Mission Hill Winery, West Kelowna, BC
Hiring an estate planning lawyer is one of the best ways to protect your assets. While nobody wants to contemplate a world that goes on after they pass, the reality is that you have a responsibility to your loved ones to ensure that your affairs are properly sorted. Having your estate planned helps to prevent heartache, disappointment, and stress for family members and loved ones after you've passed. In addition, having a legally sound will in place is the only way to assure that your wishes will be followed. At Davie & Associates, we specialize in wills and estate planning. Let us help you get peace of mind regarding the future of your estate.
Do you need a will? While nobody is legally required to create a will, the benefits of doing so are unmatched. Wills are essential for making sure your beneficiaries don't have to fight their way through the court system to obtain what you intended for them to have. When you work with a wills and estate lawyer, you'll have an opportunity to create a will that provides the clarity needed to ensure your wishes are carried out without question. At Davie & Associates, we'll sit down to write a will with you on a one-on-one basis to ensure that every aspect of your estate is addressed.
Estate planning is more than just selecting beneficiaries. The lawyers at Davie & Associates have seen just how important personal directives can be for ensuring that your wishes are respected. A personal directive is sometimes referred to as a "living will." It refers to legal instructions that you create for how you'd like decisions to be handled in the event that you lose mental capacity due to an accident or illness. Having a personal directive allows you to choose the person you'd like to act as your advocate and decision-maker regarding health decisions, estate decisions, and end-of-life decisions.
The term "power of attorney" refers to legal authorization giving a person the power to act on behalf of another person. Power of attorney arrangements can be created for both financial and health-related decisions. Giving a person that you truly "trust with your life" an enduring power of attorney designation can remove much of the red tape involved with having your wishes followed if you lose mental or physical capacity.
Probate is the process of establishing the validity of your will. It ultimately determines who gets your assets. During the probate process, your estate will apply for something called a grant of probate that will determine your will's validity. The best way to make this process as quick and easy for your loved ones as possible is to create an airtight will that doesn't leave room for an unintended beneficiary to try to contest the will.
A worst-case scenario occurs when a person passes away without leaving a will. In the absence of a will, the letters of administration process will kick in. In some cases, an improperly drafted will can also trigger the letters of administration process. When no valid will is available, the court allows a family to apply to serve as the estate administrator. The estate administrator is tasked with taking inventory of the estate, paying the estate's debts, and other duties. If no family members or close friends are available, the court will appoint a trust company to serve as the administrator.
Can you change a will in Alberta or British Columbia? Yes, it is possible to update a will to match changes in your financial or family situations. Some common causes of will changes include:
It's important to adjust your will to keep up with emerging dynamics in your life. The law will not assume that you intended to change your will simply because circumstances and relationships have changed. If you fail to adjust your will, it's possible that your intended beneficiaries will not receive all that they should.
Davie & Associates has extensive experience with all aspects of estate planning. If you've never taken steps to plan your estate, we can walk you through all of the steps needed to create a valid will in Canada. Our law office provides convenient locations in Edmonton, Penticton, and Red Deer. Contact us now to schedule an initial consultation.