Supporting Your Dependents in your Estate
Dependent Support with a Will in Place – If you have a will in place and you are supporting your spouse and dependent children at the time of your death, support probably continues for them.
However, if you have separated from your spouse and have not finalized your divorce, you cannot necessarily write that person out of your will. Even though you have separated and were working through a divorce at the time of death, you still may have a support obligation to that spouse. If you have not provided support for your estranged and dependant spouse, that person can make an application for interim support which will freeze the estate’s assets while the court considers the application. Freezing the assets makes it difficult for the estate to pay for other dependents’ support while the matter is under review.
Dependent Support without a Will in Place
If you pass away without a will, your estate doesn’t automatically go to your spouse. Ontario’s Succession Law Act dictates that the first $200,000 of the estate will go to the spouse. The remainder will be divided among the surviving spouse (one-third) and children (two-thirds, divided equally among all). If you and your spouse want a different outcome or you want to provide for others at the time of your death, it is important to include them when you draft a will.
Seek Legal Advice Immediately
Family dynamics are complex. Adults of any age with dependent spouses and children need to have a will in place and estate planning complete. If your estranged spouse recently passed away and did not arrange for your spousal support, time is of the essence and you must contact an estate lawyer immediately. For either drafting a will or making a claim against an estate, you need the services of an expert in wills and estate planning law such as the lawyers at Mackesy Smye in Hamilton. Contact such specialists at Mackesy Smye for a consultation concerning your unique situation and family needs.