If you’re a spouse of the deceased and there were no children, either between you and deceased or from the deceased’s previous relationships, then the scenario is pretty simple: The surviving spouse inherits the entire estate. It’s also important to note that a common-law spouse is not entitled to an inheritance under Ontario’s Succession Law Reform Act.
If the deceased also had children, then the spouse is entitled to a so-called preferential share of the estate, which amounts to $350,000. The rest is then split up between the spouse and the children. So if someone passed away and left behind a spouse and one child, then the spouse would inherit the first $350,000 and then the spouse and child would each inherit the remaining 50% of the estate. If there is more than one child, then the spouse inherits the preferential share as well as ⅓ of the remaining estate, while the children inherit equal shares of the remaining 2/3rds of the estate.
However, if the total value of the estate is less than the preferential share, then the spouse inherits the entire estate, regardless of whether children are involved.