When a resident of B.C. dies without a will, administration of their estate typically falls under the Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA). However, if the person was ordinarily resident on an Indian reserve or crown land at the time of their death, their estate is subject to the laws of the Indian Act.
It means the deceased normally resided on an Indian reserve, however, they didn’t necessarily need to be living on a reserve at the time of their time.
If there’s uncertainty about their resident status, Indigenous Services Canada (ISC) can make this determination with a death certificate. ISC is also responsible for probating the person’s will with approval from the Canadian Minister of Indigenous Services.
ISC can usually reach a determination without going to court. However, if the situation is complicated, witnesses may have to testify and the minister will review the file. Some cases may reach the B.C. Supreme Court.
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