not purport to be complete and is not intended to be used as a primary basis for investment decisions.