It’s scary how often we hear married clients say that they do not need a will in Ontario because their spouse will get everything they own upon their death. This couldn’t be farther from the truth in Ontario, and by thinking this way, you could put your family in a very difficult position. 

If you do not have a will and die, you are considered by the government to die “intestate”. It doesn’t matter if you are married, have children, or have nothing to leave– if you die without a will you become subject to the Succession Law Reform Act.  This legislation governs how assets of deceased patrons are distributed.  

The Succession Law Reform Act legislates that when a person dies intestate the first $200,000 (called the preferential share) of the deceased’s net estate (after taxes, funeral expenses etc.) will go to the spouse. Any funds remaining over and above the preferential share will be distributed evenly amongst the spouse and children (even if they are adults) of the deceased.

For example, consider a person with $500,000 in net assets passes intestate: 

If he/she had a spouse and one child: The spouse would get the preferential share of $200,000 and the remaining $300,000 would be divided among the spouse and the child– which would result in the spouse receiving a total of $350,000 and the child receiving a total of $150,000. 

If the deceased had two children in the same scenario, the spouse would receive $300,000 and each child would receive $100,000. 

In the event that the child passed before the deceased person, the portion to which that child would have inherited will be distributed amongst their children (i.e. the deceased person’s grandchildren). 

This is problematic for those who don’t want the government to decide who gets what, even if it is “only a little”. I too only have “a little” but what “little” I have I want to go entirely to my husband upon my death, and before I had a Will that would not have happened. 

Contact Millars Law today to have a say on who gets your assets and where they go when you die. We have packages that include the Last Will and Testament with Powers of Attorney documentation. 

(519) 657-1LAW or Info@millarslaw.com


By: Shari Lamore