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Making a Will

Updated: Mar 10

The process of making a Will is one of the most common questions we receive. It's the document that handles a person's estate after they pass away, and ensures their wishes are followed. Here are some things to consider for your Will.



What is an Estate?


An estate is the property that a person owns at the time of their death. This includes: land, possession, investments, and money.


A Personal Representative (below) will manage an estate by first paying off debts and taxes, and then distributing the remainder to the beneficiaries. There are a couple exceptions:

  1. Property that is owned by joint tenants, which would go the surviving tenant.

  2. Assets that have designated beneficiaries, such as insurance policies.

It’s typical for couples to name each other as Personal Representative, followed by an alternative personal representative. This person does not have to live in Alberta, though it is recommended to name an individual who does. An out-of-province Personal Representative may need to pay a bond to court and there may be tax consequences if the individual lives outside of Canada.


Personal Representative


This is the person you are choosing to manage your estate (commonly known as an "executor") and who will carry out your instructions.


Beneficiaries


These are the people named in the Will who receive the residue of the estate (“Residue” is the remaining money or property after the deceased’s debts have been paid). It is entirely up to you as to where your estate goes – to family (in equal or unequal shares), friends, school, or charities, for example.


Children/ Grandchildren and Age Restrictions


In the event that a child (or grandchild) is to receive a portion of the estate, you may wish to place an age restriction on when that portion of the estate is paid out. We don't recommend children receiving an inheritance at 18 years old due to maturity. You can specify any age over the age of majority, but we recommend 25.


To ensure your children or grandchildren are taken care of, you can specify certain rules even though a distribution would occur at a later age (such as 25). An example of such a rule, is stating that funds from their portion of the estate can be used for education purposes (university, trade school, dorm fees etc.).


Why make a Will?


A Will is an important document for several reasons. The first is your peace of mind in knowing that your estate will be managed according to your wishes and that your family will be cared for. It avoids any unnecessary arguments between family members and provides clear direction as to who will be receiving what. Estate litigation can be a lengthy and expensive process, not to mention the stress it can place on a family.


Please feel free to give us a call or email to book your consultation with Attila Nadori at 403-452-4060 ext 224 or anadori@fletcherlaw.ca.

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