Garton & Harris

What happens when you die intestate?

Did you know that if you die without a will or an estate plan in place, this is called intestacy? The laws of Canada are very specific about what happens to your assets and property if you die without a will. There is a pattern that is followed, by law, when this happens.

If you die without a will or estate plan and you have no children, your wife, if you have one, is entitled to everything you own. There will be no chance for you to share any of your property if you don't have an estate plan that includes a will. It also states that, if you have a net value not over the "preferential share," your spouse has the rights to all of it. Preferential share is defined, according to "Investopedia," as paying a fixed dividend which allows for your spouse to own your assets, stocks, bonds, property and business holdings. Your spouse is responsible for paying any debts owned by your estate, but he or she is entitled to all of your assets after this.

If you have one child, your spouse and that child will split in half what you own and they must share this amount. If you have two or more children with your spouse, your spouse is entitled to one third of your estate and the children will share among them the rest of what is left.

Getting your estate in order should be something that you consider important. What if something happens to you and you are left intestate? This can be tied up in court for a long time. Taking care of your assets and property is extremely important. It can leave a lasting legacy to not just your children but their children as well.

Source: Laws of Canada, "Succession law reform act," accessed Dec. 22, 2015

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