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Your Will and Property in Other Provinces

Posted by Graeme Maitland — filed in Wills and Estates Law

When there is property in different provinces, a Will in Canada must be aware of a conflict of laws.  Constitutionally, each Province is responsible for creating its own laws relating to how to deal with property, including after death.  With all the different property laws, this can lead to serious problems. A special area of law developed that studies these conflicting laws and seeks to create overarching doctrine which will smooth over any discrepancies.

Types of Property in a Will

The law recognizes two different types of property in a Will: movable property and immovable property. A watch or a painting is movable property, land is immovable property.  Conflict of Laws deals with each type in a Will differently.

Movable property is governed by the laws of the domicile of the testator (the person who died) at death.  In Alberta, this rule still applies under the Wills and Successions Act.

Immovable Property must be dealt with under the laws of the place where the property is. Mortgages are treated like immovable property in Wills cases because they are directly tied to immovable property.

Fixing the Conflict in Alberta

In Alberta, a Will can deal with property in different jurisdictions.  The law where you lived when you died governs your movable property.  As a result, if you live in Alberta but died in Costa Rica, Alberta law applies.

While immovable property must be dealt with under the law of the place the property is located, you do not need more than one Will.  What you do need is for the specific parts of your Will dealing with that property to be in accordance with the laws of the jurisdiction.  If you have a cabin in one province and want to give it all to your dog, you better check if that province allows you to do that first.

If you require a Will, even if all of your property is in Alberta, speak to one of the lawyers at Aarbo Fuldauer LLP in Calgary.

Address: 3rd Floor, 1131 Kensington Road NW, Calgary, AB, T2N 3P4

Phone: (403) 571-5120


The information in the blog is not legal advice. Do not treat or rely upon it as legal advice.  If you require legal assistance, please contact a lawyer
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