You might be delaying getting your will, possibly because you can’t decide how to divide your assets or who would raise your children if you weren’t around.
If you do not have a will when you pass away, the courts will decide who will handle your estate and who will care for your minor children, and the law will decide how your assets are distributed. Not having a will makes the process of handling your estate longer and more expensive, reduces the amount of your assets, and can cause tension among surviving family. Not having a will makes a difficult time even more difficult on your loved ones by leaving them unnecessary financial and emotional trouble.
The courts don’t know you or your family, so don’t give them power over everything you hold dear. Our wills and estate packages help protect your loved ones and let you decide how your estate will be handled.
Making a proper will is one of the smartest things you can do to protect your assets.
A will lets you choose your executor (the person who handles your estate) and reduces the risk that someone may try to challenge the distribution of your estate. It can also allow you to give a particular item or specific amount of money to someone, or to benefit a good friend or charity who wouldn’t otherwise get anything from your estate.
Without a will, your minor child will get his or her share of your estate when they turn 18. Using a will you can delay the gift to an older age or split the gift up into phases to be given to the child at different ages. This is usually a good idea if the gift is large as it prevents a teenage child from blowing his or her inheritance.
Unexpected taxes arising when you die can reduce your assets. a proper will and estate plan should address these potential tax issues and prevent your assets being reduced by unexpected taxes.
An estate plan can help reduce the chances of your property being unclaimed and ending up with the government. As of March 31, 2018, the Alberta government was holding unclaimed property with an estimated value of $82,000,000.
In your will, you can name a person to be the guardian of your minor children after your death. If you do not have a will, your family may argue over who will act as guardians for your children and will need to spend the time and money to make a guardianship application to the court. Addressing these issues in your will helps your family know your wishes, decreases the chances of fighting and expensive court applications, and saves your children the added emotional distress.
When planning support and gifts to minor children in your will, a minor beneficiary trust is a critical tool. The trust should be prepared by a trust and estates specialist.
If your spouse or children have been diagnosed with a debilitating condition, your will and estate plan should be carefully prepared to protect a disabled beneficiary from loss of government funding due to an inheritance.
An enduring power of attorney allows you to plan for a time when you may not have the capacity to make decisions (common situations include if you are in a coma or have dementia). Your will does not take effect until you pass away, so an enduring power of attorney is an important piece of any estate plan, together with a will and personal directive.
In your enduring power of attorney, you can name someone (your attorney) to make legal and financial decisions on your behalf. Without this document, your family may have to expend the time and money to make a trusteeship application to the court.
A personal directive also allows you to plan for a time when you may not have the capacity to make decisions. Your will does not take effect until you pass away, so a personal directive is an important piece of any estate plan, together with a will and enduring power of attorney.
In your personal directive, you name someone (your agent) to make personal and healthcare decisions on your behalf. Without this document, your family may have to expend the time and money to make a guardianship application to the court.