Wills and Estates
Planning for end of life or dealing with the death of a loved one is complex and delicate. We offer services to clients who want to make a will, including estate planning, drafting the will, preparing enduring powers of attorney to allow others to care for your affairs if you become incapacitated, and preparing personal directives to provide directions for your end of life care.
Once death has occurred, we provide advice to executors, agents, attorneys, guardians and trustees. We also assist beneficiaries who are concerned about an executor’s actions in administering an estate.
We have considerable experience litigating wills matters, including defending the legitimacy of a hand written will, suing over the meaning of particular clauses in a will, and contesting the executor’s and legal fees arising out of the estate administration.
FREQUENTLY ASKED WILLS AND ESTATES QUESTIONS
1. What is an executor?
This is the person you appoint to administer the distribution of your assets.
2. What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
This is a legal document that gives another person the right to act on your behalf. Typically, the power of attorney takes effect when you become mentally infirm or mentally incapable of making reasonable judgments about your finances and assets.
3. What happens if I die without a will?
Your assets will be distributed according to the provisions in the Wills and Succession Act. This may result in a distribution that you would not be happy with and may cause delays in your estate administration.
4. When do you need a new will?
You should obtain a new will whenever you have a major life event that changes the distribution of your estate. For example, you should likely obtain a new will when you get married or divorced, have children, want to change the distribution in the will, or buy property located outside of Alberta.
5. What is the purpose of a codicil to a will?
A codicil to a will is a change to an existing will, not an entirely new will.
6. What is Probate?
This is the legal process where the court determines the validity of a will and confirms the executor’s appointment. In Alberta, the court is the Surrogate Court. An executor can apply to the Surrogate Court to probate a will.
7. How much does the court charge to probate a will?
The court costs vary, depending on the size and complexity of the estate. The minimum fee, covering estates valued at $10,000 or less, is $25; the maximum fee, for estates valued at over $250,000, is $400. These fees represent only what the court charges as its fees. Legal fees will be in addition and will depend on the complexity and size of the estate.
Alberta Justice, Dealing With Death http://www.programs.alberta.ca/Living/5959.aspx?Ns=5251&N=770
Alberta Law Society Planning Your Estate http://www.lawsociety.ab.ca/public/legal_education/estate_planning.aspx
Court of Queen’s Bench FAQ about Wills and Probate https://albertacourts.ca/court-of-queens-bench/frequently-asked-questions