Wills & Estate Planning Lawyers Calgary, Alberta | Jennings Family Law

Wills & Estate Planning

 

Wills & Estate Planning in Calgary

Last Will and Testament concept image complete with spectacles and pen.Talking about the future and planning for a time when you are no longer around is understandably challenging for families.

However, rather than causing anxiety, it is a step that should bring you much greater peace of mind as you face the future.

Knowing that should anything happen to you, your assets will end up with intended loved ones without putting them through time-consuming, stressful or confrontational processes, should be empowering.

However, we understand the first steps can be tricky and you want to preserve family harmony.

That’s why the estate planning lawyers at Jennings Family Law in Calgary will guide you in the process of creating a will and help you develop an estate plan that best passes on the legacy you want to leave for your loved ones.

Calgary wills & estate planning services

The purpose of our wills and estate planning services is to help you create a complete “roadmap” that manages your assets for the rest of your life and beyond.

It must address your present needs, your potential future needs (including what happens if you become incapacitated), the needs of your loved ones, and your wishes after you’re gone.

With families, where emotions generally run high and disputes are common, it is especially important to make sure that all documentation relating to this is in good order to avoid problems down the line.

Wills 

A will prepared by Jennings Family Law will help you distribute your assets to all intended beneficiaries after you pass away.

It will also name your executor(s) or personal representative(s) as the individual(s) who will manage your estate after you pass away and the guardians for any children that you are responsible for at the time of your death.

There are actually two types of legally recognized wills:

A formal will:

  • In writing with your signature
  • Signed in the presence of two witnesses, who also sign the will in your presence

A holograph will:

  • Written in your own handwriting and signed by you

Power of Attorneys

Power of Attorneys empower another party (or parties) to manage your financial and/or medical affairs when you are no longer capable.

There are several different types of power of attorneys, each of which needs to be fully understood and drawn up by an experienced lawyer in order to be actionable:

  • An enduring power of attorney
  • A general power of attorney
  • A specific power of attorney
  • A durable power of attorney

Personal Directives

Personal directives are sometimes confused with power of attorneys. 

The main difference is that a personal directive (also called “advanced care planning” or “advanced medical directive”) provides for someone to make health-related decisions on your behalf if you should lose mental capacity. 

This includes decisions about everything from the medicine you take to where you are cared for.

Without a personal directive, a family member will have to apply for legal guardianship in order to make such decisions on your behalf.

Probate in Alberta

Probate is the process by which the courts in Alberta validate a will and give the go-ahead for the executor to begin distributing assets according to instructions stated in the will.

Until a grant of probate is awarded by the Albertan courts, financial institutions and land title offices will not transfer ownership.

Generally, this requires legal assistance and the probate lawyers at Jennings Family Law in Calgary will guide you through the process if you are an executor of a will.

We can even assist with the Alberta probate of wills from other provinces in Canada.

Letters of Administration

When someone passes away without a will (intestate), you must apply for a letter of administration from the Albertan courts in order to administer the estate and inherit any assets from it.

It is similar to probate but there are some important differences.

What is the difference between probate and letters of administration?

A grant of probate is issued when a person passes away with a valid will.

When someone dies without a will, there are legal guidelines to follow in order to distribute assets.

Often the court will appoint an administrator to act as the legally designated person to distribute assets. For married couples, the spouse is usually the nominated administrator but they are not always aware of this.

If you want to act as administrator, you must apply for a grant of administration or letter of administration from the Surrogate Court (of the Court of Queen’s Bench) in the judicial district of Alberta where the deceased had her or his primary residence. 

Our legal team can help you do this.

Note that if a person dies with a will providing instructions for the distribution of only part of an estate, probate is required for any assets listed in the will. Those not included will be subject to administration. In this case, both probate and a letter of administration are required.

Read More → Property Division after Death

Get assistance with wills and estate planning

Jennings Family Law provides a free initial consultation to discuss your estate planning requirements.

Book your consultation here and you can get started on preparing for the future with greater peace of mind.

Call (403) 316-0138 or email warren@jenningsfamilylaw.com

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