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What Happens If You Die Without A Will?


Thinking about death isn’t fun, but not planning for it can have consequences. Unfortunately, most Canadians don’t expect to die without a legal will. Statistics Canada tells us that an astonishing 57% of Canadians do not have a will.  This is usually because people assume there will be plenty of opportunities in the future to create this legal document and take it off their to-do list.

Ultimately, the primary purpose of a will is to make sure your wishes are met. A will allows you to identify the executor (the person in charge of handling your affairs when you die) and the beneficiaries (the people you wish to transfer your wealth to). Without one in place, you might miss out on having a say in what happens to your investments, or more importantly deciding who will step in as the guardian to take care of your minor children.

Dying without a will is referred to as dying intestate, and if you have not had the chance to get your affairs in order, you would be joining a long list of individuals that have passed on without having a say in what happens to their assets. Below is a short list of familiar names that amassed a great amount of wealth in their life, but due to lack of planning died without having a plan in place for their heirs.

Bob Marley

Bob Marley died intestate at the age of 36 after a long bout with cancer. He was survived by his 12 heirs and his estate was reported to be worth $30 million at the time of death. Unfortunately for Bob Marley, it went against his Rastafarian religion to complete a will, and decided not to have the legal document in place despite being severely ill from cancer. At the time of his death, his estate had a dozen of claimants and to this date, it continues to generate significant revenue.

Abraham Lincoln

Despite being a prominent lawyer himself, Abraham Lincoln’s death meant he was the first US president to die without a will in 1865. When Lincoln died at 54, his estate was worth approximately $1M in today’s dollars. A Supreme Court justice helped the family with their legal issues. Despite this, it still took 2 years to resolve his estate.

Pablo Picasso

In 1973 Pablo Picasso died at the age of 91 and is widely considered to be the most famous artist of the 20Century. At the time of his death, the estate was worth $100 - $250 million and this doesn’t include his art collection. Despite his wealth and advanced age, Picasso had no will in place and the battle over his estate lasted 6 years and cost over $30 Million in legal fees. Painful!

What happens when you die without a Will in Manitoba?

Now that we have a clear understanding of how dying without a will creates a lot of work and stress for the loved ones you leave behind, It’s important to know the consequences of dying without a one in Manitoba. The image below is by far one of the best visual representations of how messy dying intestate can be.


You are never too young—or too smart or too powerful—to have a will. If intergenerational wealth transfer is one of your goals, our team at Endeavour Wealth Management is here to help you now and for your future needs.

-Kondwelani Kalinda, Licensed Assistant

Kondwelani Kalinda is a Licensed Assistant at Endeavour Wealth Management with iA Private Wealth, an award-winning office as recognized by the Carson Group. Together with his partners he provides comprehensive wealth management planning for business owners, professionals and individual families.

This information has been prepared by Kondwelani Kalinda who is a Financial Planning Assistant for iA Private Wealth and does not necessarily reflect the opinion of iA Private Wealth. The information contained in this newsletter comes from sources we believe reliable, but we cannot guarantee its accuracy or reliability. The opinions expressed are based on an analysis and interpretation dating from the date of publication and are subject to change without notice. Furthermore, they do not constitute an offer or solicitation to buy or sell any of the securities mentioned. The information contained herein may not apply to all types of investors. The Investment Advisor can open accounts only in the provinces in which they are registered.


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