If someone dies without a will, their property will be distributed according to the law in B.C. which is the Wills Estates and Succession Act (WESA). Normally the estate is passed on to the deceased’s spouse, children, or descendants (such as grandchildren). If there is no spouse or descendants, the estate passes to other relatives.
If the deceased has a spouse and no descendants, the estate goes to the spouse. “Descendant” refers to the closest generation of survivors to the deceased. This is mostly intended for children only. For example, grandchildren receive a share of the estate only if their parents (children of the deceased) died before the deceased.
If the deceased leaves a spouse and descendants, the spouse and descendants get at least part of the estate.
If the deceased had multiple spouses (which is possible), the spouses’ share is divided equally (unless they agree or the court decides otherwise).
If the deceased had no spouse, the estate is divided equally among the descendants.
If the deceased had no spouse or descendants, the estate passes to the parents. If the parents die, the money is passed equally to the siblings. If the deceased had no spouse or spouse and neither parents nor siblings were alive, or had no siblings, there are other rules to ascertain which next of kin may receive the estate.
By law, if no one is considered a close relative of the deceased, the estate is transferred to the B.C. government.