Intestate Succession (Dying Without A Will)

Intestate Succession in Alberta

If someone has died without a will in Calgary, we can help you.

If someone dies without a will in Alberta then the provisions of Part 3 of the Wills and Succession Act of Alberta governs the situation. It can get complicated quite quickly, especially if the parties are separated, or if there are interdependent partners, or if it is a mixed marriage situation.  It can get more complicated if there are children, step children or adopted children.  But with the help of experienced counsel – the answers are all there.

There are special rules if you are married or were in a common-law or interdependent partner relationship.

Who Is The Executor If There Is No Will?

The initial difficulty when someone dies without a will is that there is nobody “in charge”.  If there is a will, then that will usually appoints an executor (male) or executrix (female) and that person will be in charge.  But with no will, there is nobody with immediate legal authority from the will to be in charge.

Usually what happens in such situations is that an “Application for Administration” is made to the Court of Queen’s Bench (Surrogate Division) by someone – typically, the spouse, adult child or other close relative of the deceased.  They will try and get themselves appointed as the “Administrator” by Court Order. Some of the requirements for these applications are very close to those for a Probate Application, but there are significant differences.

Who Will Inherit The Property If There Is No Will?

The Wills and Succession Act sets out “who gets what” in the estate.  Remember always that property held in joint names usually does not form part of the estate of the deceased and usually passes to the surviving joint title holder.  Be aware that there are exceptions to this general rule however.

If the person who died had a spouse or an interdependent partner, and no children, then the spouse or interdependent partner usually inherits everything (s.58).  However, there are exceptions and you need to talk to a lawyer.

In all other situations (where the deceased had children no matter what age  or there are mixed marriages or interdependent partners, old or new, involved, or children from same) then it is further necessary to talk to a lawyer.

Estate lawyers spend a lot of their time dealing with situations where the person who died had no will.  There are often serious disagreements among the family members as to what should happen and these disagreements can divide families for years.  If someone has died and there is no will, or there might be no will, it is very important to speak with a knowledgeable and experienced estate lawyer right away.

Intestate Succession – The Law in Alberta

The Wills and Succession Act is the major piece of legislation dealing with the disposition of property “no will” situations in Alberta.  Here is a partial listing of the Table of Contents of that Act to give some idea of what is in it.  Talk to a lawyer.

Wills and Succession Act (Part 3)

Table of Contents

Distribution of Intestate Estates

58 Definitions
59 Distribution of intestate estates
60 Share of spouse or adult interdependent partner if no descendants
61 Spouse’s or adult interdependent partner’s share if there are descendants
62 Both spouse and adult interdependent partner
63 Separated spouse deemed predeceased
64 Adult interdependent partner also related to the intestate
65 If no surviving spouse or adult interdependent partner
66 Per stirpes distribution to descendants
67 Parentelic distribution if intestate has no descendants
68 Degrees of relationship
69 No heirs
70 Transitional

If someone has died and there is no will, or you are not sure if there is a will, it is  important to speak with an experienced estate lawyer right away.  Steps need to be taken to protect property, appoint an administrator and make sure that things are done in the proper manner.

Over 30 years of experience as a Calgary estate and probate lawyer.

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