the real/estate blog

Some thoughts for the not-quite-married

Posted in Estate Planning,Intestacy by Cesia Green on July 2, 2013
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Wedding aisleIn Canada, for the most part, there is little day-to-day difference between couples who are legally married and couples who are common law. You can get benefits at work, get a family membership at the gym, and generally live as if you are married. One significant difference, however, is in matters of estates law.

If you are not legally married, you are entitled to nothing from your spouse’s estate unless you are legally married or you have signed wills. Truly: nothing. You have no inheritance rights unless you are dependent on your spouse, in which case you have to sue your spouse’s estate to receive anything. (And even then you will not get the full estate, only what you would have been entitled to if you had separated the day before your partner’s death).

Common-law couples are a group who truly need to have estate planning documents in place. Society may not care whether you have walked down an aisle, but the Ontario government certainly does.


Where do you keep your estate plan?

Posted in Estate Planning,Intestacy by Cesia Green on April 30, 2013
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Having a properlSafey drafted will and powers of attorney is important. Making sure that your executor and/or beneficiaries know where they are? Almost equally important.

Probably at least every other week, every lawyer who is a member of the Simcoe County Law Association receives an email sent via our law librarian from an estate lawyer or a next of kin, asking if anyone has a will for someone who has recently died. These people may have made a will, or may not have, but if they did, no one knows where it is.

Remember: if no one can find your will, it’s basically the same as not having one at all.

Legal vs. common law

Posted in Estate Planning by Cesia Green on March 26, 2013
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I get a lot of questions about what rights common law spouses have, including from other bloggers. I was recently approached by Peaceful Transition to do another post for them, this time on what a common law spouse can expect on the death of their partner. You can read it here.

Thanks again to Tara for the opportunity!

Do you want Prince Charles to inherit your estate?

Posted in Estate Planning,Intestacy by Cesia Green on January 8, 2013
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Here’s a reason to have a will if you live in Cornwall: there, if you die without a will, your entire estate goes to the Prince of Wales. No joke: in the last six years, he has received over one million pounds from intestate estates. Get a will. Now.