Skip to main content

iStockphoto/iStockphoto

Dear Nancy,

Prince's sudden passing without a will has caused me to think about my own situation. I, too, currently do not have a will. I live in Ontario. What would happen to my estate if I were to die without one?

Signed, Charlie

Story continues below advertisement

========

Dear Charlie,

First off, I need to scold you for not having a will. Anyone with any assets, debts or dependants should have a will.

Each province has its own laws when it comes to intestacy. In Ontario, there is the Succession Law Reform Act. It governs how your property will be distributed to your surviving family. It outlines how your assets are split to your legal spouse — common-law spouses do not automatically receive anything — your children, parents, siblings, nieces and nephews. If you do not have living next-of-kin, the estate goes to the Ontario government.

If you die without a will, it will delay the settling of the estate. There are so many issues that can arise, depending on your situation. The proportions with which the estate is distributed may not be to your liking or what you intended. Your heir(s) may have to prove that they are entitled to a portion of your estate. Someone may have to apply to the courts to be named trustee in place of the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee.

For Ontario residents, the Ministry of the Attorney General has more information here. If you're a resident of another province or territory, simply search "dying without a will."

The best solution is to draw up a will and sign and register it with a lawyer. That will ensure that your estate is looked after as you intend it to be and not by the government.

Story continues below advertisement

---

Nancy Woods is an associate portfolio manager and investment adviser with RBC Dominion Securities Inc. Visit her website www.nancywoods.com or send an email request to asknancy@rbc.com. You can also send your questions to asknancy@rbc.com.

Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Comments

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • All comments will be reviewed by one or more moderators before being posted to the site. This should only take a few moments.
  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed. Commenters who repeatedly violate community guidelines may be suspended, causing them to temporarily lose their ability to engage with comments.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.
Cannabis pro newsletter