Most people are familiar with the concept of having a will. However, many people also underestimate the importance of having an enforceable will drafted by an experienced will lawyer that effectively achieves their goals for after they pass away. When someone dies without a valid will, it can cause many complications and result in many costs for their family that they likely never expected. It is always wise to discuss your options for creating a will with an Edmonton will lawyer as soon as possible.
At Spectrum Family Law, we work to protect families – both before and after you pass away. We want to ensure that our clients have wills in place that are specifically tailored to their family situations and the nature of their estates. Contact our office today to learn more about your options for creating a will.
Having a will can be beneficial for many reasons, and the following are only some reasons why you should seriously consider drafting a will.
Reducing Time and Costs – When you pass away without a will, there are no clear instructions regarding who should be responsible for your estate administration or how your estate should be distributed. Instead, your family will need to undergo extra steps during the probate process so the Court can designate someone who is in charge, as well as heirs and distribution orders. This can result in delays and extra costs.
Accessing Information – When someone does not have a will, chances are that banks and other financial institutions will not easily release information regarding sensitive accounts. A will can help prove that a designated individual has the authority to access accounts to proceed with the many tasks necessary after a death.
Providing Clear Guidance – Without the clear instructions of a will, there can be much confusion among family members regarding an estate. For example, if the deceased person owned property, do you sell the property to a third party? Does a family member take it over? Do you pay off the mortgage with insurance benefits? This is only one of many sources of confusion without the guidance of a will.
Controlling the fair distribution of assets – When someone does not have a will, the law will dictate how the court distributes the estate. The distribution is determined by Alberta intestacy laws, which will leave a certain amount to a spouse and children, or other heirs if the deceased did not have a spouse or children. Intestate laws often provide for unfair distribution, especially if you have a blended family. It is better to control the distribution of your estate to ensure it is fair to all of your loved ones.
Recommending a Guardian – If your death leaves your minor children without a parent, you can use your will to name who you want to step in as their legal guardian. While the Court does not always have to designate your chosen guardian, your opinion can have significant weight in the matter.
Is it Time to Draft a Will?
It is a common misconception that wills are only for older adults or people with substantial wealth. In reality, anyone over the age of majority (18 years old in Alberta) can benefit from having a will. There are many circumstances in which you should certainly have a will, including:
You own any property
You have accounts without named beneficiaries
You get married or remarried
You have children
You experience a windfall
You get divorced
You suffer an illness or injury
The truth is that serious illnesses and injuries can happen at any age, and you want the probate process to be as easy on your family as possible. You can achieve this by drafting a will.
In addition, if you do not have a will drafted by a legal professional, it is likely you do not have other important estate planning documents in place either. There are many documents in a comprehensive estate plan that can protect your family and your estate after you pass away. An estate plan can also designate individuals to handle your affairs and ensure your well-being should you become incapacitated by an illness or injury prior to your death. While there is always the option to create your own will, this can often lead to challenges of the validity of the will during probate. Our will lawyers can ensure that your will is enforceable, as well as discuss all of your other estate planning options with you.
Contact an Edmonton Will Lawyer for Additional Information
Spectrum Family Law handles wills and other estate planning needs for people of all ages and in all types of situations in Edmonton. Call (780) 756-0076 or contact us online to schedule an appointment and discuss what type of estate plan is right for you.