LAURIER LAW OFFICE

8623 - 149 Street Edmonton, AB T5R 1B3
Phone: (780) 486-0207 Fax: (780) 483-0848

Wills

Why have a Will?  Why revise your existing Will?  

It is important for everyone to have a properly drafted Will.  There is a common fallacy that the “government” will take all your property if you die without a Will.  This is not true however the law will decide how your property is distributed and to whom it is distributed if you do not have a properly drafted and executed Will.

Some young people think they do not need a Will – that they don’t own any property.  Why risk that the small amount of property which you do have gets tied up in legal fees and delays because you do not have a proper Will.  Have a Will – appoint someone to look after things when you are gone and make sure you decide who receives your assets.  Sometimes, until you sit down with someone who is trained and experienced in estate planning, you don’t realize what assets you do have.  Perhaps there is life insurance through work?  What about that RRSP that your employer is contributing to on your behalf?

A lot of young couples do not think they need a Will until they have their first child. The law in
Alberta provides a formula for whom will receive your estate if you die without a Will.  Those in-laws whom you don’t really care for and who have not welcomed you in to the family with open arms may be the ones who end up with your property!

Do you have an existing Will?  How old is it?  Circumstances change in your life:  Marriage, divorce, birth of a new child or grandchild, death of a close family member, increase in personal assets and simply the matter of getting older.

Have you recently separated?   Although marriage no longer voids a Will a separation – even a legal separation – does not.  The law was changed in February, 2012 which now states that the bequest to an ex-spouse becomes invalid.  This means divorce not legal separation.  You may have worked hard (and incurred a lot of expense) to ensure that your property is divided fairly upon separation.  If you die without a Will the law will decide who receives your property.  If you have a spouse (even if you are legally separated) that spouse will receive your estate (if you have no children).

If you have children under the age of 18 then a large portion of your estate may end up being held in trust for your children until they reach the age of majority.  This situation may not allow your surviving spouse to have sufficient resources to take care of your children.  You may also not want your children to receive their entire inheritance when they turn 18 – at 18 a lot of children may not have the maturity or life experiences to make wise choices. With a properly drafted Will you can provide that your children will receive their inheritance over time but ensure that their education needs are met.

What about the older couple?  Please ensure that your Will is up to date.  Many older couples have an existing Will – but that Will appoints a guardian for children who are now 30!!  Perhaps assets are now significant enough that you wish to provide something for your grandchildren.  Perhaps you would live to leave a bequest to your favourite charity.

Life circumstances are different for everyone.  All of these matters should be reviewed by a trained and experienced legal professional who can help you in ensuring that your wishes will be carried out.  I would be pleased to assist you.