March 21, 2019

No Will and Separated … Who Inherits What?

PREFERENTIAL SHARE OF MARRIED SPOUSE IF YOU DIE WITHOUT A WILL

(EVEN IF YOU HAVE BEEN SEPARATED, BUT NOT DIVORCED, FOR MANY YEARS)

On intestacy (dying without a Will) where the deceased was married at the time of their death (whether or not they are separated), the Succession Law Reform Act provides that the first $200,000.00 of the estate be paid to the deceased’s married spouse at the time of death. The rest of the estate is divided between the spouse and any surviving children of the deceased. If there are no surviving children the married spouse gets the entire estate.

What date is to be used for the purpose of calculating the married spouse’s entitlement to a preferential share?

• The “valuation date” is the date of death, even if the estate is not distributed until many years later.
• If the estate is worth more than $200,000 on the valuation date, when the estate is eventually distribution the share of the children will be determined based on the value of the estate at the date of distribution, not the date of death.

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