What happens to your assets if you don’t have a Will?

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What happens if you don’t have a Will? After reading this, I hope you will realize that a Will is not optional! I am a Wills lawyer who travels to your home or other convenient place to assist you in getting Wills and Powers of Attorney.

When a person dies without a valid will, which is called “intestate”, Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act sets out how the estate is distributed. Unless someone who is financially dependent on the deceased person makes a claim, the first $200,000 is given to the deceased person’s spouse if he or she has decided to claim his/her entitlement. The other possibility is that a spouse will claim half of the net family property. A Wills and Estates lawyer can help determine which is the better choice. It is important to remember that this applies only to legally married spouses.

Anything over $200,000 is shared between the spouse and the descendants (e.g. children, grandchildren). If there is no spouse, the deceased person’s children will inherit the estate. If any of them have died, that child’s descendants (e.g. the deceased person’s grandchildren) will inherit their share. If there is no spouse or children or grandchildren, the deceased person’s parents inherit the estate equally.

If there are no surviving parents, there are additional Rules as to how the estate is distributed. A Wills and Estates lawyer should be consulted.

Other results of not having a Will include:

  1. Your estate may be left in a legal tangle thus delaying settlement and causing additional legal fees.
  2. Your family could be left without immediate income which could result in considerable difficulty, if not hardship, for your spouse and children.
  3. Your children may be placed under guardianship to someone other than someone you would have chosen. While proposing a guardian for minor children is not binding, it does indicate your wishes and ensures that those wishes will be taken into consideration.

Please contact me for more information and to arrange an appointment.