Last Will and Testament Alberta

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Find out what the legal requirements are for last wills and testaments in Alberta when you contact Driessen De Rudder. Call us today.

Crafting Your Last Will and Testament in Alberta: A Guide to Setting Your Final Wishes

Having a last will and testament guarantees that your wishes are respected, and your loved ones are cared for after you die. At Driessen De Rudder Law Office, we understand the importance of a well-drafted last will.

In this article, we will share some valuable insights on how to create a last will and testament and ensure its enforceability. For personalized and experienced guidance every step of the way, consult our wills and estate lawyers in Barrhead.

Do not leave your estate planning to chance – contact us today and ensure your loved ones’ future.

Why You Need a Last Will and Testament

 

It is a common misconception that estate planning is solely for the affluent or older individuals, but this belief is far from accurate. In reality, it is crucial for everyone, regardless of age or financial standing, to have this legally binding document as part of a comprehensive estate plan.

Maintain Control over Asset Distribution

If you pass away without a will in Alberta, your assets will be distributed following the Wills and Succession Act. The court will appoint a personal representative to manage your estate following Alberta’s laws. Your loved ones will have to guess what you would have wanted, which can lead to conflicts.

The Wills and Succession Act outlines asset distribution in Alberta when there is no valid will. It determines how and to whom the estate’s assets are distributed to including spouses, adult interdependent partners, children, and blood relatives. It’s important to note that these rules may not account for other loved ones, such as friends, or extended family, which underscores the importance of a will that reflects your wishes beyond the constraints of the law.

Gain Peace of Mind

A valid last will and testament ensures your estate is handled per your wishes and minimizes potential family conflicts. You get to specify how your assets are distributed, appoint a guardian for your minor children, and make provisions for your beloved pets. Estate planning allows your loved ones to focus on healing and cherishing memories instead of dealing with legal complexities.

Legal Requirements for Last Wills in Alberta

Before you draft your will, getting acquainted with the legal obligations specific to Alberta is crucial. Here are some essential things to keep in mind:

Age and Mental Capacity

To create a valid last will and testament, you must be at least 18 years old. Minors, unless legally emancipated, are not eligible to draft a will. Moreover, you must possess a sound mind, which entails a thorough understanding of your property, beneficiaries, and the consequences of your decisions. Your will must be made voluntarily, without any undue influence or coercion.

Witnesses and Signatures

For a legal will to be considered valid, at least two individuals must witness its signing by the testator, the creator of the will. Each witness must sign the will in your and the other witness’s presence.

Witnesses do not have to know what is in the will before signing. However, if a beneficiary or their spouse witnesses your will’s singing, any gifts you give them are void under the law. Therefore, it is essential to pick witnesses who do not have a personal interest in your property.

Document Formalities

A will has specific formalities and requirements to ensure its validity.

A formal will:

  • The legal document must be in writing and bear your signature.

  • It should be signed in the presence of two witnesses, who also sign the will in your presence.

  • If the will is more than one page long, ensure each page has your and your witnesses’ initials.

These requirements ensure that your last will and testament accurately reflects your wishes and choices while maintaining their legal validity.

Components of a Valid Will

Executors and Trustees

An executor is the person named in the will to carry out the final wishes as specified in the will. Upon appointment as personal representative, the executor manages and distributes assets, settles debts and taxes, and deals with legal matters related to the deceased person’s estate. It is crucial to pick someone capable and reliable for this vital role.

For your minor children, you can set up a trust and name a trustee to manage it on their behalf. They take care of any funds or property left to your children until they come of age.

 

Assets and Beneficiaries

To ensure your estate is distributed clearly and without confusion, it’s crucial to identify the people to inherit, known as beneficiaries. Make sure you provide their full names and their relationship to you. Also, consider any potential changes in their circumstances and plan accordingly.

Remember to carefully consider all your assets, including real estate, investments, bank accounts, corporations and personal belongings, and note any debts or liabilities that might affect how your estate is distributed. This way, you can ensure that your assets are handled and given to your beneficiaries just as you want.

Special Clauses

When writing a will, it is essential to consider special clauses that address unique circumstances or needs. For example, you can choose someone to be your childrens’ guardian, ensuring they are well taken care of. Similarly, you can pick someone to look after your pets and set aside money for their care so they will be in good hands even when you’re not around.

By including special clauses in your own will, you can have peace of mind knowing that your loved ones will be looked after the way you want.

Common Mistakes to Avoid When Creating a Will

DIY Templates

While DIY templates may seem like a cost-effective and convenient option, they do come with inherent risks. These one-size-fits-all solutions often overlook individual circumstances and complexities, especially if you have a complex estate.

Critical legal terms, specific asset requirements, and current laws might be overlooked in some DYI templates, potentially rendering the will invalid. Professional guidance is necessary to avoid mistakes that may impact estate distribution significantly.

Not Updating the Will

Once you’ve created a will, it tends to get tucked away, rarely revisited or updated. However, it is a good idea to consider reviewing your will every five to ten years or following major life events, including:

  • The death of a beneficiary or executor

  • Aging of an executor

  • The birth of a child

  • Marriage

  • The arrival of a grandchild

  • Significant changes in your financial situation

  • Divorce

  • Child reaching age eighteen (18)

If you have any questions about changing your will, it’s always best to seek legal advice from a knowledgeable estate administration lawyer.

 

How Driessen De Rudder Law Office Can Help

 

Crafting a will that is imperative to safeguard your assets and ensure their distribution aligns with your desires. However, a successful and valid will must meet all the requirements and include the required components.

The good news is that you don’t need to go through the will creating process alone. Our will and estate lawyers at Driessen De Rudder Law Office are here to lend a helping hand. With our extensive experience in estate planning in Alberta, we can guide you through the process of identifying beneficiaries and an executor, inventorying assets, and drafting a valid will.

Contact us today and schedule your consultation!

Driessen De Rudder
Law Office

5017-50 Avenue, Box 4220,
Barrhead, AB T7N 1A2

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Driessen De Rudder Law Office is a full-service law firm serving Barrhead, Alberta and surrounding towns.