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Distributing an estate when there is a will

In our last post we wrote about what someone, who is responsible for distributing an estate without a will might face. In this post, we will address the opposite end of the spectrum, that is, when the deceased created an estate plan or at least wrote a will that describes how assets should be distributed.

Generally, when there is a will, the job of the estate trustee will be easier. Rather than having to follow Ontario's Succession Law Reform Act, the assets of the deceased individual will be distributed according to the instructions provided in the will. There are of course situations where the distribution will not be so straightforward.

For example, the will may be deviated from in situations where after creating the will the deceased person marries or divorces. In addition, if any of the beneficiaries named in the will have died, the assets may go elsewhere. This may also occur if the person, who died had any dependents or held property or money jointly with another person.

Regardless of whether a person has a will or not, any assets the deceased individual owned will first be put towards paying off the debts that existed at the time of his or her death.

The job of administering an estate can be complicated and the person designated to play that role may be confused about where to start. An estate planning lawyer can help those, who find themselves in that situation--whether there was a will or not--to make sure they complete the task correctly.

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