The benefits of having a will in Alberta
A will is a written document that sets out how you want your property to be divided after your death, specifies who you want to be the guardian of any minor children you leave behind and appoints a person to be in charge of the distribution of your property.
Many people avoid preparing a will because they find it unpleasant to think about dying. Some people do not think they have enough money or property to make the effort worthwhile. The real benefit of having a will in Alberta is not about controlling what happens to your money after you die, but rather that you can organize your family's finances to ensure their well-being after you are gone. Our estate lawyers can assist you in preparing a will that addresses all of your concerns.
Do you need a will?
Having a will is particularly important if:
- you have dependent children, a spouse and/or an ex-spouse
- you want to leave money or property to charity when you die
- you want to leave specific property or heirlooms to specific individuals.
A will enables your family to proceed with their lives after you are gone while minimizing the stress and expenses associated with transferring your property and responsibilities.
What will happen if you die without a will?
If you die without a will it is referred to as dying intestate. In this situation, the court will be asked to make certain decisions, including:
- who will manage the distribution of your estate
- who will be the guardian of any children who are minors when you die.
If you own any property or have any money when you die, it will be distributed according to a pre-arranged formula set out in Alberta's Wills and Succession Act. This formula may or may not reflect the reality of your life and take care of everyone who is important to you.
If you die intestate, a certain amount of your estate goes to your spouse or your interdependent partner as described in the Adult Interdependent Relationships Act, if you have one. If your children are also your spouse's children, your entire estate will go to your spouse.If your children are not all also your spouse's children, then your spouse will receive part of your estate and the rest will be divided among your children.
If you die without a spouse or children, your property will be divided among surviving grandchildren, parents, siblings, nieces or nephews, if applicable.
Even if the formula set out in the legislation reflects your wishes for the distribution of your property after you die, a will is still beneficial. If the court has to make any decisions, even if the only decision they have to make is naming an executor for your estate, then the distribution of your property will take significantly longer and cost significantly more money than if you had left a will.
Contact our Edmonton Wills and Estates Lawyer & Book Your Consultation
Protect your family from the uncertainty and financial repercussions of having to deal with the intestate division of your estate. Talk to one of our estate lawyers about the benefits of having a will in Alberta. Contact us as soon as possible and safeguard your family's future. Proudly representing Albertans with all their legal needs.
Disclaimer: Please note the content contained in this article is not intended to act as legal advice as each matter is different. Please consult with an Alberta lawyer for specific legal advice on this topic.