Prince died unexpectedly at the age of 57 without a Will. A famous musician, it is estimated that Prince may have left an estate valued at between $150 and $300 million US dollars.

When a person dies without a Will, the laws of intestacy in the relevant jurisdiction dictate who inherits and how much they inherit. In Ontario, the Succession Law Reform Act dictates the distribution of the deceased’s estate. (Interestingly, common law spouses are not on the list.) In Ontario, the beneficiaries are as follows:

  1. If there is a married spouse and no children, the spouse takes all.
  2. If there is a married spouse and any children, the spouse gets the first $200,000. If there is one living child, the remaining residue is divided between the spouse and the child. If there is more than one child, the spouse takes 1/3 of the remaining residue and the children share the remaining 2/3 equally.
  3. If there is no spouse, the estate goes to the children equally.
  4. If there are no children, the estate goes to the deceased’s parents equally.
  5. If there are no surviving parents, the estate goes to the deceased’s siblings equally; if a sibling has predeceased, that share goes to his or her children.
  6. If there are no children, the deceased’s nieces and nephews share equally.
  7. If there are no nieces or nephews, the estate goes to the next of kin in equal degrees of consanguinity.
  8. Finally, if there are no next of kin, the estate escheats to the Crown.

Cate Grainger is an Estate Lawyer in London with the Harrison Pensa Wills, Estates, Trusts, and Charities Law Group. Her practice focuses on estate planning, estate administration, corporate succession strategies and not-for-profit law. Contact Cate by email or phone at (519) 661-6751.