What Happens When You Die Without A Will?

What Happens When You Die Without A Will?

Susie was 36 when she caught the flu. She never thought about  what happens when you die without a will.

Her fever raging and gasping for air, she had a friend drive her to a medical clinic late one evening.

From there, it was a quick trip to a hospital ICU. Within days, she was gone, one of nearly 100 Canadians who died of flu that year. A worldwide pandemic in 2009 killed over 203,000 people.

Every adult has a will. Don’t they?

When Susie’s family searched her condo and safety deposit box, they came up empty handed. Why would she bother? She didn’t expect to die so soon.

Like eight per cent of Canadians, Susie simply didn’t want to think about it. She was too young to worry, or so she thought, and didn’t really have any assets. Except for her late model car, furniture she was buying on a monthly financing plan, condo with 15 years left on the mortgage, employee pension, RRSP, gold jewelery, personal papers, two-year-old Chihuahua, Miguel, and sponsored child, Luis in Bolivia.

Besides. she was saving her money for an impressive set of designer cookware. As time would tell, most of her excuses were misplaced. In fact, dying without a will would create many headaches and delays for her family in the days and months to come.

Susie joined the 54 per cent of Ontarians surveyed in 2018 who have not planned ahead.2 With no valid will, the Ontario government stepped in. Her property was deemed “intestate” and divided using the Ontario Succession Law Reform Act. Only blood relatives or legally adopted children could inherit.

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Die Without A Will

Susie wasn’t married, but if she had been her spouse would have received the first $200,000 or could have opted for 50 per cent of her net family property. If he thought to file a claim. That might have changed if they had a dependent child, either minor or adult. A lawyer would have advised her family what to do. Anything left over could have been shared between her spouse and children or grandchildren, if she had any. Their share would have been based on rules in the Succession Law Reform Act.

Die Without A Will

Since Susie died without a spouse, children or grandchildren, her parents inherited. Her mom and dad shared the estate equally. Susie had one brother and two sisters, all still alive. They would have inherited if her parents had died before her. Or if all of her other family was deceased before her estate could be distributed, Susie’s nieces and nephews would have been in line.

The rules would have been even more complex if Susie had no close family members. In that case, distant relatives like cousins could have been eligible. Fortunately, a ClearWay Law lawyer was available to explain the rules.

Read more: Can You Change A Bad Will?

Susie’s friends never did share in her precious mementos. Her family simply didn’t know what her final wishes were.

Don’t die without a will. With so many things to consider, contacting ClearWay Law at 844-466-6529 or emailing info (at) clearwaylaw.com for a wills and estate consultation just makes sense.