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Estate Distribution:

Without a Will

If a person dies without a valid Will, called ‘intestate’, the estate would be distributed according to the Succession Law Reform Act.  The process would be complicated and costly.  

  • To begin, an Application will have to be made to the Superior Court of Justice for a Certificate of Appointment for Estate Trustee Without a Will.
  • The court may also, if the trustee was otherwise approved by the court, order that the trustee before being appointed as estate trustee secure a bond for the protection of the estate and beneficiaries. Not all trustee's require administration bonds. For instance, if a trust company is proposed as the trustee of the estate then no bond would be required.
  • The distribution of the estate will be done in accordance with the Succession Law Reform Act. This means unless someone who was financially dependent on the deceased makes a claim, the first $200,000 is given to the deceased person's spouse, even if the deceased was separated from their spouse at the time of death, if he or she decides to claim their entitlement. Anything over $200,000 is shared between the spouse and the descendants (e.g. children and grandchildren) pursuant to specific rules.
  • If the deceased had no spouse, children or grandchildren, the parents of the deceased would inherit the estate. If there were no surviving parents, the brothers and sisters of the deceased would inherit. If some of the brothers and sisters of the deceased had died, their children (the nieces and nephews of the deceased) would inherit their share.
  • If there were no surviving brothers and sisters, the estate would go equally to the nieces and nephews of the deceased. Although if a niece or nephew has died, their share does not go to their children.
  • If only more distance relatives survive such as great nieces or nephews or great aunts or uncles or cousins, the rules of distribution are complex.
  • When a person dies without a Will (intestate) the persons that can inherit, are the spouse, blood relatives, half blood relatives (including children born out of marriage) and legally adopted children.

Get help with Your Estate Matter


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  • Toronto, ON M9R 3V7
  • Tel: 416-278-2400
  • aloelaw@ymail.com

Parry Sound

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  • Parry Sound, ON P2A 2X3
  • Tel: 705-346-2563 (aloe)
  • aloelaw@ymail.com
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