What Happens if You Die Without a Will
If you do not have a will, each provincial government has an “Intestate Succession Act” which will tell the
administrator (appointed by the government) who will inherit your estate. Do not assume that if you are
married, that your spouse would receive your estate.
In Alberta, the Intestate Succession Act divides up your estate according to the following table.
Married, with no children or issue
All of estate to spouse.
Married, with one child or issue
First $40,000 of estate to spouse, Balance divided equally
between Spouse and child or issue.
Married, with two or more
First $40,000 of estate to spouse, children or issue 1/3 of
the remainder to the spouse, 2/3 of the remainder divided
equally amongst the children or issue.
Not married, with a child or issue
All of the estate to the child or issue.
Not married, with children
All of the estate divided equally or issue amongst
the children or issue.
Not married, without children or issue
All of the estate divided equally between parents or survivor.
If no parents
All of the estate divided equally amongst brothers and sisters.
If no brothers or sisters
All of the estate divided equally amongst nieces and nephews.
If no nieces or nephews
All of the estate divided equally amongst your next of kin.
If no next of kin
All of the estate to the Province of Alberta with the income
paid to the Universities.
If your wishes will be carried out by the terms of the Intestate Succession Act, then you may not need a will.
You should be aware, however, that the cost and time of having the province divide up your estate will be
greater than the cost of preparing a will.
Some of the problems that may be created without a will are:
• Your spouse may not receive the desired amount,
• Your children may receive too much too young (their money is held in trust until they reach
the age of majority, then they receive the total amount),
• A common disaster (where both spouses die) may benefit an undesired relative (family of
younger spouse if