What Happens If You Die Without A Will In Ontario? – PART III

Last Will and Testament Concept

The importance of appointing an Executor or Executors in your will and what happens if you don’t.

An Executor or Estate Trustee is the person who you name in your will to have the authority to manage your estate immediately after you die. You can appoint more than one person to undertake this task and you can appoint an alternative individual or individuals to act as executor(s) in the event that the person(s) who you would like to manage your assets and debts is unable to do so. Without a will, there is no such person to manage your estate until the court appoints one. Obtaining a court appointed Estate Trustee requires an individual to make an application to the Ontario Superior Court of Justice for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee without a Will. This is a lengthy process that can take weeks or even months and effectively leaves your estate at a stand-still until the application is granted. Without a will there is no avoiding the process and time that it takes to complete this application. What’s more is that the application process may be prolonged further if there are a number of individuals who want to contest the appointment of the individual who is applying to be appointed as an Estate Trustee. With your estate at a standstill until the court appoints an Estate Trustee, this means that any individuals who are dependent on you for shelter, food, and money such as an adult child at university, special needs children, elderly parents or a common-law spouse may not have access to your funds for the time being. Further, at the end of it all, the court may end up appointing an individual who you would deem untrustworthy or irresponsible to control your financial affairs and distribute your estate. Speak to a lawyer about preparing a will that appoints an individual or individual(s) that you trust to look after your finances and distribute your estate in accordance with your wishes as expressed in your will.

ashlynO             Ashlyn O’Mara is a Toronto lawyer practicing in the areas of wills and estates, family law and real estate law. For more information please visit www.omaralaw.ca or contact her at ashlyn@omaralaw.ca Twitter: @ashlynomara   The content on this page is intended for information purposes only and may not be applicable to the readers’ specific circumstances. It is not a substitute for legal advice and may not be relied on as such. The reader is advised to consult with a lawyer for information and advice relating to the reader’s particular circumstances, issues, and questions.

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