Amount of money of a minor payable to a parent increased to $35,000

Jonathan Burshtein
Jonathan Burshtein Mar 01, 2021

On February 16, 2021, Ontario increased the amount of a minor's inheritance which can be paid to a parent of person with custody of the minor child from $10,000 to $35,000. This increase also applies to other payments of money owing to a child, such as under a judgement or court order, but this article focuses on inheritances.

Most people do not realize that if they die without a Will and have children, their children can inherit a share of their estate. In this situation, a married spouse will receive a preferential share of $350,000 and the balance of the estate will be divided between the spouse and children. (equally if there is one child and, if there is more than one child, the spouse gets 1/3 and the balance is divided equally between the children). However, a further complication arises where a minor child inherits a share of an estate.

Under Ontario law, if a minor is entitled to a share of an estate, the money cannot be paid to them directly. This commonly arises in situations where a person with children died intestate, i.e. without a Will. This would not include situations in which a Will provided that property is to be held in trust for a minor.

If a guardian of the minor's property has been appointed by the court (a parent is not automatically a guardian, but a parent or other person must apply to the court), the money would be paid to the guardian.

If no guardian has been appointed, if the amount is $35,000 or less, it can be paid to a parent or person with custody of the child. If the amount is more than $35,000, the money must either be paid into court to be held until the child is 18.

It is important for a parent or custodian to be aware that they have significant legal duties if they receive such a payment for a child. They have the responsibilities of a guardian of the property of a child which include an an obligation to account for the money; and to transfer the property to the child when they attain the age of 18 years.