What Happens to Partners and Children When Someone Dies without a Will in Ontario?
In Ontario, if a person passes away without a Will (intestate), the Succession Law Reform Act outlines how their Estate will be distributed among their surviving family members, including dependents. The rules regarding the distribution of the Estate are as follows:
1. Spouse and No Children:
If the deceased person is survived by a married spouse (married or common-law) and has no children or descendants, the spouse will generally inherit the entire Estate.
2. Spouse and Children:
If the deceased person is survived by a spouse and children or descendants, the spouse is entitled to the first $350,000 of the Estate, plus a share of the remaining Estate. With the remaining share of the Estate divided equally among the children and spouse.
3. Children and No Spouse:
If the deceased person is survived by children but has no spouse, the entire Estate is divided equally among the children or descendants.
4. No Spouse or Children:
If the deceased person has no surviving spouse or descendants, the Estate is distributed to their closest relatives according to a specific hierarchy, which may include parents, siblings, nieces, nephews, and so on.
It’s important to note that the term “dependents” can encompass a wider range of individuals beyond spouses and children, such as parents, grandparents, siblings, and others who were financially dependent on the deceased. In cases where there are dependents who are not provided for in the intestacy rules, they may be able to make a claim against the Estate for support under the Family Law Act.
However, relying on intestacy laws to distribute your Estate can lead to unintended consequences, as these rules might not align with your personal wishes. To ensure that your Estate is distributed according to your intentions and to provide for dependents who might not be covered by the intestacy rules, it’s recommended to create a valid and comprehensive Will with the guidance of an Estate Planning lawyer.
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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.