What would you do if something happened to your spouse or someone else listed on the title to your property? Survivorship is a right that protects multiple owners of a single property. It allows you to remain in your shared home when your spouse or partner dies, without having to wait for their Will or life insurance to be distributed.
Survivorship Rights in Ontario
When two or more people take title to a property as joint tenants, one of the rights they are awarded is a legal principle known as the “right of survivorship”. If a joint tenant dies, the surviving owners automatically assume the deceased's share. The deceased is removed from the title and the remaining owners carry on, even if the deceased's Will states otherwise. The right of survivorship in Ontario overrides probate or any other process that divides joint owners' estate.
Survivorship and Matrimonial Homes in Ontario
If Michael and Susan own a home as joint tenants and legally married spouses, Susan has both matrimonial and survivorship rights. When Michael dies, Susan becomes the sole owner of their home, regardless of anything Michael may have stated in his personal Will. Unless the home must be sold to satisfy a bankruptcy, Susan can keep it and is liable for only mortgage and property tax payments. She avoids estate administration taxes and can leave the home to their children or other beneficiaries in her Will.
Common Law Survivorship Rights
Now say Michael and Susan are common law partners, but Michael fails to add Susan to the title to the property. Susan has no claim to their family home, regardless of how long they shared it.
Common law partners in Ontario can be denied the family home unless joint tenancy is arranged in advance on property titles. While legally married spouses have a right to matrimonial homes, common law spouses are only entitled to real estate they brought into a relationship or gifts left in personal Wills or cohabitation agreements.
Joint tenancy ensures the family home you shared is left to your partner by creating legal joint ownership rights.
Survivorship in Separation, Divorce and Death
Separated spouses keep their survivorship rights when their partner dies, but divorced spouses are only entitled to gifts left in Wills. Only if property division was incomplete and the divorce was not final can you exercise your right to your matrimonial homes.
If both you and your spouse die at the same time, your matrimonial home's ownership is considered a tenant in common arrangement for Will purposes. Your beneficiaries inherit according to your Will or, when you die without a Will, Ontario's intestacy rules.
Ask Axess Law about registering separations or divorces on property titles to ensure your beneficiaries receive the gifts you intended them to have.
Making a Survivorship Application in Ontario
Survivorship applications are necessary because until official records are updated, a deceased's property cannot be sold, mortgaged or otherwise dealt with. An application of survivorship allows a matrimonial, family or shared home held in a joint tenancy to bypass Ontario probate court, reducing stress and uncertainty for surviving owners.
Instead of the home you live in being left in limbo, an Axess Law lawyer can make a survivorship application to remove a deceased owner from the property title. Survivorship applications are speedy and cost far less than paying estate administration taxes to transfer real property.
Why You Need a Lawyer
Unlike probating a will, which can take months or sometimes years, the right of survivorship is automatic. Most survivorship applications in Ontario take just a few days when you use an
Our licensed Greater Toronto Area attorneys can give you professional legal advice on making a survivorship application in any situation. We prepare applicable documents in support of survivorship application to legally register the change in property ownership quickly and efficiently. You pay just $549.99 plus HST to get full access to your lawyer and law clerk via telephone and/or email.
Our all-inclusive quote covers our flat rate legal fee, any third party fees and taxes. There are no hidden fees or extras..Your fee is all-inclusive.
Documents We Need
Bring these documents to your Axess Law appointment:
- an original or certified true copy of the deceased’s death certificate, from the funeral home, funeral director or Service Ontario
- copy of the property title or property ID
- certificate of appointment of estate trustee from an Ontario probate court (if you have one)
- government-issued photo ID, such as a driver's licence or OHIP health care card.
Your lawyer will conduct a title search and prepare a survivorship application. We will register your application and advise government agencies of changes to update your property records.
Book Legal Appointments Online or By Phone
Axess Law has remote video conferencing lawyers who can assist you anywhere in Ontario, 7 days a week. If you prefer, our Wills and estate lawyers can meet you in person at any of our Greater Toronto Area law offices.
Book online or call our 1-647-479-0118 lawyer line for an appointment that suits your schedule. We will set a date for you to come into one of our conveniently located offices to sign documents or we can send someone to meet you at your home or office.