How Can A Lawyer Help Me With My Estate Administration Matters?

How Can A Lawyer Help Me With My Estate Administration Matters?

Verhaeghe Law Office has assisted clients across Alberta with their Last Will & Testament as well as estate administration needs since the firm’s inception. Our Edmonton wills and estates lawyers are happy to assist Albertans with their legal needs as they pertain to estate administration matters. Call 587-410-2500 today to schedule a consultation with a wills and estates lawyer today. We recommend that you do not delay in contacting a lawyer on this topic to ensure you spare your loved one’s grief later down the road. Call Verhaeghe Law Office today as our team is on stand-by to assist you.

What is Estate Administration?

We recently wrote an article on what is estate administration which dives deeper into this topic. In a nutshell, the Estate Administration Act of Alberta governs estate administration matters and a lawyer can help ensure that the estate is administered legally. Most estate administration matters start with a process called probate where the estate executor applies to have the deceased persons’ last will and testament proven as valid as well as confirming the executor’s authority to administer the estate. Some of the things that may be required to administer an estate include but are not limited to funeral arrangements, identifying all property and assets as well as their beneficiaries and distribution of same as well as handling outstanding debts, payment and more.

How can a Wills & Estates Lawyer from Alberta Help Me?

Commencing with probate as well as the administering of the estate – a lawyer can help on a variety of matters. A lawyer can assist with obtaining court approval of the administration of the estate, preparing accounts (including estate accounts, guardianship account, etc.) for court and all other aspects in the estate administration process.

In instances where there was no will provided – a lawyer can also assist in various legal aspects of estate administration in addition to providing reliable legal guidance on administering high value and complex estates. Additional examples of how a lawyer can help include advice on investing trust funds and distribution of trust funds, moving trusts to different jurisdictions, paying off debts, distribution of assets to beneficiaries, closing down the trust or estate and more. Contact our law firm today to see how we can help on your estate administration matters.

Schedule a legal consultation with our Edmonton Wills & Estate Lawyers Now

While we have offices in Athabasca, Whitecourt and Edmonton – we can represent clients from surrounding areas with all their estate administration needs. Call 587-410-2500 today and schedule a legal consultation with our legal team regarding your estate administration needs. Spare your loved ones the opportunity for conflict down the road and finalize your estate administration needs with an Edmonton wills and estates lawyer sooner than later.

Disclaimer: Please note this article is intended to act as a general overview on a topic and does not constitute legal advice. Each situation requiring legal advice is unique and we recommend speaking with a wills and estates lawyer from Alberta for your estate administration needs.

What is Estate Administration?

What is Estate Administration?

The Estate Administration Act of Alberta governs estate administration in Alberta. In most circumstances – estate administration commences with probate. Probate is a legal process in which the estate executor applies to the court to have a deceased persons’ last will and testament proven as valid and confirm the executor’s authority to administer the estate.

At Verhaeghe Law – our Edmonton wills and estates lawyers have handled numerous estate administration matters across Alberta. For more information on how we can assist with estate administration matters – contact one of our wills and estates lawyers today. In the meanwhile – here is some general information on estate administration in Alberta.

What Is Involved In Administering An Estate?

The executor of the estate will generally have new roles and responsibilities in ensuring the estate of the deceased person is dealt with after death. Some of these responsibilities may include things like:

  1. Arranging for funeral arrangements and payment of same;
  2. Identifying all property, assets and liabilities owned by the deceased individual. For example, this would include things like determining the full value of any mortgages, leases, loans, etc. Additionally, the executor would be responsible for distributing estate property in accordance with the will or succession provisions;
  3. Handling administrative requests such as applying for death benefits, pension, annuities, maintaining any public records, hiring lawyers and accountants, etc;
  4. If the deceased individual had business operations – the executor would also be responsible for either selling the business or maintaining the business operations (or ensuring continual business operations through the appointed beneficiary);
  5. Administrating any trusts for minors (if applicable), notifying any joint tenancy and/or partnerships, preparing administrators financial statements, proposed compensation schedule and distribution schedules if applicable;
  6. Administrating any outstanding payments such as property taxes, debt payments and other forms of owing money which generally gets paid out of the estate; and
  7. Ensuring that other elements and directives contained in the will are administered and taken care of with respect to property, assets, beneficiaries and more.

In our experience we have seen some legal battles arise during the probate process – especially when beneficiaries disagree with the will provisions or other family disputes arise. In a situation like this – we strongly encourage you to seek legal advice from a wills and estate lawyer.

Roles and Responsibilities of an Estate Administrator or Executor

An estate administrator or executor has a legal duty to notify beneficiaries at their earliest opportunity with relevant information including but not limited to:

  • identify the deceased person;
  • provide name and contact information of the administrator;
  • describe the gift left to the beneficiary in the will;
  • state that all gifts are subjected to prior payment of all debts and claims against estate; and
  • include other pertinent information or documents required.

In almost all circumstances, an executor is required to apply for a grant from the court to execute his/her duties as per the wishes of the deceased. The executor is required to serve copies of the application and relevant documents to all immediate relatives of the deceased (spouse/partner, children etc.) and any beneficiaries of the deceased including the relevant lawyers, trustees or guardians of the persons listed above. The administrator also has a responsibility to inform the public trustee of the application. Any claims to the estate by parties to be valid are required to be submitted within the specified time period.

What happens if there is no will?

In the absence of a will the next of kin or in some cases the public trustee becomes the administrator of an estate and clear guidelines of the order of priority are stated in the Alberta Estate Administration Act. The public trustee may get involved in some cases. For example, if an administrator nominated in the will withdraws from the role or a minor at the time of death is a beneficiary or when a person with a claim is missing – a public trustee may get involved. In a situation like this we also recommend you contact a wills and estates lawyer.

Contact our Wills and Estates Lawyers in Alberta

Please note that every legal situation is unique and regardless of what your estate administration experience is like – hiring a lawyer to assist with the process can help ensure that the estate is administered properly and can also minimize the chances for counter-claims or liabilities during the estate administration process.

For legal assistance with regards to estate administration, probate, trusts and other legal matters with respect to wills and testaments – contact our law office today and speak with a wills and estate lawyer. Please contact us for a consultation today by calling 587-410- 2500. We are conveniently located in the Mayfield Business Centre in Edmonton and have offices in Athabasca and Whitecourt, Alberta as well and can assist clients all across Alberta.

*Please note the content of this blog offers a general overview and does not constitute legal advice as every case is unique from one another. We encourage you to seek legal advice from an Edmonton wills and estates lawyer for any answers related to estate matters and trusts.