Interstate succession in Canada is the legal process that determines who inherits the estate of a deceased person when there is no will or other testamentary document. This process is also known as intestacy and is governed by provincial and territorial law. Navigating the rules of intestate succession can be complicated, but understanding the basics can help ensure that your estate planning wishes are met and your heirs are provided for.
Who Are the Heirs?
The first step in navigating interstate succession in Canada is determining who your heirs are. In most provinces and territories, the surviving spouse or common-law partner is entitled to a portion of the estate, with the remainder divided among the deceased’s children or, if there are no children, among the deceased’s parents or siblings. The estate will go to the government if there are no surviving relatives.
What Are the Rules?
The rules of intestate succession depend on the province or territory, so consult with a lawyer or other legal professional familiar with your area’s laws. In general, however, navigating interstate succession involves several key steps.
- First, you should gather all relevant documents and information about the deceased’s estate, including bank statements, property deeds, and other assets or liabilities. You should also obtain a death certificate, which will be required for many legal and financial transactions.
- Next, you should contact a lawyer or legal professional to help you navigate interstate succession during estate planning. This may involve filing an application with the court for appointment as the estate trustee responsible for managing the estate.
- Once appointed as the estate trustee, you must determine the estate’s value and pay any outstanding debts or taxes. You will then need to distribute the estate’s remaining assets to the heirs as the rules of intestate succession dictate. This may involve selling property or other assets to generate the necessary funds.
- In some cases, disputes may arise among the heirs or other parties involved in the estate. If this happens, seeking a mediator’s assistance or taking the matter to court may be necessary. A lawyer or other legal expert can help you navigate these complex legal issues and protect your rights.
Navigating intestate succession in Canada can be complex and time-consuming, but ensuring that your wishes are met and your heirs are provided for is essential. By working with an attorney familiar with the laws in your area, you guarantee that your estate is handled according to your explicit wishes and that your heirs receive the assets to which they are entitled.
In addition to understanding the rules of intestate succession, there are several steps you can take to guarantee your estate is distributed according to your wishes. Creating a will or other testamentary document outlining your wishes to distribute your assets after your death is paramount.
This document can ensure your assets are distributed by your wishes rather than according to the rules of intestate succession. It can also help to prevent disputes among your heirs and provide for the needs of your loved ones.
If you don’t have one, create a will immediately. This could involve working with a lawyer to write a draft that meets your specific needs and provides for asset distribution after your death.
In addition to creating a will, reviewing and updating your estate plan regularly is important. This may involve revising your will or other testamentary documents, updating beneficiary designations on life insurance policies and retirement accounts, and taking other steps to ensure your estate plan bears your current wishes and circumstances.
Leave Your Loved Ones What Is Due Them through Our Services
Navigating intestate succession in Canada can be a complex and challenging process. The help of an attorney ensures your estate is managed and your heirs are provided for according to your wishes.
Ontario Wills specializes in estate planning tailored to meet your unique needs. We work with discerning clients, many of whom have complex situations such as blended families, disabled beneficiaries, or ownership of businesses and out-of-province assets. Call us at 1-888-995-0075 for assistance in Ottawa estate planning.