What Is A Last Will and Testament?
Your last will or testament is a simple legal document by which you, the testator, express your wishes as to how your property is to be distributed at death, and names an executor, to manage the estate until its final distribution.
Anyone can easily make a will or draw up a will using CanLaw's Legal Will forms. Full instructions are easy to follow. CanLaw has been in business for 20 years and we have thousands of satisfied users of CanLaw legal forms.
What if you die without making a will?
Intestate Succession (simply means you died without making a will. Bloody stupid of you, actually. If you die without a Will, the law says that you have died "intestate," meaning you left no will.
If You Did Not Make a
Last Will and Testament
Here's How Your Estate and Property
Will Be Distributed
Details vary by province or territory but this gives you a good sense of what will happen to your estate.
If you die inestate (did not make a will) generally your property will be distributed by a probate order in this order:
- If you have a legally married spouse, but no children:
Your legally married spouse inherits everything. Common-law spouses do not receive anything if you die without a will. They are left out in the cold.
- If you have a legally married spouse and children:
Your legally married spouse first takes a preferential share ranging from $50.000 to $200,000 worth of assets Amounts vary by province/territory. The remainder is divided between your spouse and your children based on provincial law.
- If you have children, but no legally married spouse:
Your estate will be divided evenly between your children.
- If you no legally married spouse and no children:
Your parents will inherit your entire estate.
- If you have no legally married spouse, no children, and no parents:
Your brothers and sisters divide your estate equally.
- If you have no brothers and sisters:
Your nieces and nephews each inherit an equal portion of your estate.
- If you have no nieces and nephews:
All other next of kin inherit an equal portion of your estate.
- If you have no living next of kin:
Your estate goes to the government.
No Will? Here's How Your Estate Will Be Distributed
- If you have a surviving spouse and children, your spouse will receive the first $200,000.00, and the spouse and children will equally divide the rest of your estate,
- If there are no children, your spouse will be entitled to your entire estate.
- If you leave no spouse or children, then your estate goes to your next of kin, determined by “degrees of consanguinity” (relationship) under the various provincial regulations in your part of Canada.
Strangers Could Divide Your Estate
If you die without a Last Will and Testament, there is no "official" legally binding list of your final wishes and instructions as to how your property be divided and distributed. A probate court will have to appoint an executor and estate administrator or trustee to divide your estate for you.
Since you did not make a will saying who gets what after you die, the government and probate court will take over your estate and determine who gets what. Your estate will be charged massive fees for this.
Had you used the CanLaw Will kit for $55.00 you could have prevented all this, since the CanLaw Last Will and Testament is very easy to use and you can create your will in a matter of about 20 minutes. Click here and download a CanLaw Will kit right now and get it done.
You should make a legal will. If you write your will now you will prevent a lot of serious problems which usually lead to huge vicious, expensive fights as your family battles over who gets what. These needless disputes frequently break up families for life. You should create your will. Do it now.
No Will? The Court Will Appoint An Executor
The probate court will have to appoint someone to act as your personal representative generally known as an Executor. An executor is the title for a person or institution appointed by a testator or the probate court to carry out the terms of their will.
If you do not have a will, essentially the court appoints an executor for your estate.
The general rule is that your closest relative has the right to be appointed as your personal representative. The process varies provincially, so your heir will have to seek legal advice and assistance resulting in more expenses and legal fees that you could have avoided by taking about half an hour to make your will.
This is not legal advice or legal aid. It is solid legal information designed to assist you at no charge.
Beware of free or
cheap legal forms.
They will be rejected by the courts and laughed at by lawyers.
"There is scarcely anything in the world that some one cannot make a little worse, and sell a little more cheaply.
The person who buys on price alone is this person's lawful prey." - John Ruskin
No Will? The Court Controls
Your Estate's Disposal
If you die without a will, the probate courts will strictly apply the provincial succession laws and control the distribution of your property to your surviving relatives.
If there are no relatives, the government takes your estate. End of story.
Your family could be caught without the means to pay the bills pending the probate court's disposition of your estate your assets and all your property. This could take years. All courts move very slowly. Probable court moves slowest of all.
In essence, a government employee is appointed as executor or trustee and steps in, at substantial cost and long delays and applies the rules of succession regardless of your wishes, the wishes of your family or anyone else, whether known or not.
What Does The Executor Do?
The executor has virtually complete control over the estate and must follow the provincial laws to the letter, regardless of any problems that may cause. If you had made a proper will, the executor would be bound to follow your wishes. Without a will, the executor is bound by the law.
The executor gathers up the estate assets, pays the deceased’s debts, and divides what remains of the deceased’s estate among the beneficiaries. The beneficiaries, in turn, are the people named in the will to inherit the testator’s estate.
If you decide to act as the executor, consider retaining a lawyer to do the paperwork, supervise and advise you of your obligations. If you do, the lawyer’s fees will be paid for out of the estate’s assets.
There will be long time delays and heavy expenses involved in wrapping up your affairs,
CanLaw's Certified Legal Last Will and Testament kit is legal and valid for your will, estate everywhere and anywhere in Canada, including Wills in Ontario, Wills in PEI, Wills in Quebec, Wills in British Columbia, Wills in Alberta, Wills in Manitoba, Wills in Nova Scotia, Wills in Newfoundland, Wills in Nova Scotia, Wills in Saskatchewan, Wills in Yukon, Wills in Nunavut, Wills in North West Territories, Valid in all provinces and territories in Canada. Lawyer and court approved.
What if you die without making a will?
If you do not write a last will and testament or a legal will you die inestate. A probate court judge will have to appoint an executor or trustee to manage your estate. That means someone has to pay the executor who is then the administrator of your estate. Your heirs will need to get an estates lawyer or probate lawyer to provide sound legal advice and protect your heirs, surviving spouse, children and other beneficiaries