HIGH STAKES FOR SMALL ESTATES: DO THE NEW PROBATE RULES FURTHER ACCESS TO JUSTICE?

Apr-21-2021

Many people believe they don’t need a will if they “don’t have anything.” They believe that because anything they own at death will automatically pass to a spouse or children, they need not worry. In fact, low-income Ontarians have the most to lose if someone in their household dies without a will. PBO’s Free Legal Advice Hotline regularly receives calls from people in desperate financial straits because a loved one – who always paid the rent or household bills – has died intestate and the family can’t access their bank account. They find themselves staring down impending eviction or battles with utility companies to keep the heat on. Grieving families who contact us are often overwhelmed by the impenetrable barrier of the probate process, which has historically been lengthy and complex, with no concessions for small estates.

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