More Canadians are electing to live Common-Law than ever before, especially the 2nd time around, I did it! But do you have the same rights as being married? The quick answer is no, financial and estate planning becomes much more complicated.

In regards to real estate holdings, typically common-law spouses hold real estate as Tenants In Common as opposed to Joint Tenancy especially if there are children from other relationships. In Joint Tenancy the survivor becomes the sole owner upon the death of their partner but in Tenants In Common, both parties own a separate interest in the home. Quite possibly the children may end up as co-owners of a home and without the presence of a will, this could be very awkward for all parties involved.

In the case of assets like RRSP’s or RRIF’s, these can be transferred on a tax-deferred basis as opposed to being payable to children when these assets become fully taxable upon death and TFSA’s left to a non-spouse beneficiary is no longer tax-free for the beneficiaries.

I am not advocating for marriage as opposed to common-law however these are just a few differences to consider. I suggest it would be wise to discuss all your options with a financial planner or lawyer and ensure that you have a will to protect all of your loved ones after you are gone.

Colleen Saunders is a 20 year veteran in the mortgage industry, serving Oakville,  Burlington, Mississauga and Toronto and offering all mortgage related services such as 1st & 2nd mortgages, private mortgages and more.

To contact Colleen, please fill out the form on  or call 416-459-2406