What happens if I die without a Will?
When someone in Canada dies without a valid will, they are said to have died intestate. In such cases, the distribution of their estate is governed by specific laws and regulations that vary depending on the province or territory in which the deceased resided.
The first step in the intestacy process is the appointment of an administrator. An administrator is a person or entity appointed by the court to manage the deceased person's estate and ensure that their assets are distributed in accordance with estate law.
The court typically prioritizes the following individuals or entities for appointment as administrators, in descending order:
- The surviving spouse or common-law partner
- The deceased's adult children
- Other close relatives, such as parents or siblings
- Creditors of the deceased
The court will make its decision based on the circumstances and relationships involved. The administrator's role is to identify, gather, and manage the deceased person's assets, pay off debts and taxes, and distribute the remaining estate among the legal heirs. Given that the administrator has no guidance regarding the deceased individual’s wishes, they simply proceed based on their assumptions of what the deceased individual may have wanted.