Estate Law Case Study: Spouse dies without a will in Ontario 

a funeral for someone - the family mourning even more because the person made things more complicated by dying without a will.

Disclaimer: This article is intended for the purpose of providing an example of the dangers of dying without a will. It is to be used only for the purposes of guidance. This article is not intended to be relied upon as the giving of legal advice. It does not purport to be exhaustive. 

Creating an estate plan is on many of our to-do lists, but we procrastinate drafting it. There are many reasons. We may think we do not have a big enough estate to necessitate a will. We might believe that we are too young to have to worry about that yet. 

The reality is that everyone – regardless of the size of your estate, your age, or any other factor – should be creating an estate plan.  

In this real-life scenario, we examine a case involving someone who died intestate – meaning dying without a will – and the issues that arose because of that. (To learn more about how the laws of intestacy work in Ontario, read our blog article here.) 

Case Study: Spouse Died Without a Will 

Our client was the surviving spouse of a man who died without a will in place. The couple had minor children

Our client wanted to be appointed executor to manage her late husband’s estate. Simultaneously, she was also recognized as the natural guardian of their minor children. 

While seemingly straightforward, her journey to secure these roles was more complex than expected.

The challenge arose when the Office of the Children’s Lawyer, representing the best interests of minors in such cases, identified a potential conflict of interest in her dual roles as executor and guardian of the children. Concerned about the potential for conflicting priorities, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer insisted on the submission of a comprehensive management plan that would address this issue.

Our client turned to our firm, known for its expertise in estate law. We connected her with financial planners who could help her create a well-structured management plan that alleviated concerns and maintained transparency in her roles.

The importance of other professionals in estate law 

The collaboration between Beeksma Law and the financial planners was instrumental. Together, they developed a management plan that not only addressed the potential conflict of interest but also ensured the financial well-being and security of our client’s minor children. The plan detailed how she would manage her responsibilities as executor, taking into account her children’s interests and needs. 

By leveraging the resources and expertise of Beeksma Law and our network of professionals, our client successfully navigated this situation. The courts appointed her as the executor. Furthermore, the Office of the Children’s Lawyer accepted the management plan, ensuring her children’s best interests were at the forefront of all decisions. This case highlights the importance of comprehensive estate planning, especially in situations involving minors. It also shows the value of having trusted legal advisors like Beeksma Law to provide holistic solutions to complex challenges.

Preventing Unnecessary Complexity: The Role of Estate Planning in Ontario

The aforementioned case underscores the critical importance of having a well-drafted will in place. While the collaborative efforts between our client, Beeksma Law, and financial planners ultimately led to a successful resolution, it still created undue anxiety for our client. 

You can avoid unnecessary complications that arise from dying without a will by taking proactive steps in estate planning. 

Beeksma Law: Your trusted partner in estate issues planning 

Beeksma Law is your trusted partner in estate matters. Whether it’s crafting a well-drafted estate plan or helping you navigate any issues that arise during your loved one’s estate administration, we can guide you through the entire process.  Contact our team today to learn more. 

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