Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Wills in Canada

I'm wondering whether you can suggest a source where we can find statistics about the number of people who die intestate in Canada. Are there any demographics - gender, ethnicity etc.


The short answer is "no one knows exactly, really." The estimates gleaned from various Law associations ran anywhere from 1/3 to 60% in Canada. One can sort of understand why this situation exists. You have definitely unearthed a data gap in the jurisprudence data-sphere.

I believe the information would reside with the provinces, if available. I found one source that noted that
in British Columbia, you can register the location of your Will with the provincial department of vital statistics.
In B.C. this data is found in probate court files that are open for public access. However, there is no central probate index for all past and present probate files, so you will need to determine the court location where the probate application was filed, then visit the court house to obtain the information.

You can also do this via the Internet for recent cases through Court Services Online <https://eservice.ag.gov.bc.ca/cso/index.do> which allows you to search by Party Name, Decased Names, File Number and Date Range; however, you have to search probate case by probate case and once you find a case the court wants a minimum of $6.00 to access the record.

The Government of Ontario does not have a central registry of wills. There is information pertaining to Wills, Estates and Trusts on the Ontario Ministry of the Attorney General site: <http://www.attorneygeneral.jus.gov.on.ca/english/justice-ont/estate_planning.asp>

The 2010 Legacy Poll Findings might also be useful: <http://www.goodworksco.ca/media/10075/legacy_poll_findings_good_works_2010.pdf>