Drafting A Will
It is important for anyone over the age of 18 in Alberta to have a Will. If you are under 18 years of age and have a child or are married, you may also consider a Will. You want to be the one who decides who gets your things and your money and who represents you to do that. If you do not have a Will, your representative and to whom your things go, is governed by Statute.
It is also crucial that you deal with your wishes for the guardians of your young children to avoid court proceedings or custody battles among your surviving relatives or friends.
Before you make your first appointment, there are several things you should think about:
We need to know who you wish for your Personal Representative(executor). You must also name an alternate executor to your will. That way, if your first choice is unable to act, then the alternate is already named and a court appointed executor/trustee is not required.
If you have minor children, please provide the names of a guardian/guardians to your minor children as well as their relationship to you. As with the executor, it is also helpful to name an alternate guardian/guardians. Are any of your children physically or mentally disabled? Do you pay child support?
Do you have any former spouses or adult interdependent partners? Who are they, where are they, are you divorced/separated? We have to make special provisions to deal with these people in order to ensure that they do or do not take any part of your estate, depending on your wishes.
Do you support any grandchildren or other family members?
We also need to know who your beneficiaries are and their relationship to you. If you are making specific bequests (i.e. $5,000.00 to each child, my jewelry to my granddaughter, etc.) then we must know the specific details of each. The residue of your estate must have a named beneficiary. The residue of your estate consists of everything left in your estate after your specific bequests. Very often the residue of an estate is left to the spouse and if the spouse is deceased, then to the children in equal shares.
If you do not have any children/grandchildren at the moment, but if you wish for them to get something from your estate if you should have children/grandchildren at the time of your death, please include this as well as we can put it in the Will and if there are children/grandchildren at the time of your death, they will be provided for and if not, what would have been designated to them would then just go to form the residue of the estate.
Generally, you can leave your estate to anyone you want. There are circumstances where you are required to support those who are dependent upon you now, however, you are free to leave your goods and money to whomever you wish, including charitable organizations. I will ask you questions to determine the reasons for your wishes so that the Court will have a record of your reasoning should anyone complain that they did not receive anything from you.
We need the complete names and addresses of the following people:
- Your children
- Your personal representative/executor
- Your alternate executor
- Your guardians
- Your alternate guardians
- Your beneficiaries
If you are leaving part or all of your estate to a minor, or there may possibly be minor beneficiaries, you can set out the age that he/she/they would receive the inheritance. 18 21 25 (we don’t usually recommend 18)
If there are any other specific items, they may be included. (I.e.: Place or manner of burial) Please list them and, if they are not able to be in the Will, I will let you know when we talk.
Probate is the Court validation of the Will of a person who has died. The Personal Representative (formerly called the Executor) will present the person’s Will to banks, insurance companies, land titles, etc to gather all your assets for distribution as you direct.
Generally, if your property is held jointly or has a named beneficiary, there may be no need to probate. However, your Personal Representative will often need the official Surrogate Court papers to prove to institutions that they have the authority to deal with your property.
Applying for Probate is a complicated matter that you are unlikely to want to do yourself. We use our best effort to make that application smooth and understandable to the Personal Representative.
Take the first step by calling our Edmonton office at 780-429-1010 or email us today.