By Valerie L. Brown of Brown Law Firm Professional Corporation
If you are married:
File a matrimonial home designation on any property regularly occupied by you and your spouse during your marriage. Your spouse will be unable to sell or encumber the property without notice to you, or your permission, even if they are the sole registered owner.
If you are joint tenants:
Sever the joint tenancy and put title to the property as tenants in common. As joint tenants, should one of you die before the property issues are resolved with the transfer or sale of the property, the other will inherit your interest automatically. If the joint tenancy is severed, and property is held as tenants in common, your share of the property will not go to the other automatically and will instead be distributed in accordance with your Will.
Make a Will:
If you are married, separated but not yet divorced, your spouse will be legally entitled to the first $200,000.00 value of your estate under the Succession Law Reform Act, plus an additional ½ or 1/3rd of the remainder, depending on how many children you have.
Update your Will:
If you already have a Will and have named your spouse as a beneficiary, he or she will still be deemed to receive that gift until a Divorce is obtained, at which time the gift is deemed to be invalid. Until then, changing your Will to exclude your spouse is advisable.