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It can be difficult to think about what will happen when we pass away, or if we become incapable of making important personal or financial decisions. Planning ahead by creating a Will, Personal Directive, and Power of Attorney is the best way to ensure your wishes are followed. It also reduces stress on loved ones left responsible for your affairs.
Your Edmonton Estate Lawyers
We offer comprehensive Wills and Estate legal services to our clients. Our estate planning lawyers will guide you through the entire estate planning process, and work closely with you to develop your estate plan. A comprehensive estate plan includes a Will, Personal Directive, and Power of Attorney, and is customized to reflect each client’s goals, needs, and circumstances.
Our lawyers also provide a full range of estate administration and estate litigation services, including applications for grants of probate or administration.
An estate plan is generally comprised of three important documents: a Will, a Personal Directive, and a Power of Attorney.
A Will sets out your directions for what will be done with your property upon death. A Will typically addresses:
- Who will be appointed to administer your property and ensure your wishes are carried out
- How the property in your estate will be distributed
- Who will be responsible for any minor or dependent children
A Personal Directive appoints a person to make decisions regarding your personal and health care matters if you lose capacity to make those decisions. A Personal Directive is only triggered upon the loss of mental capacity, and outlines how and by whom the determination of incapacity is made. The following matters are typically addressed in a Personal Directive:
- The appointment of an agent to make decisions on your behalf, and the types of decisions included
- The appointment of an alternate agent in the event that the first agent is unable to fulfill the role
- Specific directions for your agent to follow when instructing your health care service providers
- A Power of Attorney appoints a person to manage your finances and property if you lose capacity to make those decisions.
A Power of Attorney typically authorizes the person appointed to make decisions relating to:
- Real estate
- Banking and investments
- Income tax and other Canada Revenue Agency matters
Estate AdministrationWhen a person passes away, their estate must be administered. Estate administration involves identifying and gathering the property of the estate, identifying any debts owed by the estate, determining whether a court grant will be required, and distributing the estate to beneficiaries.
Grant Of Probate
A court grant is often required in order to administer the estate. Where there is a Will, a grant of probate may be necessary in order for the person appointed in the Will to carry out their duties.
Grant Of Administration
If there is no Will, an application can be made for a grant of administration appointing a person to administer the estate.
The process of obtaining a court grant and administering an estate can be lengthy, overwhelming, and complicated. Experienced estate counsel provide valuable assistance and peace of mind in navigating the steps involved — contact our estate lawyers to help.
Estate matters can be complex, and disputes can arise even when a Will, Personal Directive, and Power of Attorney have been prepared. Our estate lawyers are experienced in resolving conflicts and differences regarding estate issues, including challenges to estate planning documents and contentious matters in the administration of an estate.
Contact our estate lawyers to help you with the litigation of an estate.
Frequently Asked Questions
As an adult—even if you think you don’t have many assets—you should create a Will. If you suddenly pass away, someone may need to be appointed to manage your affairs, even if you don’t own property or have children. By creating a Will, you can appoint a person of your choice to carry out your wishes.
There is no right or wrong time in life to create a Will, but we recommend that clients turn their minds to their estate plan on the following events:
- When starting a family
- When getting married
- When going through a separation or divorce
- Before travelling
- If diagnosed with an illness
- In the event of a significant increase in assets
- After the purchase of property
Whether or not a court grant will be required in order to administer an estate depends largely on the property in the estate and how it is held. For example, if the deceased owned a house in his or her name alone, a court grant will be required in order to deal with that asset. Our estate lawyers can assist you in determining whether a court grant should be obtained.