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Things to know when a family member dies intestate

On Behalf of | Nov 17, 2021 | Estate Administration

Some people might wonder if they could act as an executor of a family member’s will if that family member died without a will. There is no hard and fast answer to that question, but estate administration in Ontario follows a set of rules. A loved one could apply for the administrator job, but first he or she has to show that a careful search was made for a will that apparently was never created.   

Who can apply to be a trustee? 

There are certain people who can apply to be an executor of the estate of a loved one who died intestate. Here is a list of those individuals that might be helpful: 

  • A spouse or common-law partner 
  • Children or grandchildren 
  • Great grandchildren or anyone who is directly related to the decedent 
  • Father, mother, brothers or sisters of the decedent 
  • Grandparents of the decedent 
  • Aunt, uncles, nieces, nephews or great-grandparents of the decedent 
  • Other family members like cousins 
  • The Public Guardian and Trustee if the decedent has no relatives in Ontario 

If more than one person wants to apply for the role, the court may decide to appoint more than one administrator. Those who have a claim against the estate can’t apply for the executor’s position. Those who want to apply must fill out an application for a Certificate of Appointment of Estate Trustee without a Will confirming that the person can legally deal with the estate.  

Things can get very sticky when Ontario residents die without an estate plan. In these situations, the intricacies of estate administration, including determining any trustees, can be rather complex and confusing. An experienced lawyer can answer all of one’s questions and concerns about the matter along with carefully guiding those seeking to become executors through the process.  



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