Probate and Wills in Edmonton
If you are looking for legal assistance regarding wills and probates, then look further no further. At Verhaeghe Law Office, we are here to offer our expert guidance. We understand that estate and other legal matters can be difficult to navigate and we will be by your side every step of the way to point you in the right direction. Embarking on the process of creating your last will and testament can be difficult and emotional. Our licensed and educated lawyers use their years in the field to make your experience as stress-free and straightforward as possible. Below we’ve provided answers to some of our most frequently asked questions.
Why do I need a will?
A will is a legal document which states how you would like your assets distributed after you pass away. In most cases, an individual selects a close relative, known as an executor, to carry out your wishes, which may include who you would like the guardian for your children to be, how your property will be distributed, and who will inherit your assets and belongings, among other things.
By establishing a will, you can prevent fighting and distress amongst relatives, and ensure that those you care for are taken care of the way you wish them to be. This makes wills very important documents we at Verhaeghe Law Office believe everyone requires.
What if I don’t have a will?
If you don’t have a will, provincial law will determine who will get your assets, how they will be distributed, and who is best fit to become the legal guardian of your children.
Dying without a will is referred to as “intestate”. And, while for those without any living relatives this may seem like a valid option, there are a lot of factors to be considered when this occurs.
If you die and leave behind a spouse but no children, they will receive your entire estate. If you do have children but your net value does not exceed $40,000 the same thing will occur. If your value is over $40,000, that amount is granted to your spouse with the remainder being split between children. And this is just the tip of the iceberg.
Creating a last will and testament may seem morbid to some, but it’s an important legal document we must all create.
How do I write a valid will?
There are two types of wills: a holographic will and a formal will.
A holographic will is the classic, do-it-yourself method. It is handwritten by the testator. Alberta is one of the few provinces in Canada that still accepts holographic wills. Meanwhile, the formal variety is drafted by a lawyer, which any member of the Verhaeghe Law Office will be glad to assist you with, and signed by witnesses.
To make a will in Alberta, you must be over 18 years old and mentally competent. A will must be properly witnessed for it to be valid. This means it must be witnessed by at least two other people. Your signature as testator, which just means that you are the one making the will, must be made in the presence of the two witnesses. Once it’s complete, each witness must sign it in the presence of both you and the other witness. The witnesses are not required to review the contents of the will. It is not a good idea to let a beneficiary or someone close, like a spouse of a beneficiary, to act as your witness because a gift made to that beneficiary will be contested. People who have no interest in your property or assets are the ideal candidates to serve as your witnesses.
At Verhaeghe Law Office, we understand that this can seem like a daunting process for the average Albertan. That is why if you or someone you know needs assistance writing their will and arranging witnesses that don’t have a personal stake in the content of the document, we can apply our legal expertise to help you through this process to make sure your loved ones can still benefit in spite of their bereavement.
It’s important to note that while video and audio wills are popular devices in movies and TV, these will not be accepted as valid.
How should I distribute my property?
You are free to distribute your property any way you please, however, your spouse may have rights to your property. Should you have any outstanding debts, they will be paid off by your estate before any property is passed on to friends or relatives.
It is important to note that if properties named are no longer considered yours to distribute after death, such as a rental property, these lands or holdings cannot be passed on to a beneficiary.
Wills always operate strictly within the law, making it important to work with qualified professionals with the experience that can help you navigate more complicated situations. Appraisals and a great deal of paperwork are required to transfer property from one owner to another. Rely on Verhaeghe Law Office to work within Edmonton bylaws to ensure a smooth process all around.
Can I change my will?
Yes, you can change your will if you are sound of mind. Typical changes include changing the name of the executor, amount of a cash gift, and how your property will be distributed.
Always make a new will if there are major changes in your life. Your will can be revoked when you marry someone after creating the document and not when you separate or divorce. Incidents that should make you consider updating your will include:
- Financial changes
- Death of a family member
Making sure it’s up to date can seem tedious, but the fact of the matter is that accidents happen. So, if you do not take the time to make sure everything is up to date, it could cause serious problems down the line for your family. Thankfully, our lawyers are always a phone call away to assist you with any changes you need made. Just give us a call whenever it’s convenient to make sure that the content of your will is accurate.
What is probate?
Probate refers to the court’s process of settling a person’s estate after they have passed away. During this legal process, the court makes sure that any debts are paid by the estate before property and assets are distributed to the recipients. This can be a long and tedious process, especially when there is outstanding debt. While the estate goes through probate automatically, there are ways to minimize this process. Teaming up with an experienced lawyer who specializes in wills and probates can streamline the distribution of assets among family members and close relatives.
In Alberta, a Grant of Probate is the Surrogate Court’s certification that the will submitted by the executor meets the formal requirements of a will as outlined in the Wills and Succession Act. Once this has been acquired, the executor is then given the authority to deal and distribute the deceased’s estate. It is not always necessary to obtain, but we have all the necessary experience to make sure we cut through all the red tape keeping beneficiaries from what is rightfully theirs in this difficult time.
Experienced Probate Lawyer
Here at Verhaeghe Law Office, we are licensed probate lawyers in Edmonton. We have many years of experience working with executers to advise and assist them on the appropriate actions to take to minimize probate. With our depth of knowledge regarding real estate law, we can help you with the following:
- Locating and securing probate assets
- Obtaining property appraisals
- Collecting life insurance proceeds
- Settling disputes among beneficiaries
- Assisting with the selling of the estate
- Retitling property
- …and more
Wills and Probate Simplified
At Verhaeghe Law Office, we understand how difficult it is to dedicate time to making a will, and consider everything that must go in to it. Equally difficult is the probate process. There is a lot of emotion involved in both of these processes, but they are equally necessary. Whether you’re creating your living will or are a member of family left behind after the death of a loved one, you’re going to need compassionate lawyers who can help every step of the way.
If you are looking for a will and probate lawyer to handle estate distribution in Edmonton, then get in touch with us to schedule an appointment. The last thing you want is for your family to be distressed over property distribution after you’re gone. When you partner with us, you will benefit from a team of lawyers who have your best interest at heart.
PHONE: (587) 410-2500 to contact one of our Lawyers