Death and taxes. You might be able to avoid taxes, but you cannot escape death. It is not a topic most people want to talk about, so many of us are not prepared for the legal issues that come with dying and incapacitation. That is why making your Will and other estate planning documents are important.
At Estate Connection Law Office, we can help relieve that stress for you and your loved ones. I have been practicing law in this community for 12 years and spent the last 8 years at Weary & Company, where most of my time was spent practicing wills and estate law. There is a real need for this type of focused legal work in St. Albert. Having properly prepared estate planning documents can give you the peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out after you are gone.
You can have a Will drawn up at any time, but it is a good idea to have it prepared when your assets are significant enough, or if you have minor children and wish to name a guardian. If you do have minor children, perhaps you would like them to have their inheritance distributed at different stages of their lives through trusts. If you go through a major change in your life such as marriage or divorce, retirement or the death of your spouse, it’s a good time to think about revising your existing Will.
Did you know that if you own property jointly with your spouse and he or she loses capacity, you won’t be able to transfer or re-mortgage the property without a properly executed Enduring Power of Attorney? Did you know that if it’s necessary to place your spouse in long-term care, the facility may require you to provide a properly executed Personal Directive? Not all law firms practice wills and estate law, and purchasing a Will kit off the Internet isn’t always a good option. Today, families are complicated. You may have children from a previous relationship, a family business, dependents who are disabled—these considerations need to be addressed properly in your Will. At Estate Connection, we’re focused on recent changes to legislation and how these changes impact different family situations.
People often ask why they even need a Will. If you don’t have a Will when you die, your estate will be administered according to legislation. Family members have to decide who will apply to be the administrator of your estate, which is governed by the Wills and Succession Act and it determines who will be the beneficiaries. Typically, the surviving spouse will receive the entire estate, but if this is a second or third marriage, children from another marriage may also benefit.
In the first meeting, we discuss who will be your executor, who will look after your children, how you hold your assets and who you would like to leave them to. If you were to lose mental capacity, we discuss who will take care of your healthcare issues and who will pay your bills. The more you prepare, the less anxiety your family suffers at an already difficult time. Having properly prepared estate planning documents is truly a gift to your family.
Your estate planning documents are one of the most important planning tools you’ll ever make. Choosing the right law firm to prepare these documents is the first step to ensure your wishes are met after your death. We don’t just see this as preparing legal documents, we see this as planning a family legacy and keeping family relationships strong. This may be a difficult topic, but it’ll be more difficult if you avoid it altogether.