The following questions and answers about wills and estate planning apply to individuals living in Alberta. They are provided for information purposes only. Learn more about your rights and obligations by requesting a free introductory consultation with a Wills and Estates lawyer at Kiriak Law.
A will is a legal document that describes how a person’s assets should be distributed following his or her death.
This is the property a person owns or has a legal interest in. It is also the term used to describe the assets and liabilities left by a person after death.
You can change your will at any time.
This is the person you appoint to administer the distribution of your assets.
This is a legal document that gives another person the right to act on your behalf.
Your assets will be distributed according to the provisions in the Wills and Succession Act. You should be aware that there are specific rules on how much can be given to surviving children, a surviving spouse or adult interdependent partner.
You need to be 18 or older, unless you were married before the age of 18 or are a member of the Canadian Armed Forces.
If you are at least 18 years old, you can appoint another person to act as your agent on non-financial issues when you are unable to make these decisions yourself. This directive is a legal document and it must be provided in writing.
This means a person cannot understand information or the consequences of any decisions they make about finances, health care or personal care.
This is the legal procedure whereby the court determines the validity of a will and confirms the executor’s appointment. In Alberta, the court is the Surrogate Court. An executor can apply to the Surrogate Court to probate a will.
A Grant of Probate is a confirmation from the Surrogate Court that the Will submitted to the Court is indeed the deceased person’s last Will and further that the Personal Representative/Executor can go ahead and distribute the assets of the deceased in accordance with the probated Will.
Another legal process for the distribution of estate assets that applies when a person dies without a valid will. Typically, a close member applies for a Grant of Administration, but a Court can appoint someone else in some circumstances.
The costs vary, depending on the size and complexity of the estate. The minimum fee, covering estates valued at $10,000 or less, is $25; the maximum fee, for estates valued at over $250,000, is $400.
When you get married, your existing will is cancelled unless you made a stipulation that the will was written in "contemplation of marriage" and names your future spouse. The act of getting divorced does not revoke an existing will.
A codicil to a will is a change to an existing will, not an entirely new will. To be valid, it must meet the same requirements that apply to a will (signed by the person who made the codicil and two witnesses).
Have other questions about wills and estates in Alberta? Contact Kiriak Law online or by phone to request a free, no-obligation introductory consultation.
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