When someone dies without having made a will they are said to be “Intestate”. There are rules called intestacy rules which dictate the distribution of the estate in these circumstances. Dependents and spouses have rights to the estate of the deceased. In this case married and common law spouses do not have the same right. This is another reason to make a will that ensures the spouse receives what the deceased actually wanted them to receive.
Intestacy is a provincial matter. In Ontario, the married spouse is entitled to the first $350,000 of the estate, and a portion of the value over this amount (previous amount was $200,000). Children are entitled to a share if the value of the estate exceeds $350,000. More details are available from the Ministry of the Attorney General, and specifically the Succession Law Reform Act.
Making a will also saves time and money. In the absence of a will, someone eventually must become the estate trustee so that they can take care of the associated responsibilities. This might be a spouse, child, sibling, parent, or friend. If no individual steps forward willing to apply to become the trustee, the Ontario Public Guardian and Trustee must apply to become the estate trustee.
An application must be filed to become the estate trustee, and until this is completed, nothing else can be done with the estate assets and liabilities. Mortgage or rental obligations continue, utilities and other accounts stay active and monthly charges continue to be payable, income tax filings have deadlines that if missed may result in penalties and interest, and the list of possible costs goes on.
The bottom line is, making a will helps to avoid these delays and costs because the executor or trustee can start to act fairly soon in most cases. Don’t forget to check out our website www.actionfinancialgroup.com to view all our articles and more resources.
Karin Rimnyak, Certified Financial Planner®
David Dryburgh, Certified Financial Planner®
Ian Barrie, Certified Financial Planner®
This information has been prepared by Karin Rimnyak who is an investment Advisor for iA Private Wealth. Opinions expressed in this email are those of the Investment Advisor only and do not necessarily reflect those of iA Private Wealth. iA private Wealth Inc. is a member of the Canadian Investor Protection Fund and the Investment Industry Regulatory Organization of Canada. iA Private Wealth is a trademark and business name under which iA Private Wealth Inc. operates.