Leaving solutions, not problems
Your Will clarifies how you wish to distribute your property and assets after you pass away, helping to avoid confusion and potential conflicts among your family members. It’s what we like to call leaving behind a legacy of love.
Why do I need a Will?
A Will is one of the last gifts you can give to your loved ones. It creates certainty and outlines your exact wishes. By stating who you want to appoint as your Personal Representative and outlining how your assets are to be distributed, you are taking preventative measures against familial conflict. Rather than arguing over your funeral arrangements or who will deal with your estate, your family and friends will have posthumous instructions on how things should be handled. Having a Will also allows you to decide how certain items in your estate are to be distributed, at what age minors are to receive their inheritance, and make arguably the most important decision – who will act as your minor child’s guardian when you are no longer around.
What happens if I don’t have a Will?
When you do not have a Will, the court determines who will be appointed as your Personal Representative (generally, this would be your next of kin), and Alberta law would outline how your estate will be distributed.
Since this leaves no room for discretion or preference, a share of your estate could end up in the wrong hands. Let’s use John Doe as an example:
- John is widowed with two children – Child A and Child B.
- He has a close relationship with Child A and is estranged from Child B.
- John dies without a Will and Child A applies for a Grant of Administration giving Child A the authority to deal with the estate.
- According to Alberta law, both Child A and Child B inherit all of his property in equal shares, but this was not John’s wish. Because he was estranged with Child B, John had alway said that he wanted his entire estate to be go to Child A.
- Estate litigation commences because Child A knew John’s wishes. This could have been avoided if John stated his wishes in a Will.
Who do I need to benefit in my Will?
While a Will is largely at your discretion, it must still abide by the law. For example:
- if you are married, you must benefit your spouse (unless a prenuptial is in place).
- if you are in a common-law relationship, you must benefit your common-law spouse (unless a cohabitation agreement is in place).
- You must also provide for your dependent children (minor children, disabled children, and children on AISH).
To understand how distribution laws apply to your Will and estate, please contact our office for a consultation meeting. Remember, we are here to help.