Nobody likes to think about death, but you’ve worked hard for your assets. Our team of estate planning lawyers here in Edmonton can make sure they take care of your loved ones after you are gone.
We offer the complex legal solutions many people need to ensure their wishes are followed after their death.
What is the difference between a will and estate planning?
A will is one estate planning vehicle of many. It is the most basic tool, one that outlines which of your assets will go to which of your heirs, which could be family members, friends, associates, or even charities.
Estate planning is the process of choosing the right vehicles for your circumstances, and includes provisions not just for your death, but for your care as you approach the end of life. This can include provisions for adult guardianship given to the relative of your choice and power of lawyer documents, as well as your wishes in the event that you are hospitalized or unresponsive.
There are many special circumstances that require solid estate planning. If you have stepchildren, minor heirs, or wish to see funds distributed to non-family members then you will certainly need a lawyer’s help to place your assets into the correct legal vehicle for your circumstances. It’s also a good idea to get help when you have heirs who you wish to care for, but who don’t have the skills to manage their inheritance. It’s absolutely vital if you have property outside of Alberta.
It can help you keep your family members out of costly estate litigation. It can ensure you don’t end up with a stranger for a guardian, or a family member you don’t even like. It can help your heirs avoid the expensive, time consuming, and costly probate process.
In short, it’s a responsible thing to do.
What happens if you die without a will in Alberta?
Your assets will be distributed as required by the Wills and Succession Act. In Alberta, there are complex lines of succession depending on whether you have a spouse, or children, or adult interdependent partners, or grandchildren.
If your children are estranged they could end up with all the money. If you have stepchildren that you loved as your own, they could end up with nothing. Loved ones could be forced out of the family home, which courts could force a sale of to settle the estate.
Remember that you should also update your will periodically. Having a will that no longer applies to your circumstances can create a pathway for litigation. Legal fees and probate costs can eat into the value of the estate, meaning your heirs get far less than you would have preferred.
Why choose Merchant Law?
Estate planning requires an in-depth knowledge of both provincial and federal estate laws. Our team of lawyers have decades of experience helping people like you plan for their families and futures.
Is Merchant Law right for you? Find out by contacting us today for a free consultation.