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    What happens when people die without wills in place?

    Despite many people claiming to be aware of the importance of proper estate planning, nearly half of Canadian adults report not having estate planning documents in place. Ontario adults who die without the appropriate wills and other important documents lined up will have their assets and liabilities disseminated according to provincial law. This lack of planning is known to cause tension within families, so it is a good idea for people to consider the implications of procrastinating on or neglecting this important task.

    There are many reasons people may not have wills drawn up. Some may believe they do not need one until they are older, sicker or have more assets to disseminate. Others may be avoiding uncomfortable conversations with family or procrastinating on the personal effort it takes to consider one’s own death. Whatever the reason, putting this task off can be a mistake in many cases.

    When someone dies without a will, it is known as dying intestate. In these cases, the spouse typically gets most or all of the estate, followed by children and then, if none of these people are available, other relatives. If family members believe this is contrary to their late loved ones’ wishes, they may have little recourse without written estate plans to fall back on.

    There are other reasons wills are important besides designating who gets what. For example, wills clarify who is responsible for carrying out estate administration. They also give this person, known as the executor, all the details he or she needs to access all assets to allow for a seamless transition. Overall, wills can help lessen family conflict, give people more control over the fate of their assets, and facilitate a more straight-forward administration process. Ontario adults looking to draft their wills should contact a legal professional for support. If you would like to draft your Will, or discuss your estate planning, contact our experienced estate litigation lawyers at Merovitz Potechin LLP.

    The content on this website is for information purposes only and is not legal advice, which cannot be given without knowing the facts of a specific situation. You should never disregard professional legal advice or delay in seeking legal advice because of something you have read on this website. The use of the website does not establish a solicitor and client relationship. If you would like to discuss your specific legal needs with us, please contact our office at 613-563-7544 and one of our lawyers will be happy to assist you.

    Posted By: Sarah Macaluso of Merovitz Potechin LLP


    Sarah Macaluso practices extensively in the areas of estate planning (including drafting of wills, powers of attorney and trusts), estate administration and estate litigation. She is a hard-working, client-focused advocate with a can-do attitude. She focuses her attention on what matters most for her clients: the results.

    Before joining Merovitz Potechin LLP in 2018, Sarah articled at a reputable civil litigation firm in her hometown of Hamilton, Ontario.

    Sarah holds an honours degree in Business from McMaster University, and Juris Doctor degree from the University of Ottawa. While in law school, Sarah worked at the Business Legal Clinic, providing legal services and education to members of the Ottawa community. She also won the Beament Green Prize for Trial Advocacy.

    Sarah regularly appears before the Ontario Superior Court of Justice and the Small Claims Court.


    Yasmin M. Vinograd of Merovitz Potechin LLP


    Yasmin has been practicing law for over 14 years and has been a member of the Merovitz Potechin team since 2011. Originally from Israel, Yasmin has 5 years of international experience and is able to provide services in both English and Hebrew.

    Yasmin brings an intense passion for practicing law and helping people through her work in estate and commercial litigation. She offers clients extensive knowledge of the law, superior expertise in litigation, attention to detail, compassion and a determination to think progressively and outside the box to achieve the best resolution for her clients.

    Yasmin is a devoted mother and wife, and an active member of her community. She is an avid photographer and enjoys traveling and the outdoors.