A person who dies without a valid will is known as “intestate.” The distribution of such a person’s assets was (at the time of this report’s publication) determined by the Intestate Succession Act, RSA 1980, c I-9. This Act was based on a system of property distribution developed in 1670 (the Statute of Distribution). This report asserts that this scheme of distribution was out of date, and that the will of those who died intestate could be served better. In order to ascertain how the majority of intestates would want their property distributed, this report includes references to many reports on public opinion. After taking changes in public opinion and the realities of modern culture into account, the paper suggests reforms to the Act that address:

  • the spousal share;
  • cohabitants;
  • issue (i.e. Children); and
  • next of kin.