If you die without having a will in Ontario, Canada, your estate will be distributed according to the Wills and Succession Act. Keep reading to find out what this Act entails and how your estate´s distribution is decided.
Having a will is important to clarify your wishes and asset distribution upon your passing. This article discusses Ontario asset distribution as well as the types of wills available and why you should consider creating your own.
More than half of Canadians do not have a will, which means that over 50% of Canadian estates need direction in terms of how to distribute the assets of the deceased in question.
Those who die without a will die “intestate”. This means that the government is responsible for appointing an executor to distribute both your assets and debts. Canadian law typically distributes assets to the next of kin through provincial laws. In Ontario, this gave birth to the Wills and Succession Act.
If you are from Ontario and do not have a will, the Wills and Succession Act states that your assets will be distributed in the following order:
The primary purpose of a will is to clearly define who will receive your assets after your death. Your will can also state which individual will take over as guardian for minor children.
Specific assets that you should include in your will for distribution include:
Omissions of assets include things like life insurance payouts, as the policy should have its own designated beneficiaries stated outside of the will; however, if a life insurance policy does not have a designated beneficiary, or if the policyholder outlives their beneficiaries, the death benefit of their insurance plan would then be paid out to the estate.
After paying respective fees and taxes, the death benefit would be passed along to the beneficiaries of a will, if there is one.
According to the Ontario Wills and Succession Act, for a will to be valid it needs to:
Next, we will look at the three types of wills mentioned in previous point #3.
The three types of wills legally accepted in Ontario include formal, holograph, and military wills. Each will should be a physical copy to be deemed legal in Canada.
A formal will is signed by the testator in front of two witnesses who are present at the same moment. Each of the witnesses will also sign the will in the testator´s presence. Witnesses shall not be beneficiaries or executors to the testator´s will.
Holograph wills are written by the testator in their handwriting. They will then sign this document without the formal presence or signature of a witness or any other formality.
A member of the Canadian Forces can create their own will while on active service by signing it without the signature or presence of a witness or any other formality.
You´ve already read about how your assets will be distributed through the Wills and Succession Act if you do not have a legalized will in place; however, there are additional repercussions for dying without a will in place.
To take back control over your assets and estate´s future, begin planning your official will today. Investments and insurance professional Sim Gakhar is well-rounded in planning for uncertain futures, including taking care of your loved ones and estate once you´re gone.
Reach out to her for suggestions on how to get your will formally legalized. Begin creating your will now and – remember – the best plan for the future begins today.
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