Do my wife and I have to have a Will written up or does everything in my estate automatically go to the remaining spouse and children?
If you do not have a “Last Will and Testament” I highly recommend that you contact your lawyer and have one drawn up. However, your question is what if you do not have a Will and you have a remaining spouse and children. Not having a Will means that you are not giving anyone the authority to act on behalf of your estate. It means that you have not decided on who will get what, therefore, the Ontario Government will administer your estate. At the time of writing – in Ontario, the first $250,000 will go to your remaining spouse (it will not go to a common law spouse). The rest of the money will be divided amongst your remaining children, however, their inheritance will be administered by the Ontario Government.
Should your bank accounts freeze at the time of your passing, your family will have to hire a lawyer to set a court date to plead to the judge to release your assets to them. This will cost money, money that could have went to your spouse, children and their children. If you have not allocated which family member will receive special items – there may be hurt feelings if someone was really looking forward to receiving something special but did not. Basically, if you do not have a Will, you will be leaving your family with not only their grief but with appointments, difficult decisions, and months of waiting until the courts decide how they will administer your assets.
We work our whole lives to build our investments and assets, once you read the attached link, you will get a pretty good picture of the control that you will be giving away unless you have a ‘Last Will and Testament’ drawn up.