Family Law

Common Law vs Married Spouses - Part 2: Estates Law

In Ontario, there are significant differences between the rights of common law spouses and the rights of married spouses regarding inheritance upon death.

Married spouses have an automatic right to inherit.  When a married spouse dies leaving a Will, the living spouse can elect to take under the Will.  If the Will does not provide for the spouse, or does not sufficiently provide for the spouse, the spouse can instead elect to take an equalization payment.

Common Law vs Married Spouses - Part 1: Family Law Property Issues

There are important differences between the rights of married spouses and the rights of common law spouses when it comes to handling property when the relationship breaks down. 

In this context, property does not simply refer to real estate property such as a home, but refers to all of  the parties’ assets, including vehicles, household items, bank and investment accounts,  businesses, and even employment pensions.