What is intestate succession in Ontario?
Intestate succession is the process by which your estate is distributed if you die without leaving a will. In Ontario, intestate succession is governed by the Succession Law Reform Act, which sets out the rules by which an intestate’s estate is distributed in various situations.
Our Richmond Hill Wills and Estates Lawyer can provide you with further information regarding what is intestate succession in Ontario as it applies to your situation.
Who Inherits in intestate succession?
Firstly, it is important to note that the intestate succession rules in Ontario do not provide for an inheritance by a common law spouse. This makes it vital for couples in common law relationships to have a will.
The Succession Law Reform Act provides the following rules that set out who inherits the estate in specific situations:
- if the deceased leaves a spouse, but no children, the spouse receives the entire estate
- if the deceased leaves a spouse and children, the spouse receives the first $200,000 and the spouse and children divide the remainder of the estate equally
- if the deceased leaves children but no spouse, the children divide the estate equally between them
- if the deceased leaves no children or spouse, the deceased’s parents inherit the estate
- if the deceased leaves no children, spouse or parents, the siblings of the deceased divide the estate equally between them (with the children of any sibling who has already died receiving their parent’s share)
- if the deceased leaves no children, spouse, parents or siblings, the nieces and nephews of the deceased divide the estate equally between them
- if the deceased leaves no children, spouse, parents, siblings or niblings, the estate of the deceased is divided equally by all other next of kin
- if the deceased has no next of kin at all, then the estate goes to the Ontario government.
Election of a Surviving Spouse
When a married person dies without a will, the surviving spouse has the option to either:
- claim half of the net family property pursuant to the Family Law Act or
- claim their entitlement under the Succession Law Reform Act.
Calculating the entitlement of a surviving spouse under each option can be complex exercise. A Wills and Estates Lawyer can help you make the best decision in your circumstances.
Why you need a will
A will does more than just allow you to control the distribution of your estate. Your will can enable you to:
- protect your dependants by maximizing their inheritance
- save your estate time and money
- provide for a common-law spouse.
Contact our Richmond Hill Wills and Estates Lawyers today
If you die without a will, serious problems can arise. Protect your loved-ones by ensuring that they will continue to be looked after once you are gone. Our wills and estates lawyer will make sure that your will is legal and carries out your wishes as you intend.
Still have questions about what is intestate succession in Ontario? We are here to help. Contact us today to book a consultation with or Richmond Hill wills and estates lawyers.
*Disclaimer: The content in this article is only intended to act as a general overview on a legal topic and not intended to act as specific legal advice. For specific legal advice we encourage you to speak with a wills and estates lawyer.