Intestacy is a legal term used when a person dies without a Will. A deceased person who does not have a Will is said to have died "Intestate". The deceased in this circumstance is also referred to as an "Intestate".

The laws that govern how your estate is distributed are called the "laws of intestacy".

In Ontario, the Law specifies that your estate is distributed according to the following rules when you die without a Will:

In these scenarios, if the child predeceases the Testator, the child's share will go to his or her issue. The spouse of a deceased child does not share in the distribution (note that if there was a Will and a child predeceased the Testator, if the Will did not state otherwise, the disposition would go to the child's spouse).

It's possible for a person to have a Will which addresses the distribution of some of his or her property but not other property. If a Will is silent or invalid with respect to some property, the situation is often referred to as a partial intestacy.

Depending how complicated your estate is, your relatives may need to hire a lawyer and go to court to deal with your estate. Sometimes, a government agency (the Office of the Public Guardian and Trustee) will get involved to make sure that your estate is dealt with properly.

A person's estate usually incurs greater costs if he or she dies without a Will and have not planned their affairs accordingly.

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Survived By
Spouse and no issue (child)
No spouse and one or more issue
Spouse and more than one issue
Spouse and one issue
No spouse or issue
No spouse, issue, parent, brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces
No spouse, issue, parent, brothers or sisters
No spouse, issue or parents
Spouse is entitled to the estate absolutely
Estate is distributed equally among the issue
Preferential share ($200,000) to spouse. Of the remaining balance, one-third goes to the spouse and the remaining two-thirds are split equally among the issue.
Preferential Share ($200,000) to spouse. Remaining balance (called the residue), if any, is shared equally between the spouse and issue. If the estate is worth less than $200,000, then the surviving spouse would be entitled to everything.
Estate is distributed equally between surviving parents. If only one parent is deceased, the estate would go to the surviving parent.
Estate distributed among next of kin
Estate is distributed among nephews and nieces equally
Estate is distributed equally among brothers and sisters of the deceased. If any brother or sister predeceases the intestate, the share of the deceased sibling would be distributed among his or her children equally.
No spouse, issue, parent, brothers or sisters, nephews or nieces, or next of kin
Estate is forfeited to the state