I’m married. What happens if I die without a will?

2. Learn what happens if you have one child

If you're legally and have one child, and you die without a will, the law says that your gets a “preferential share” of your . In Ontario, this means after all funeral expenses, taxes, and are paid, your spouse gets the first $350,000 of your estate.

On March 1, 2021, the amount of the preferential share increased from $200,000 to $350,000. This increase only applies to the estates of people who died without a will on or after March 1, 2021. For people who died without a will before March 1, 2021, the preferential share is $200,000.

So if your estate is worth $350,000 or less, all of it goes to your spouse.

If your estate is worth more than $350,000, after the first $3500,000 goes to your spouse, your spouse and your child each get half of what's left.

An example

If your estate is worth $500,000, your spouse gets the first $350,000 as the preferential share.

That leaves $150,000. Your child and spouse each get half of this, which is $75,000. So, your child gets $75,000. And the total that your spouse gets is $425,000 because it includes the $350,000 preferential share.

Value of estate   $500,000
Minus preferential share for spouse – $350,000
What's left = $150,000
Spouse and child each get half of what's left $150,000 ÷ 2

= $75,000

Total amount to spouse    $350,000 (preferential share)

+ $75,000 (half of what's left)

= $425,000

Amount to child    $75,000

If your child dies before you

If your child dies before you, their share is divided equally among their children. If your child doesn't have any children, then their share becomes part of the of your estate.

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