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What happens when you die without having a will?

If you die without a will in British Columbia, there are a few things that can happen. First, you're legally going to be known as dying intestate. This means you won't have the opportunity to decide how your assets are going to be divided, and the province where you live will.

When you die intestate, the provincial succession law for your area comes into play. The first issue there is that you won't have an executor. That means that there is no one to manage your estate. A court will appoint an administrator to handle your case, and most of the time, this is a family member. However, you won't get to choose who that family member is, and that could lead to disputes down the line.

Not everything goes to your spouse or children when you die if you don't have a will. In most cases, if you're married with only a spouse, then you could find that he or she does inherit it all. However, your children, if you have them, could also be given a portion of your assets. You won't be able to divide assets up between others, though, it will all go to your direct dependents and spouse in most cases.

You also won't be able to determine guardianship if you pass away without a will. This can be a serious problem for your child, since the court will have to decide who will be taking over your child's care. The delay can be disruptive and can take a toll on children who are uncertain of their futures.

Source: FindLaw Canada, "What happens if you die without a will?," accessed April 06, 2016

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