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    Do I really need a Will? What is an intestacy? What happens if I never complete a Will?
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    In Ontario, if you die without a valid, complete Will, an intestacy is created, and the distribution of your Estate will be governed entirely by the Succession Law Reform Act.

    This law provides for a complicated mechanism of determining which of your family members will inherit specified portions of your Estate, depending on the amount you leave and the closeness of your relatives' familial relationship to you.

    Where there is an intestacy, a surviving spouse is entitled to a preferential share of the Estate - the first $200,000.00 in value. The residue thereafter is divided between the surviving spouse and surviving children.

    If there is only one child, the spouse and child divide on a 50-50 basis. If there is more than one child, the spouse is entitled to one-third, and the remaining two-thirds is divided equally between the children.

    If there is no spouse and no children, the Estate will pass to a parent or parents. If no parents survive, the Estate will pass to brothers or sisters of the deceased. Absent surviving siblings, the property of the estate will be distributed among the nephews and nieces of the intestate equally. If there are no surviving nephews and nieces, however, the ranking "next of kin" as defined in the Act are entitled to share in the Estate.

    This scheme is further complicated by Ontario's Family Law Act. The FLA entitles a surviving spouse to elect either to take under the Will/intestacy, or alternatively, under the Act's property division and equalization scheme (ordinarily applicable upon marital separation/divorce).

    Disclaimer: Content on this website is provided for informational purposes only and does not constitute a legal advice.

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