Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan Issues Consultation Paper on The Intestate Succession Act, 1996
August 16, 2016
BY Sebastian Ennnis
The Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan recently issued a consultation paper on The Intestate Succession Act, 1996. The Act determines how an estate is divided in Saskatchewan when there is no valid will, or if there is a portion of an estate left after the will is applied.
Just over half of Canadian adults do not have a signed will. This number increases with younger adults.
The Commission wants to get feedback from a wide variety of people regarding how they would want their estate to be distributed if they died intestate (without a will). The Commission will use this information in recommending reform of the Act.
Along with its research and analysis, the Commission set out a series of consultation questions. It is particularly interested in responses to these questions:
- Is the spousal preferential share in the Act in need of reform? Why?
- Is the treatment of separated spouses under the Act in need of reform? Why?
- Is the treatment of common-law spouses under the Act in need of reform? Why?
- Should children conceived posthumously with the deceased’s genetic material, stepchildren, and informally adopted children be able to inherit from an intestate? Why or why not?
- Should the doctrine of advancement be abolished or reformed? Why?
- Should next of kin be determined by the parentelic system of distribution (as opposed to the current system based on degrees of kinship)? Why?
- Should the Act contain provisions for determining which law applies to immovable property located in Saskatchewan if the intestate is domiciled outside of the province? If yes, what rule should be added?
- Are there any cultural practices relating to intestate succession that should be incorporated or referenced in the Act?
BCLI has done much work on reform of intestate succession in BC. In 2006, BCLI published a report entitled Wills, Estates and Succession: A Modern Legal Framework (which is referenced in the Saskatchewan Commission’s consultation paper). The report resulted from the BCLI Succession Law Reform Project, a three-year study supported by the Ministry of the Attorney General. In 2009, the B.C. Legislature passed the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, an omnibus reform Act that was largely based on BCLI’s 2006 report.
As the Commission notes, “[i]ntestate succession legislation has been a prolific subject area for Canadian law reform.” Many law reform agencies across Canada have produced recommendations for reform in this area over the last 20 years. BCLI applauds continuance of that trend in Saskatchewan and encourages public input into the process.
How to Respond
Responses to the consultation paper should be sent no later than October 31, 2016:
By e-mail: [email protected]
By fax: (306) 966-5900
Law Reform Commission of Saskatchewan
University of Saskatchewan
Room 185, College of Law
15 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A6