Estates and Wills

Every person over the age of 18 (and certainly any person with children or financial assets) should have an updated and valid will. Failing to do so can lead to family discord, unintended consequences (regarding the parenting one’s children and otherwise), the devaluation of estate assets, and years of expensive court battles for your loved ones.

Arranging your affairs for the benefit of your loved ones does not need to be a stressful or complicated experience. Our lawyers and team of estate paralegals have decades of experience in drafting valid wills that will ensure your final wishes are followed, estate disputes avoided, while working with tax professionals on formulating an estate plan that will minimize estate taxes thereby maximizing what is available to your beneficiaries.

After filling out our Wills Questionnaire (see below), one of our lawyers will meet with you to better understand your goals and answer any estate and wills related questions you might have. We will then draft your will, provide it to you for feedback (again, answering any additional questions you may have), and when you are satisfied, meet again to sign and witness your Will in the manner mandated by applicable Alberta legislation.

To book a consultation to discuss any of the above matters, please call our office at 403-948-0009.

It is quite common for individuals, at some point in their life, to lose the mental capacity to make informed and appropriate decisions regarding the management of their financial affairs and health care. Whether it’s a tragic accident, a stroke, Dementia or Alzheimer’s, it is critical to prepare for these possibilities while we are able; forgetting or delaying to do so may result in difficult hardship for yourself and your loved ones.

To prepare for such circumstances, our lawyers can assist you with the preparation of a Power of Attorney and Personal Directive. This is often (but not always) done in conjunction with the preparation of your Will.

A Power of Attorney (“POA”) deals with the management of your financial affairs should you lose mental capacity (though there other circumstances – such as extended absences – where POAs are also useful). A POA will designate one or more persons to manage your financial affairs in such circumstances. A POA can be made effective immediately (either wholly or in a limited manner), or it can only become effective only upon a doctor certifying a loss of mental capacity.

A personal directive works in a similar fashion to a POA, but deals with appointing one or more individuals to make health care related decisions (and other day-to-day decisions such as where you will live) for you in the event you lose mental capacity to do so for yourself.

To book a consultation to discuss any of the above matters, please call our office at 403-948-0009.

When loved ones pass, their Will and the personal representative appointed therein, are usually sufficient to administer their Estate without dispute. Unfortunately, such is not always the case.

For example, in many cases the deceased will not have properly executed a valid will, therefore triggering a unique set of rules for the administration the estate. In other instances, an otherwise valid Will may not take into account the rights of dependents, a spouse or an adult interdependent partner (common law spouse). Sometimes personal representatives appointed under a Will are not administering the Estate in accordance with the wording or intent of the Will. There are even instances where a Will had been signed or altered under undue influence or without the individual being mentally capable of understanding what he/she was doing at the time.

Whether one is a personal representative defending against an unsubstantiated allegation or a potential beneficiary advancing a legitimate claim, our legal team is able to assist clients to obtain Court assistance in these matters.

To book an initial consultation to discuss any of the above matters, please call our office at 403-948-0009.

When an individual dies leaving behind a valid will and a designated personal representative (often referred to as an executor/executrix) to oversee and distribute the estate, that Will must often first be probated prior to the distribution of the estate’s assets. Probating a Will provides the executor with court authority to manage and distribute the assets of the estate in a specific manner (according to the instructions in the Will), and by doing so, limits the personal representative’s legal liability.

Not all Wills are required to be probated (and our firm has assisted many personal representatives to avoid the expense of such), however, where the estate includes real estate or a relatively large amount of financial assets held with financial institutions, probating the Will is likely necessary.

In some cases, individuals will pass without leaving any Will at all (this is referred to as “intestacy”). In such cases, Alberta legislation has specific rules for how the assets of such an individual will be distributed. The process for doing so generally involves the spouse, children or other relative of the deceased applying for a “Grant of Administration” from the Court in order to be provided with the necessary authority to administer the estate according to the rules governing intestacy.

Our Firm’s estate lawyers and paralegals have extensive experience with every step of the estate administration process from probate applications, to grants of administration, to overseeing the estate’s asset distribution and payment of taxes and other debts, to assisting with avoiding the probate process entirely when circumstances dictate, and for all steps in between.

To book a consultation to discuss any of the above matters, please call our office at 403-948-0009.