What is the spouse’s “preferential share” when a person dies without a Will?

Under the Succession Law Reform Act of Ontario, where a person dies intestate i.e. without making a Will, his/her legal spouse is entitled to a “preferential share,” currently fixed by regulation at $200,000. It is calculated only on the assets in the deceased’s estate and does not include any jointly owned assets or assets that pass to a beneficiary by contract (e.g., life insurance) or by designation (e.g., RRSPs, RRIFs, and TFSAs). The preferential share is calculated only after the debts and liabilities of the deceased have been deducted.


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