The Wills and Succession Act consolidated the Wills Act, Intestate Succession Act, Survivorship Act, Dependants Relief Act and section 47 of the Trustee Act.

This single Act specifies how and to whom property is transferred when a person dies, making 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
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The Wills and Succession Act has these key highlights: 

  • Abolishes the law that getting married or entering into an adult interdependent partner agreement revokes a will. Under the Act, getting divorced or ending a relationship revokes gifts to your ex-spouse or adult interdependent partner.
  • Ensures 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. Under the 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 forms and procedures. Please see the Queen’s Printer website for the Order in Council, which includes the text of the Surrogate Rules Amendment Regulation (including forms). 

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
7th 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.