What Happens If My Parent – Who Is Unmarried And In A Long-Term Relationship – Dies Without A Will?

What Happens If My Parent – Who Is Unmarried And In A Long-Term Relationship – Dies Without A Will?

What Happens If My Parent – Who Is Unmarried And In A Long-Term Relationship – Dies Without A Will?

A will is a document that allows the writer to dictate how they want their property to be distributed after they die. If a person dies without writing a will, then they are said to die intestate and their assets will be distributed according to Alberta's Wills and Succession Act.

The Wills and Succession Act does not consider the specific circumstances of the intestate or their family. As a result, any distribution of assets under the Act may be unfair. Our Alberta wills and estates lawyer can help you understand what happens if your parent - who is unmarried and in a long-term relationship - dies without a will.

Practical Considerations Of Dying Intestate

If, at the time a person dies intestate, they have both a common-law partner and adult children from a previous relationship, chaos can ensue. Without a personal representative named in a will, it will be unclear to the surviving family members who is supposed to make decisions regarding the funeral and how those expenses should be paid for.

It will also be necessary to ask the court to name a personal representative, which means added expenses for the family at a time that is already stressful.

Distribution Of Property Under The Act

Your parent may legally have an "adult interdependent partner", as they are called in the Act, if:

  • they have lived with another person in a common-law type relationship for at least three years, or
  • they have lived with another person in a common-law type relationship and have a child together, or
  • they have entered into an agreement that defines their relationship as that of adult interdependent partners.

If your parent dies intestate, with both an adult interdependent partner and children from a previous relationship, then your parent's estate will likely be divided between your parent's partner and your parent's children. Under the Act, the adult interdependent partner receives the first 50% of the value of the estate or a minimum amount set by the regulations, whichever is greater. The children split the remainder of the estate equally. If any of the parent's children have already died leaving grandchildren, the grandchildren receive their parent's portion of the estate.

Other considerations

If a parent dies intestate and the results of distribution under the Act leave a dependent family member (either an adult interdependent partner or a child under the age of 18) without adequate support, the court may order a change to the distribution of property to account for that person's need for support.

If your parent is the owner of the house that they live in with their partner when they die, the partner is entitled to stay in the family home for 90 days after the death.

The Benefits Of Having A Will

Intestate distribution of property under the Wills and Succession Act does not allow for any customization to particular circumstances and the results will often leave the family members of the deceased unsatisfied and in financial need.

If your parent - who is unmarried and in a long-term relationship - dies without a will, things could get complicated. Our Alberta wills lawyers can help prevent any unnecessary difficulties. Talk to us today. One of our Edmonton wills and estates lawyer will be pleased to assist you.

Disclaimer: Please note this article is only intended to act as a general overview on a legal topic and does not represent legal advice. For specific legal advice please consult with our wills and estates lawyers.

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