what if you die without a will in Ontario - Dying Interstate

What Happens If You Die Without a Will in Ontario? “Intestate”

what if you die without a will in Ontario - Dying Interstate

If a spouse or family member dies without a last Will or Testament the estate is called “Intestate”.

What Happens If You Die Without a Will – Dying “Interstate”?

Without authority to administer the tax affairs of the deceased, Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act determines how the estate will be distributed.  If you die without a Will, only blood relatives, including children born outside of marriage, or legally adopted children can inherit.  Half-blood relatives share equally with whole-blood relatives.

The following is an abbreviated interpretation of the Act;

  1. Unless someone who is financially dependent on the deceased person makes a claim, the first $200,000 is given to the spouse. Another possibility is to claim half of the net family property. Legal advice can help determine the better choice.
  2. If there is no spouse, then the deceased person’s children will inherit the estate. If any of them have died, that child’s descendants (deceased person’s grandchildren) will inherit the estate equally.
  3. If there is no spouse or children or grandchildren, the deceased person’s parents inherit the estate equally.
  4. If there are no surviving parents, the deceased person’s brothers and sisters inherit the estate. If any of the brothers and sisters have died, their children (deceased person’s nieces and nephews) inherit their share.

For additional rules and details see Attorney General.

The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) has a new form that you can complete that recognizes you as the individual that is administering the tax affairs of the deceased.  RC552 – Affidavit for Intestate situation for the province of Ontario was released July 2017.

Why It Is Important to Have a Will

I believe those that die without a Will add more stress and heartache to those they leave behind.  Greed and a sense of entitlement tear families apart if the wishes of the deceased have not been clearly defined.  What amazes me are the families with young children that have not gotten around to getting their Will prepared.  And for those that remarry and haven’t updated their Wills to include their new spouse and possibly extended family, it can be an utter nightmare.

There are numerous resources and varying prices enabling everyone to have a Will prepared.  For your legacy and those you leave behind, please get yours done.

As always, I welcome your questions and feedback. Share your experiences with my readers.

Until next time,


Ontario Estate Information Return 90 Day Deadline – Who’s Aware?

ontario estate information return

I recently received a call from a lady that is handling her father’s estate. She is the Trustee and along with everything else, was responsible for selling his home. On his death she went to her lawyer, filed the appropriate paperwork, paid the Estate Administration Tax (EAT, previously probate) and request for Certificate of Appointment. When the house was sold she went back to the same lawyer to finalize the sale and the lawyer asked her if she had filed the Estate Information Return as the 90 days was almost up? 90 day deadline – who’s aware of this? Certainly not the lady who contacted me! Read more

7 Qualities of a Good Executor/Trustee & Planned Estate

personal estate executor trustee Ontario

Whether you are an Executor/Trustee (E/T) or looking to ask someone to take on the responsibility for your Estate, the personal qualities necessary for both are very similar. When a potential customer asks me if I would consider being their E/T, I interview them just as they have interviewed me. So here is an abbreviated list of what I consider to be the 7 qualities of an ideal customer and an ideal E/T. Read more

Patience Required When Acting as Estate Executor/Trustee (E/T)

personal estate executor Ontario

I am currently acting as the Estate Executor for a widower. Almost all of his substantial estate was kept in investments in the four major banks and one securities investment company. There are numerous lists indicating the qualities that a good E/T should have, and I’ve even written a few of them. But one of the key qualities that is now noticeably missing from the lists is patience! Every good and effective E/T must possess a great deal of patience. Read more

Passing of Accounts – Be Careful How You Conduct Yourself

estate executor and trustee responsibilitiesAccording to duhaime.org, the Passing of Accounts legal definition is; The formal presentation of a trustee’s accounts to a court for approval. Recently a long-time bookkeeping client came to me with a problem. Her father had named her in his Will to be his Executor/Trustee. There were 5 beneficiaries, including my client. The reason she needed the Estate records brought up to date is due to a court order requesting the Passing of Accounts. One of the beneficiaries was questioning how the funds were handled and disbursed. The key message in this blog post – Be careful how you conduct yourself.

A couple of lawyers she approached to represent her in this court procedure refused, based on the state her documentation was in. It wasn’t until she indicated to a potential attorney that a professional (me) was pulling all the information together, that she located someone to defend the accusations made against her. Read more

Give the Gift of Safeguarding Your Legacy – 7 Things to Consider

estate and personal executors OntarioOne of the last things on the minds of anyone at this time of year is Wills and Powers of Attorney. The Holiday rush has begun and with all of the planning and events in the works, who wants to think about ticking off items on an estate planning checklist? Not many people do, but there are a few bare-bone estate planning basics that everyone could benefit from that are especially important for singles and new families that can give the gift of safeguarding your legacy. Specifically, what can you do to prepare an estate plan? Here are 7 things to consider. Read more

Difference Between Estate Administrative Tax (EAT) and Estate Income Tax

estate executors OntarioIn Ontario there are two defined forms of Estate Tax, one is called the Estate Administration Tax (probate) and of course, the final Estate Income Tax. Good news is, once these taxes are paid and the beneficiaries receive their gifts, they do not get taxed.

When someone passes away, in addition to regular income tax, they may or may not have to pay tax on what they owned. The final return is how the Estate Trustee finds out if the deceased owes any income tax. Like all other debts, income tax has to be paid by the estate first, before people can inherit; that is called “settling the estate”. The notice of assessment for the deceased tax return is one of the documents the Estate Trustee needs in order to get a clearance certificate and distribute property from the estate. Read more

You Don’t Have to be Richard Branson to Have an Estate

estate planning NewmarketDid you know that you have an Estate even though you are not someone as famous as Richard Branson? Talking to our clients, we are always surprised when folks say; “oh I just have my house and a few odds and ends. I’m not rich – I don’t have an Estate and it costs too much to put a Will in place.” Did you know that the Government views anything over $1,000 as part of your estate and subject to the Estate Administrative Tax?

Read more

What is a Power of Attorney?

Power of AttorneyAccording to the Attorney General, a Power of Attorney is a legal document that gives someone else the right to act on your behalf.

Last week I was interviewed for possibly being designated as a Power of Attorney for Property and Power of Attorney for Personal Care for an individual.  While the interviewer, let’s call her Cindy, was asking intelligent questions and accessing my knowledge, skill set and personality, I was also forming the questions I needed to ask her.  It is no longer merely ‘an honour’ or an easy task to take on the massive responsibilities now associated with these positions. Read more

4 Great Reasons to Get Jewellery Appraised

estate jewelleryWhen you’ve been appointed an executor, one of the many challenges you’ll face is establishing the value of the estate for probate purposes.  Often jewellery has a significant emotional and financial impact resulting in how potential beneficiaries view its value.  I don’t believe sentimental value can have a dollar sign attached to it so a professional appraisal needs to be done. So to protect the interests of the estate, executor and beneficiaries, I’ve asked Christine Driussi to help guide you on the various aspects of appraisals and their benefits. Below are 4 great reasons to get your jewellery appraised.

Read more