What Happens If I Don’t Have A Will In Ontario?

What Happens If I Don’t Have A Will In Ontario?

When faced with our own mortality, many people just don’t want to think about it. However, creating a Will forces you to do just that. In your Will yo

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When faced with our own mortality, many people just don’t want to think about it. However, creating a Will forces you to do just that. In your Will you are able to dictate how your estate will be divided, who will inherit what, and who will represent your estate, if you wish you are also able to include burial instructions in your Will. Even with understanding what goes into a Will, many still wonder ‘why do I need a Will in Ontario?’

The expectation for most is that if you pass without a Will, your estate will automatically be passed on to your spouse, children, or other family. This is only true if the asset is held jointly with that family member. In Ontario, if you pass away without a Will, the government decides how your assets will be divided. The estate is frozen until the courts can appoint a legal representative of your estate. Before this can happen, they must first notify everyone that may have a financial interest in the estate. These individuals have the right to look for a potential Will and to hire a lawyer to represent their interests.

Ontario law only allows an Ontario resident to manage intestate estates (estates of individuals that died without a Will). If your only living relatives reside outside of Ontario, this adds even more complexity to the court’s decision on who will manage the estate. With a Will in place, the residence of the executor would not be an issue.

Without a Will your estate will likely incur thousands of dollars in fees, and take a significant amount of time before it can be settled. This can lead to additional stress and burden for your loved ones. If those with a vested interest do not agree on how the province has chosen to divide your estate, this can lead to additional litigation resulting in more legal fees and strain for your family.

If you are in a common-law relationship when you pass, your partner may not be entitled to any portion of your estate, because Ontario’s intestacy rules do not recognize common-law spouse status.

To ensure your family and loved ones are not burdened with additional costs and possible litigation after you die, don’t wait to contact a law firm that has experience in drafting up Wills today. The process is fairly simple and any costs associated with drafting your Will are well worth it considering the alternative.

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