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Probate is the process where the court recognizes the authority of an executor in a will to deal with the assets of the estate. Administration is the application required when there is no will. A grant in either case assures certain third parties such as financial institutions of the validity of your will or appointment, and it also facilitates the distribution of estate assets.

How is a Grant obtained where there is no Will?

Section 13.1(b) of the Estate Administration Act sets out which relatives of the deceased person (if available) has priority to make the application:

First priority goes to the spouse or adult interdependent partner (“aip”) of the deceased, followed by the children, or grandchildren, or other descendant, or parent, or sibling, and so on.

Who are the beneficiaries of an estate where there is no Will (an intestate estate)?

Part 3 of the Wills And Succession Act sets out the distribution scheme in Alberta on an intestacy:

Firstly, if there is a surviving spouse/aip and no descendants, that person will receive the entire estate. If there is a surviving spouse/aip and children, the estate will go to the spouse or aip, if the children are the descendants of both the deceased and the spouse/aip. If the children were not descendants of the spouse/aip, 50% of the estate would go the spouse/aip, and the rest to the children.

If there is no spouse/aip, the estate will be divided equally amongst the deceased’s children. If a child predeceased the deceased person, that child’s share would be divided equally amongst that child’s children (the deceased’s grandchildren).

In cases where there is no spouse/aip, children or grandchildren, the next beneficiary with priority would be the deceased’s parents, followed by siblings, nieces and nephews, grandparents etc.

Please contact us if you have any questions about obtaining a Grant of Administration in an intestate estate.