Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Parentelic Definition:

Lineal; an intestate estate distribution that promotes lineal descendants.

Related Terms: Lineal Descendant, Intestate

A system of estate distribution that promotes the inheritance of blood relatives of the deceased.1

An article published in the Canadian Estates, Trusts & Pensions Journal contrasted a parentelic intestate system with one based on degrees of consanguinity as follows:

"A change from the current scheme of intestate distribution
depending on degrees of consanguinity to a parentelic one, i.e., a system based on the line of descent from the closest common ancestor of the deceased person and the relative in question, is recommended.

"The existing and proposed systems produce the same results except where remote kin are entitled to take in an intestacy. Under the existing degrees of kinship system, a closer relative and a much more remote one may take the same share if there is no surviving spouse or issue, because they are of the same degree of kinship. Under a parentelic system, the closer relative in the line of descent from the common ancestor will always take ahead of a more remote relative."

In a 2013 manual written for paralegals, edited by lawyer Leah Sandhu, this description is offered:

"Under the parentelic (intestate estate distribution) system, which follows the line of descent from the closest common ancestor, the intestate's estate is divided among the closest kin, with the degrees of kinship counted upward from the deceased (No. 0) to the nearest common ancestor of the deceased (e.g. parents would be Degree No. 1) and then down to their descendants (siblings would be Degree No. 2). Under this system, the descendants of the nearest common ancestor take from the deceased's estate before descendants of a more remote ancestor.

"This system allows a more even division between the two sides of an intestate's family since a descendant of a common ancestor will take an equal share even though there is another descendant of the same common ancestor with a higher degree of consanguinity (who would take all under the existing system)."


  • NOTE 1: Burns, Fiona, Intestacy Law in Australia, England and Singapore - Another Aid to Social Sustainability in an Ageing Population, 2012 Sing. J. L. S. 366 (2012) at page 368.
  • Sandhu, Leah, editor, Guide to Wills and Estates (Gibson, BC: Evin Ross Publications, 2013).
  • Wills, Estates and Succession: A Modern Legal Framework, 27 Est.Tr. & Pensions J. 11 (2007-2008, purporting to excerpt from the a report for the British Columbia Law Institute by the members of the Succession Law Reform Project, BCLI Report #45, June 2006).

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