Will and Estate Lawyers in Calgary Assisting Families With the Estate Planning Process
In today’s busy world, many individuals get caught up in the daily rush of activities but must remember to plan for the future. However, time can quickly get away, and often, people die without having created a legal will that directs how their property and other aspects of their estate should be distributed after their death.
Nevertheless, all Albertans should have a comprehensive estate plan consisting of a will, personal directive, and enduring power of attorney.
If you would like to learn more or schedule a time to meet with a wills and estates lawyer, contact our law office and ask to schedule a consultation so that we may discuss your legal needs.
What Happens if a Person Dies and Does Not Leave a Will?
When a person dies and does not leave a will, their estate falls into intestacy, with the deceased person known as the intestate. Many individuals mistakenly assume that their surviving spouse will automatically be named the personal representative, but this is not always true.
Instead, the court will use statutory rules to determine who should be appointed as a personal representative to manage the deceased’s affairs, such as paying debts the estate owes and distributing assets, and decide who should be granted guardianship if the deceased has minor children.
However, individuals can plan for their families and help them avoid financial uncertainty by hiring a will and estate lawyer to create comprehensive wills that outline their final wishes.
If you do not yet have a valid will, contact our Calgary wills lawyers, who can assist you through the entire process and ensure your family has the financial resources they need after you pass away.
What Should Be Included in a Will?
Although most Albertans can legally create a will, some requirements must be met, which include:
- The testator, the person creating the will, must be at least 18 and have the mental capacity to understand their decisions.
- The testator must have made the will, not by someone on your behalf.
- The will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses
- The witnesses must sign the last page of the will after the testator has signed.
- There must be a stored physical copy of the will, which is handwritten, typed, or printed.
Some vital elements that should be included in a will include:
- The name of your personal representative who will be responsible for estate administration and oversee all other financial matters related to carrying out the deceased’s final wishes.
- Appoint a guardian for any minor children.
- Name beneficiaries and provide details for any assets or property they will receive.
One of the best choices anyone can ever make to protect their family and beneficiaries after they pass away is to create a legal will. Our lawyers have extensive experience ensuring that all legal requirements are fulfilled in the wills we help clients create and will work carefully with you throughout the entire process.
Do All Wills Have to Go Through Probate in Alberta?
Whether a will must be probated in Alberta depends on the estate size and if third parties are involved. For example, if a surviving spouse is the sole heir to all of the property the decedent left in their will, the estate may not need to go through probate.
However, in most cases, a will must go through the probate process to ensure it is valid. Some of the most common reasons wills must be probated include:
- Real estate properties and other assets are only in the decedent’s name.
- There is no joint tenant listed on any assets or property.
- The decedent left substantial assets, investments, or money in bank accounts.
- There are questions regarding the legality of the will.
- The decedent left no will.
The probate process can be quite costly and take a tremendous amount of time to complete. Therefore, consulting with JK Law’s experienced estate lawyers in Calgary is in your best interest. A qualified will and estate lawyer can review your will and look for any estate matters that could result in your beneficiaries waiting to receive their rightful assets.
Do I Need to Hire a Lawyer to Write a Will?
Although no law specifically states you must hire a lawyer to write a will, it is best in your best interests. Many individuals use do-it-yourself will kits to draft and complete their wills. However, these wills are often challenged as the will itself is written in a way that leaves it open to interpretation.
When this occurs, a family member may challenge the will’s authenticity, significantly delaying the estate’s settlement. Additionally, suppose you wish to create other legal documents, such as a personal directive or enduring powers of attorney. In that case, you want to work with an experienced lawyer to ensure no dispute should questions arise later.
JK Law of Calgary is a law firm dedicated to helping clients protect their families and other beneficiaries after they pass away. K Law of Calgary has highly experienced wills and estates lawyers who can assist you with writing a will and ensuring your family members and other beneficiaries are cared for after your death.
Furthermore, if you want help reviewing an existing will or have questions about how your financial affairs will be managed after you’re gone, contact our law office by calling 587-742-2136 to schedule an appointment.