Wills

The Wills and Succession Act consolidates the Wills Act, Intestate Succession Act, Survivorship Act, Dependants Relief Act and section 47 of the Trustee Act. It also includes changes to the Matrimonial Property Act, the Administration of Estates Act, and the Family Law Act.

This single Act specifies how and to whom property is transferred when a person dies. It makes Alberta’s succession legislation easier to use and understand.

The Wills and Succession Act came into effect on February 1, 2012 (except section 117).

Common Questions
Publications
Related Sites

There are several important changes, such as:

  • Abolishing the law that getting married or entering into an adult interdependent partner agreement revokes a will. Under the new Act, getting divorced or ending a relationship will revoke gifts to your ex-spouse or adult interdependent partner.
  • Ensuring spouses and partners have a temporary place to live when their spouse or partner dies if they do not already own the property.
  • If two or more people die at or around the same time, the property is distributed as if each person died before the other. Previously, if two or more people died at about the same time, for property distribution purposes, the youngest was deemed to have survived.
  • The admission of extrinsic evidence (i.e. evidence which is not contained in the document itself) is permitted in interpreting a will. The court may admit corroborated outside evidence, including evidence to help prove the deceased’s intention.
  • If there is no will and a person leaves both a spouse/partner and children of the relationship with that spouse/partner, everything goes to the spouse/partner, instead of being shared between the spouse/partner and children.
  • If there is no immediate family and no will, the rules have changed with respect to the ultimate distribution of an estate (Parentelic Distribution Chart).
  • Family members can apply for support from the deceased’s estate. Family members previously included spouses, partners, children under age 18 and children over age 18 who by reason of physical or mental disability are unable to earn a livelihood. Under the new Act, family members will also include adult children under age 22 who are full-time students, and minor grandchildren or great-grandchildren who depend on a deceased grandparent or great-grandparent.

Surrogate Rules

Amendments to the Surrogate Rules arising out of the Wills and Succession Act prescribe a number of new forms and introduce several procedural changes. Please see the Queen’s Printer website for the Order in Council, which includes the text of the Surrogate Rules Amendment Regulation (including forms).  Applicants are expected to comply with the amendments starting on February 1, 2012. For further information, please refer to Notice to the Profession NP#2012-02 on the Alberta Courts website.

To obtain a copy of the Act, you can visit the Alberta Queen’s Printer website at http://www.qp.alberta.ca/ or contact them at the following address:

Alberta Queen’s Printer Bookstore
5th floor Park Plaza
10611 98 Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5K 2P7
Phone: 780-427-4952
Fax: 780-452-0668

Note:  The Government of Alberta cannot give legal advice. If you have questions about preparing or amending your will, please contact your lawyer.

Helpful Tips

A will that is out of date could create more problems than it solves. Laws change, personal and financial circumstances change, and new developments arise with respect to financial resources and estate planning. It is a good idea to review your will with your lawyer on a regular basis to make sure it does what you want it to do!

 Related Sites

Disclaimer: Links to external or third party websites are provided on this website. These sites are not under the authority of Alberta Justice and Solicitor General. The information contained in linked websites, is not guaranteed as to accuracy or timeliness by Alberta Justice and Solicitor General and is provided for convenience only.