If you die in Alberta without a Will, your estate’s property will be distributed according to the Wills and Succession Act.
First: debts are paid.
If you have a Spouse/AIP and Descendants:
Your spouse or adult interdependent partner (“AIP) will receive all of your estate ONLY if all of your Descendants are also the Descendants of your spouse or AIP.
AIP means a person you have lived together in a relationship of interdependence continuously for 3 years or more, or who have lived together is a relationship of interdependence and some permanence and have a child together, or who have entered into an adult interdependent partner agreement.
Descendants means more than just children. It means all lineal descendants of an individual through all generations and therefore includes grandchildren and great-grandchildren. It does not mean step—children.
If one of your children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren are not also the children, grandchildren, or great grandchildren of your spouse or AIP, your spouse or AIP will not receive all of your estate. Your spouse or AIP will only receive the greater of the prescribed amount (currently $150,000.00) or 50% of the net value of your estate. The balance will be divided in equal shares among your children and to the Descendants of any deceased children.
If a minor is entitled to any property, that property must be delivered to the Public Trustee (Government of Alberta). If the surviving parent wishes to manage the child’s property on the child’s behalf, the surviving parent will have to seek a Court Order appointing the surviving parent as trustee of the child’s property. Even if the surviving parent is appointed Trustee, the surviving parent will likely have to provide a bond or other security and have to formally account to the Court at regular intervals for the administration of the child’s or grandchild’s property. See: Why is it important to have a Will if you have Young Children
If you have no Descendants: all of your estate will be distributed to your spouse or AIP.
If you have no Spouse but have Descendants: your estate will be divided equally between your surviving children and if you have a deceased child their share will be divided equally between their children.
If you have no Spouse/AIP or Descendants: Your estate will be distributed equally between your parents. If your parents are deceased, then your estate will be distributed to your parents Descendants being their children.
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