Estate Lawyer
Joanna Ringrose

How Your Assets are Divided if You Die Without a Will in Ontario


If you live in Ontario and you die without a will,



If you leave......your estate is divided as follows:
a spouse onlyAll will be inherited by your spouse.
a spouse, relative(s) but no childrenAll will be inherited by your spouse.
a child, children (or grandchildren) and no spouseAll will be inherited by your child or divided among your children. If a child has died before you, the children of your deceased child (grandchildren or, if they are deceased, great grandchildren) would take the child’s share.
a spouse and one child (or grandchildren)The first $200,000 goes to your spouse; the rest of the inheritance is split equally between your spouse and your child. If your child has died before you, the children of your deceased child (grandchildren or, if they are deceased, great grandchildren) would take the child’s share.
a spouse and children (or grandchildren)The first $200,000 will go to your spouse; 1/3 of the rest goes to your spouse; 2/3 is divided among your children, subject to a possible equalization claim under provincial legislation.
no spouse or children or grandchildrenAll inheritance goes to the closest next of kin. Next of kin is determined usually in a particular order. First in line to inherit your estate would be your parents. If neither parent survives, then the inheritance would go to your brothers and/or sisters, and the children of already-deceased brothers and sisters would share their parents’ share. If none of your brothers or sisters survives, the inheritance goes to your nephews and/or nieces. If no nephews or nieces survive, then the inheritance goes to the closest next of kin. If there is no traceable next of kin, it all goes to the government



Important Note: Certain provisions in the Family Law Act can alter the application of the above provisions and can sometimes override your wishes even when you do have a Will. The above information is provided for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice.


By Joanna J. Ringrose, B.A.(Hon.), M.A., LL.B., LL.M., T.E.P., C.S.





Joanna Ringrose has written articles on the law for the Oakville Beaver in the Legal News & Views section.

Legal news