Have you considered the future?
The preservation and protection of your assets, and your wishes for how your estate is handled begins with having a Will. Should the unexpected happen and you pass away without a Will in place, the Wills and Succession Act dictates who will receive your estate and when. The reality is that this may be very different from what you may have chosen yourself. The absence of a Will or proper Estate Planning can cause unnecessary legal costs and concerns for your family at an already difficult time. For any stage of life, our experienced and compassionate team of lawyers at Robertson LLP are here to help.
Did you know that simple estate plans are typically formed by three foundational documents? Many do not realize the importance of an Enduring Power of Attorney and a Personal Directive in addition to the primary Will.
A Will sets out how your assets are to be divided upon your death. A Will can further provide direction for business, guardianship of minor children, special needs dependents, funeral arrangements and management of death related expenses, among other things.
An Enduring Power of Attorney sets out who will manage your property and financial affairs should you become incapacitated, or, depending on your wishes, prior to such an event occurring.
A Personal Directive (AKA “Living Wills”) allows you to direct who will make important decisions with respect to your care should you be unable to make those determinations for yourself. They outline your wishes for matters such as the type of care you wish to receive or not receive and where you will live should you need more advanced care than can be provided in your home.
Please contact our team directly to discuss your Wills & Estates needs. Our lawyers will provide you with an easy to navigate Questionnaire to begin the process, and to keep it as streamlined and stress-free as possible.
|Package (Will, POA & Personal Directive)
|Power of Attorney (Enduring, General)
|Codicil – Robertson LLP Documents, newer than 5 years
|Codicil – External firm docs, and/or older than 5 years
|Rush Fee, within 48 Hours
|Application for Probate / Letters of Administration
||$2,500.00 + 1% of Gross Value of Estate|
GST is not included in the above pricing. These prices are quoted for simple estates. More complex estate planning can incur further fees. Following the initial consultation, our lawyers can advise if the estate requires more extensive planning prior to beginning.
Wills and Estates FAQ’s:
What is a Will?
A Will is the legal statement of a person’s last wishes about how to divide his or her property after death. The property that is distributed following the instructions in a will is known as the estate.
What is an Estate?
The property that you own at the time of your death, including land and possessions, which is distributed following the instructions in your Will is known as your Estate. The property in your Estate is first used to pay debts and taxes. It is then distributed in accordance with the instructions in your Will.
What is a Personal Representative?
A personal representative (formerly known as an executor) is the person named in a will to carry out the directions contained in the will. The personal representative is responsible for settling the person’s affairs after death. The person’s estate passes temporarily to the personal representative.
Why do I need a Will? What does it do? What if I don’t have one?
Wills set out how your assets are to be divided upon your death. They can further provide direction for businesses, guardianship of minor children, special needs dependents, funeral arrangements and management of death related expenses, among other things.
If you do not have a Will in place, the distribution of assets, management of your estate and any guardianship will be left to the courts to decide based on Alberta Law through a lengthy and often stressful process called Probate.
Through a Will you can also name your personal representative (formerly known as an Executor). This is the person whom you trust to have the authority to ensure that your wishes are carried out and to ensure that all your affairs are in order.
Do I have to make a will?
No, a will is optional and voluntary. While it is extremely important to consider making one, you do not have to, and no one can make you sign one if you do not want to do so.
What information is needed for a Will?
Our Lawyers will provide you with an easy to navigate, fillable Questionnaire that will guide you through all the required questions and let you know what information needs to be provided.
*REQUEST YOUR WILLS AND ESTATES QUESTIONNAIRE HERE*
You will require at minimum the following information for anyone named in your Will (such as children, spouse, proposed guardians, personal representative, and other beneficiaries):
- Birth Dates
You will also need to keep some form of record for amounts of all debts, including mortgages, car loans, student loans, business loans and credit card accounts.
You will need to provide a list of assets, including detailed information regarding the following:
- Real Estate
- Bank Accounts
- Investments (stocks, bonds, mutual funds etc.)
- Pension / Retirement Accounts
- Life Insurance Policies
- Ownership Interest in a Business
- Cars, boats, planes and any other vehicles
- Any valuable personal property
You should be sure to provide information regarding any existing Wills, Trusts, Divorce Judgements, Custody Agreements, Prenuptial Agreements and any other legal documents that may affect your Will.
Because of the extent of information provided in your Will, you should be sure to revisit your Will periodically to update it upon certain major life changes to ensure that it is still an accurate reflection of your wishes.
When do I have to make a Will?
Anyone over the age of 18 with mental capacity can make a will at any time (a person under the age of 18 may make a will with the court’s permission). You should make a will if you marry (or enter into some other type of committed relationship), start a family, or divorce (or end some other type of committed relationship). You should also consider making a will if you have a particularly complicated set of wishes. (ref:
How do I get a Will, can I do it myself?
There are certainly advantages to having a lawyer prepare your will. He or she has a lot of expertise that you can call upon to deal with matters like tax consequences, international issues, trusts, making suitable arrangements for young children among many other issues.
Wills must be worded very carefully and precisely to make sure that exactly what you want happens. Lawyers are skilled in the careful and precise use of language. It is important to note that making a verbal recording of your wishes (such as video, voice recording, CD or MP3) is not enough and will not be considered a valid will.
What is a Codicil?
A Codicil is a legal document that allows you to make additions or changes to the terms of your will. Once it is completed, it will become a part of your original will.
What mental capacity do I need to make a will and who decides if I have that capacity?
Having the mental capacity to make a will means that you must:
- Know that you are making a will and understand what a will is;
- Know what property you own; and
- Be aware of the people (such as a spouse and children) you would normally provide for.
In addition, you must know and approve of the contents of your will. If you were misled, whether by fraud or accident, or someone put undue influence on you, your will may later be found to be invalid.
You must have testamentary capacity at the time when you make the will. Making your will while you are in good health may avoid the problem of having your mental capacity questioned.
This is another reason for meeting with a lawyer to discuss your will. This may provide proof that the will was made by your own free choice. Further, you should be alone with the lawyer when making your will. You should be comfortable and be able to speak freely without concern of other parties.
Who can be a witness to my will?
A witness must:
- Be 18 years of age or older;
- Cannot be a beneficiary under the will; and
- Cannot be the spouse or the adult interdependent partner of someone who is a beneficiary under the will.
The witness does not need to read your will. All they must do is see you sign your name to the will, and then they will sign in front of you.
If I make a will, can the government take some of my money as estate tax?
No. There are no estate taxes of any kind in Alberta, regardless of whether there is, or is not, a will. If you write a will and the will needs to be probated, there will be filing fees to get a grant of probate. The exact amount will depend on the value of the estate.
What should I do with my will now that it is complete?
It depends on your situation. Many people choose to put their will in a safe place that their personal representative knows about and can be easily accessed (i.e. a safety deposit box at their bank). Others choose to leave it with a trusted third party such as their lawyer.
How does a changed marital status affect an executed will?
Marriage per se does not make a will void, but there arises a legal obligation to ensure that the spouse is adequately supported.
If the testator separated, the spouse may have a claim against the Estate pursuant to the Matrimonial Property Act.
In the case of a divorce, where the will was not amended to remove the former spouse as a beneficiary or personal representative, and the parties have an Order or Agreement finalizing their affairs, the former spouse is deemed to have pre-deceased the testator.
Why do I need a Codicil?
You can make sure your will is updated by way of a Codicil. This way you ensure that your beneficiaries are current; any new assets that you have acquired are appropriately added to your Estate; and maximize the inheritance received by your beneficiaries.