Edmonton Estate Planning Lawyers

Edmonton Estate LawyersYou have the right to determine what happens to your property after you die. Unfortunately, many Canadians do not exercise this right and let the courts and surviving family members make their own decisions about what will happen to the property.

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When Should You Begin Estate Planning?

The sooner you begin your estate planning, the better protected your wishes will be. The sad fact is that none of us knows when our time will come. By preparing early, you know that your wishes will be legally enforceable whenever they need to be. 

Estate Planning in Your 20s

Most Canadians in the twenties have not been out in the workforce for very long – especially if they have attended university or graduate school. As a result, people in their twenties do not often have a lot of assets to be distributed after their death. But this does not mean you don’t need estate planning services. Estate planning also covers your medical wishes. If you were to be incapacitated, your next of kin (usually a surviving spouse or parent) would have the right to make medical decisions on your behalf. If they do not know your wishes, they could authorize medical procedures you do not want. Estate planning allows you to appoint the person you want to make medical decisions on your behalf. It also allows you to provide written instructions to that person about the procedures you do or do not want.

It is also important for young people to remember that they do not know what assets they might have at the time of their death. If, for example, your untimely death was caused by negligence, your estate might be able to pursue a wrongful death claim. These claims are sometimes worth millions of dollars. Because you do not know what assets might be in your estate after death, it is important to engage in estate planning to make your wishes known. 

Estate Planning in Your 30s

Many people in their thirties have begun to accrue assets. They have several years of work experience, they often buy homes, and they might have begun to make contributions to a retirement account. These professional changes lead to assets that can be distributed after a person’s death. 

In addition to professional life changes, many Canadians in their thirties have made personal life changes, as well. Many Canadians in their thirties have been married, divorced, or engaged in a serious relationship. They often have children (with or without a partner). They have families and stepfamilies and friends who act as families. These interpersonal relationships will change a person’s wishes about what should happen to his or her estate. You may wish to appoint a friend to make medical decisions in the event you become incapacitated. You may wish to remove a former spouse from your will or add stepchildren to your will when you marry. The changes do not happen automatically. You must execute legally effective documents to ensure these wishes are carried out after your death.

Estate Planning in Your 40s

By the time a person reaches the age of forty, he or she is likely to have decades of experience in the workforce. This can lead to significant assets in terms of both accrued income and future income, as well as retirement and investment accounts. These financial assets can be protected with proper estate planning documents. 

Estate Planning in Your 50s and Older

The older a person becomes, the more time he or she has to accrue assets of many different types. Because of this, Canadians over the age of fifty often have the largest estates. They might have significant equity in a home they bought decades ago, or in retirement accounts that were started when they first entered the workforce. These assets can appreciate significantly over the space of several decades.

How Long Does an Executor Have to Settle an Estate in Alberta?

The general rule is that executors have one year to settle an estate. In some cases, settling tax matters with the Canada Revenue Agency can delay the process, but that is the exception to the rule. Executors should also not allow unnecessary delays in settling the estate. 

What Assets Are Subject to Probate in Alberta? 

Probate is not always required – especially when there are few assets, or there is no question about the heirs. Probate may be required if there are significant assets or challenges to the validity of the will, or there is no surviving spouse. Probate will usually be required if a bank or retirement plan is obligated to make payments to the estate. These institutions want to protect their legal rights by ensuring that the probate court approves of the claim they have settled with the estate.

Learn MoreGuide to Reducing Your Estate Planning Costs in Alberta

Consider Your Estate Planning Options in Alberta

The British Columbia Representation Agreement Act allows adults to arrange in advance how, when, and by whom, decisions about their health care or personal care, the routine management of their financial affairs, or other matters will be made if they become incapable of making decisions independently. This Act is also designed to eliminate the need for a court to appoint someone to make these decisions.

The Wills, Estates, and Succession Act determines how a person’s financial affairs will be resolved after his or her death. These are default rules, and a person can make a will that settles these issues without relying upon the Act.   

What Type of Trust Can I Set Up When Estate Planning?

A testamentary trust is one created upon the death of the grantor. This is usually created by a will, which immediately places all of the decedent’s assets into a trust upon his or her death. There are also many types of inter vivos trusts that take effect during the grantor’s lifetime. There are many pros and cons to each type of trust. It is important to consult with a lawyer about your financial goals, the tax implications of each type of trust, and other legal considerations.

Experienced Edmonton Estate Planning Attorneys

At Spectrum Family Law, we are qualified to help you create a comprehensive estate plan that will protect your assets well into the future. Call us today at 780-756-0076 to schedule your free consultation.

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