Article Licenses: LI
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If you intend to have control over the distribution of your estate it is important to have a testamentary trust (a will) drawn up by your lawyer.
If you die without a will, the Provincial Court will appoint the estate’s trustee referred to as the Public Guardian and Trustee. Any person claiming a share of your estate will then have to prove that they are entitled to and will have a right to inherit. Your estate will be distributed as follows:
• The largest share goes to the spouse (initial amount differs per province);
• Then the remaining estate value goes equally to the spouse and children, shared according to specific figures;
• If no spouse, to the children and descendants of the deceased, if any;
• To the parents of the deceased if no spouse or descendants;
• If no surviving parents, to brothers and sisters, and children of the deceased brothers and sisters;
• If no brothers and sisters, then to living nieces and nephews;
• When more remote relatives are involved, special instructions may apply.
NOTE: Half-blood relatives share equally with whole-blood relatives. Children include those born outside marriage and adopted ones.
The above is based on Ontario law. The law differs according to your province of residence and current law.
How do I prove that I am an heir of an estate?
You will need evidence to submit to the Public Guardian and Trustee assigned by the Provincial Court. You will need:
• Two sworn statements or affidavits. The first statement must be made by a person claiming a share of the estate (called the claimant). The second corroborates the first and is made by someone who has personal knowledge of the family history, but no monetary interest in the estate.
• A third sworn statement may also be needed from a resident who knew the deceased, stating his/her knowledge of the deceased’s reputation as to marital status and the existence of children born inside or outside marriage or adopted.
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