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What If I Don’t Have A Will?

Dying without a legal will can result in a complicated estate settlement process for your loved ones. Individuals who die without having a will in place are considered to be intestate. As a result, the provincial government has the power to determine how their estate will be divided and to which beneficiaries.

Clients across Toronto have trusted the team of lawyers at Clark Farb Fiksel LLP to handle their estate planning and settlement issues since 1989. We are dedicated to providing you with the right guidance and protecting your loved one’s best interests.

Dying Intestate: Who Gets What?

In Ontario, the deceased’s spouse is considered the legal next of kin. In the event that there is no living spouse, the order of legal next of kin is as follows:

  • Children
  • Grandchildren
  • Great-grandchildren
  • Parents
  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Aunts, Uncles, Nieces, and Nephews

If the deceased has no legal next of kin, their estate becomes the property of the province.

Appointing An Estate Trustee

When an individual dies without a will in place, someone must be appointed the estate trustee. Typically, a family member or close friend fulfils this role. The estate trustee is then charged with accounting for every asset and ensuring that all liabilities have been paid. Anything left over remains part of the estate and is to be distributed according to Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act.

In instances of handing the estate of an individual who has died intestate, it is best to work with an experienced lawyer. With the complex nature of the situation and the inherent seriousness of the fiduciary duty associated with being an estate trustee, it pays to have all of the right information.

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