How To Settle The Estate Without A Will

When somebody dies without a will (intestate) in British Columbia, the new Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) determines who should be allowed to administer the estate and how it should be administered.

Fast & Company Law Firm can help you apply for letters of administration (also called certificates or grants), and guide you through the process of administration without a will.

Before you apply to become an administrator, you should know who will be given priority by the court if there is more than one applicant. The court looks at the relationship of the applicants to the deceased, and lists relationships in order of priority as follows:

  1. The widow or widower
  2. Somebody nominated by the widow/widower
  3. An adult child or someone nominated by the child, provided that the child (or his or her nominee) has the consent of most of the other children
  4. An adult child (or his or her nominee) who does not have the consent of most of the other children
  5. A successor (who is not a spouse or child), but who has the consent of most of the other successors
  6. A successor who does not have the consent of most of the other successors

If no family or successors want to apply, the court will consider other applications.

Performing Your Duties

Once you have been appointed, our lawyer will help you understand how the WESA expects you to administer the estate. For example:

  • The estate passes to the spouse if there are no children.
  • If the deceased leaves behind a spouse and children, the first $300,000 of the estate goes to the spouse, including the house. Then one half of the rest of the estate goes to the spouse, and the rest is divided equally among the children.
  • If the children of the deceased were not the children of the spouse (i.e., they are the stepchildren of the spouse), the spouse will get the first $150,000, not $300,000 of the estate.
  • If there is no spouse, the estate is divided equally among the children.
  • If there are no children or spouse, the estate goes to the parents.
  • If there are no parents, the estate is divided equally among the brothers and sisters.
  • The court will appoint somebody to care for any minor children if both parents die, and will hold their share of the estate for them until they turn 19.

Contact Fast & Company Law Firm

We represent clients in Richmond, Vancouver and surrounding areas. Call us at 604-273-6424.