If you die without a Will it is called dying intestate. If you die intestate in Alberta, your property and assets get distributed according to what’s called the Wills and Succession Act, which may or may not reflect your actual wishes. Here’s what this looks like in different situations:
- If you have a spouse or an "adult interdependent partner" but no kids, then your spouse/partner gets everything.
- That's also the case if you have a spouse/partner and kids when you die, but all of your kids are from that same spouse/partner. In that case, your spouse/partner would also get everything.
- If you have kids but no spouse at the time of your death, your property and assets are split equally among your kids. If any of your children is already deceased but THEY have kids of their own, then the deceased child's portion gets distributed equally between those kids (your grandkids).
- If you have a spouse/partner and kids, but one or more of your kids are from a prior relationship (i.e. the other parent of one or more children is not your current spouse/partner), things get a bit more complicated.
● Your surviving spouse/partner will get 50% of your estate or $150,000 (whichever is greater).
● The remaining assets are split equally among your surviving kids.
● If any of your kids has died before you but has children of their own, the deceased child's inheritance is split among those kids (your grandkids).
- If you have no spouse/partner or children, your estate goes to your next-of-kin. That could means your parents (if they are still alive), your siblings and/or nieces and nephews, or more distant blood relatives.
- If you have no next-of-kin, your entire estate would go to the province of Alberta and they decide how to use it.
For most people, none of these scenarios are perfect. And even if they are, not having a Will makes it MUCH harder to administer the deceased's estate.