COVID-19 Update — To assist in our community’s collective effort to combat COVID-19, our physical offices are operating on a restricted basis. Although we are limiting attendance at our office by both firm members and clients, we remain otherwise fully operational and look forward to continuing to provide the highest level of legal services to our clients. Read our full response notice here.

The previous blog in this series outlined key issues in Will preparation.  Today’s post discusses the law of “intestacy”, which provides the rules that govern the administration of estates where a deceased person did not leave a valid Will. If you die intestate and are survived by your spouse and no children, your spouse will be entitled to all of your property. If you are survived by your spouse and one or more children, your spouse will receive a $200,000 preferential share from your estate. If you are survived by your spouse and one child, your property remaining after payment of the spouse’s preferential share will be distributed equally between your spouse and your child. If you are survived by more than one child, your spouse will be entitled to one-third of your remaining property, and your children will be entitled to equal shares of the remaining two-thirds. A child will be considered to have survived you for the purpose of distribution on an intestacy if the child is deceased, but has living children. The child’s share will be distributed among his or her children equally. If you die intestate and have no surviving spouse, children or grandchildren, your property will be distributed equally among your relatives of the nearest degree in which there are relatives surviving you: first your parents, then your siblings, then your nieces and nephews, and so on. If a minor child is entitled to a share of your estate on an intestacy, the money will be held in court or by a court appointed guardian. When the child turns 18 years of age, the money will be released to the child without any restriction.

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