Dying Without a Will: What Are the Implications?

As much as we want to enjoy life here on Earth, we must acknowledge that we will not be here forever. There will come a time when we are just going to leave. It may not be our wish, but we are not permanent. 

While we are here, it would be a disservice to leave without a word to the loved ones that we may leave behind. Luckily enough, there is an acceptable way we can express our wishes on what should happen to you and your property when you die. And that the will. 

If you are still hesitant to make your own will, this article is for you. We answer some questions on what would happen if you die without a will – Intestate. 

After pre-paying my funeral expenses, is there a need for an Executor?

Yes, you would still need an Executor even after paying your funeral expenses in advance. An Executor will act as your representative, ensuring that the funeral provider executes the funeral as planned. The provider would typically seek a go-ahead from the Executor to initiate the funeral program. 

Who makes funeral arrangements when the deceased dies without a will? 

If you die without a will, the court will appoint someone to settle your estate and arrange your funeral. 

The court has an order that follows to determine whom to appoint. Here is the priority list: 

  1. Your spouse
  2. Your Adult Children
  3. Your grandchildren
  4. Your Great-Grandchildren
  5. Your parents
  6. Your siblings
  7. Your grandparents
  8. Other Relatives

The process can be smooth when there’s no conflict, and family members can efficiently work as a team and issue the necessary instructions. But should there be a conflict, the deceased family should consider seeking a professional to provide advice. 

What happens when I’m legally married, but I die while living with another partner? 

The surviving spouse is typically the leader in funeral arrangements for legally married couples. But if an individual dies while living with another person under a conjugal relationship, it would be assumed that the deceased had two spouses. When that is the case, it becomes necessary to seek a court’s appointment on who takes the lead. 

Is priority accorded based on birth order? 

Priority by age or birth order is not recognized by law. All the deceased’s adult children, their grandchildren, great-grandchildren, or siblings have the right to run funeral arrangements in that order.  

What about the child’s funeral arrangements? 

Each of the child’s parents has equal rights to make funeral arrangements. For divorced or separated parents who have joined custody of the child, both of them still have equal rights and authority to lead the funeral arrangements. For cases where one parent reserved sole custody, that is the parent with control. For an adult child whose divorced parents conflict, there is a need to seek legal counsel to take responsibility for arranging the funeral. 

What if I’m alone? Do I need a Will? 

It is always essential to have a will and an Executor if you do not have a Next of Kin. It becomes easier to plan for your funeral and succession. 

Should you need any support at any stage of your funeral plans, you can always talk to us at Brampton Funeral Home. We want to stand by you when you most need help.