STEP-BY-STEP WILL PLANNING
Most people find the thought of Will and Estate planning to be emotionally challenging, but you’re wise to get this important matter taken care of sooner rather than not. We have experienced people here at JD Law to make sure it’s done properly. Below are a few guidelines to help you get started planning for your Will, Personal Directive, and Power of Attorney documents.
Getting Started …
1. Identify your Assets: Make sure to include all bank accounts, real estate, financial investments, and other assets – both personal and business, where applicable.
2. Identify your Beneficiaries: Whom you leave your property to is entirely up to you. This may include individuals (family or others), or organizations such as charities or other causes.
3. Choose an Attorney (for your Power of Attorney): For this document, the word “Attorney” doesn’t mean a licensed lawyer, but rather someone whom you trust to handle your financial affairs should you become unable to do so. Having an Enduring Power of Attorney in place can give you peace of mind should the need arise.
4. Select an Agent (for your Personal Directive): Having a Personal Directive (“living will”) in place gives both you and your family peace of mind that decisions regarding your health care are clearly set forth in writing, for those unexpected and stressful life events. Appointing an agent enables that person to act for you in all matters pertaining to your health care, including organ donation, and life support decisions.
5. Choose a Wills and Estates Lawyer: A Wills and Estate lawyer will be able to identify any potential issues, and can help you find solutions to meet your personal needs. You should also consider meeting with an accountant for tax planning advice prior the drafting of documents, as needed.
Wills and Estates Packages and Services …
Planning for your family’s future, including the future of your assets, is a responsible move meant to save not only time and money down the road, but also your family’s time and energy during difficult times. We at JD Law offer customizable Wills and Estates packages, as well as individual services, to meet your particular needs, including the following:
- Power of Attorney
- Personal Directive (Living Wills)
- Estate Trusts
IMPORTANCE OF A LEGAL WILL
It is common for people to feel lost in the complexities and “legalese” of Will drafting, and to have many questions concerning the details and implication of this process. We cannot overemphasize the importance of having a properly prepared Will in place to protect and guide your family in a difficult time of loss and sorrow.
Below is some background information regarding this area of the law. If any of your questions are not answered below, please feel free to contact our office, or stop in for a visit at your convenience. We’re always happy to chat with you about any of these important matters.
What a Will Can Do for You …
Upon your passing, there are numerous legal issues that may complicate a smooth distribution of your assets to those you love. A properly prepared Will enables you to:
- Name someone you trust to be your Executor (in Alberta this role is now referred to as a Personal Representative) and give this person power to carry out all your instructions contained in the Will.
- Distribute your assets as you instruct in the Will.
- Set up trusts for your children, which can be administered by your Personal Representative.
- Name one or more individuals to act as Guardian(s) for your dependent children, and give them the power and financial resources to care for your children.
- Ensure your remains are disposed of as you desire.
- Have peace of mind that your Estate matters will be dealt with immediately after your death in a manner that protects your family and assets.
Anyone over the age of 18 – particularly if you have minor children – absolutely should have a properly prepared Will in place. This is true even if you and your spouse or partner jointly own all assets together. Nothing replaces the peace of mind and legal protection a properly prepared Will can give you … do not wait another day to get started with putting your Will in place.
Without a Will in Place …
Have you ever known someone who died without a Will in place? And witnessed the lengthy, frustrating process of that person’s family trying to access family assets, accounts, and other legal matters through the court? It’s painful and unnecessary. Without a Will in place:
- Your Estate may be handled by someone you do not trust or would not have chosen.
- Your Estate will be distributed based on a set of legal guidelines, not your wishes.
- A Public Trustee will be appointed by the court to look after your children’s financial interests until they are 18 years old.
- You will not have a say in who will care for your minor children, and they may be assigned to the care of someone you do not want to raise them.
- Any family or friends who do wish to care for your minor children will have to apply to the court for an order to do so – a complex, expensive, and time-consuming process.
- Your remains may be disposed of in a way you wouldn’t choose or specifically do not want.
- Your Estate cannot be dealt with until the court appoints an administrator to handle it – again, a complex, expensive, and time-consuming process.
Safeguard Your Family’s Future …
For your own peace of mind, have your Will drawn up by an experienced lawyer who understands how to customize a Will to your specific needs and circumstances.
Even if your Estate is simple and straight-forward, an experienced lawyer will ensure that your Will is properly drafted and legally valid in Alberta – avoiding any potential issues that can otherwise invalidate a Will. Your Wills lawyer will help guide you throughout the process:
- How best to structure your Will and create trusts to protect both your assets and your family’s peace of mind and security down the road.
- How to change your Will any time, so long as you are competent.
- The importance of reviewing your existing Will every few years, or whenever you experience a significant change in your family situation.
- Preparing Your Will Package
- Preparing Your Personal Directive
- Personal Directive – Frequently Asked Questions
- Preparing Your Power of Attorney
- Power of Attorney – Frequently Asked Questions
- Estate Trusts
Click on any of the following links for further information:
Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to speak to one of our friendly staff for a confidential discussion.
Phone: (587) 272-2050