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

3. Learn what happens if you have more than one child

If you’re legally and have 2 or more children, and you die without a will, 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 $350,000 goes to your spouse, your spouse gets one-third of what’s left and the rest is split equally between your children.

An example

Your estate is worth $500,000 and you’re married with 4 children.

Your spouse gets $350,000 as the preferential share. This leaves $150,000. Your spouse gets one-third of what’s left, which is $50,000. So they get a total of $400,000.

That leaves $100,000, which your children share equally. So each child gets $25,000.

Value of estate   $500,000
Minus preferential share for spouse – $350,000
What’s left = $150,000
Total amount to spouse    $350,000 (preferential share)

+ $50,000 (one-third of what’s left)

= $400,000

What’s left   $500,000 – $400,000

= $100,000

Amount to each of 4 children   $100,000 ÷ 4

= $25,000

If any of your children die before you

If any of your children die before you, each child’s share is divided equally among their children. If your child doesn’t have any children, then their share will go to your other children who are alive when you die.

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