Written by Val Hemminger, Lawyer and Mediator
What is an intestate estate? This is when somebody dies and does not have a will. Their “estate” is the property they own. This area of the law is governed now in British Columbia by the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act.
People die without a will more often than you would think. The thing is, a lot of the time, people do not plan on dying. We often think we have all the time in the world to get our affairs in order.
When someone dies without a will the property they leave behind is referred to as an “intestate estate.”
So, what happens to our property if we do not have a will?
When this happens, at least in British Columbia, the Estate Administration Act takes effect and our property is distributed in accordance with this law.
So, in general, here is how it goes.
If we die and leave a husband and wife, but no kids, the entire estate goes to our husband or wife.
If we die and leave a spouse and kids, then the first $65,000 of the net value of the estate goes to our husband or wife, then the estate gets divided in half after that. After the estate is divided in half, half goes to our kids in equal shares and the other half goes to our husband or wife.
If we die and have kids, the kids’ part of that estate is distributed equally amongst our kids.
You can see where it can get messy. Someone might have two spouses (for example, they have recently separated and moved in with someone else during their mid-life crisis).
Then, if the parties can’t figure it out, the courts will decide.
If we die and have no spouse or kids, our estate goes to our parents if they are living. If we have only one living parent, the estate goes entirely to that parent.
In this case, our estate gets divided amongst our brothers and sisters equally. If we have a brother or sister that has died before us and they have kids, their portion of the estate gets divided up amongst their kids.
I know right? So, then it gets divided equally among the next of kin.
Descendants and relatives of ours that were conceived before death, but born afterwards, inherit as if they had been born in the lifetime of the person who died intestate.
It just seems simpler to get our wills done so things can be distributed the way we want them to be.
Contact us at Hemminger Law Group for your consultation.
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