Estate Planning: Your Will – Part One

June 14, 2013 in Legal Advice Blog

Your Will – Part I – Intestacy

Let me start with a statement of the obvious: Everyone who has assets that will have to be disposed of after death, needs a Will.

Dying “intestate” means dying without a Will. Every jurisdiction has laws to deal with this. If you die without your Will in place, you place your loved ones at risk. The following outlines the likely outcomes.

Underage Children

In Ontario if someone who is married and has children dies intestate, his/her spouse is entitled to receive the first $200,000.00 of the estate and 1/3 of the rest. The other 2/3 goes to the children. Each child is entitled to receive his/her portion of the money at age 18 (hmm…).

The share for each minor child is safeguarded by a government office called the Children’s Lawyer.If money is needed to help pay a child’s expenses, it can only be  accessed by court order.

Suppose a couple owns assets jointly. When the first partner dies, all of the assets pass to the survivor (so far, so good). If the survivor then dies without a Will, there will be an intestacy and the applicable intestacy rules come into play (the ones referred to above are just a few of them).

Estate Administrators

Someone has to administer the estate but it can be difficult to decide who it will be. In the case of intestacy, a court order is required to appoint the Estate Trustee. Nothing can get done before the court appoints the estate administrator.

Even when everyone involved agrees on who should be the Estate Trustee, a Judge can still require that person to post a financial bond before he/she is appointed. These bonds are expensive and difficult to get.

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