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Dying Without A Will

If a person dies without a will, then they are considered to have died “intestate”. In this case, their estate will be distributed according to the Intestate Succession Act. Intestate succession may not be what a person had wanted, so it is important for people to consider making a will if their wishes do not align with the Intestate Succession Act.


The Intestate Succession Act lists how a person’s estate will be distributed when they die without a will based on their family members. For example, if a married intestate person had one child, their spouse and child will have an equal 50/50 interest in the intestate person’s estate. However, if the intestate person had 2 or more children, their spouse will only have a one third interest in the estate. The other two thirds will be equally shared among the children, regardless of how many children there are.

If a person had no married spouse, nor any children, but their parents are still alive, then the intestate person’s parents will have an equal 50/50 interest in the intestate person’s estate. If there is only one surviving parent, then the surviving parent will have interest in the entire estate.

The Intestate Succession Act also considers other situations where a person has no married spouse, children, or living parents. In these situations the intestate person’s brothers and sisters will receive an equal interest in the estate. If they had siblings who predeceased them, and have no living married spouse, children, parents, or siblings, then their nephew(s) and niece(s) will have an equal interest in the estate.

Additionally, if a person does have a will, but has not provided for what will happen with something that they own at their time of death, then the Intestate Succession Act will apply to any unaccounted for items.