Disclaimer: The information on this web page is meant as general information only. It is not meant to be used as legal advice for specific legal problems. Information is checked for legal accuracy at the time it is posted but may become outdated as laws change. Note: There are new changes to Wills and Estate Legislation on approx. Feb. 1st, 2012. Please consult a lawyer for details.
A will is a legal document that determines how your property will be distributed when you die. All wills must follow the requirements of the Wills Act to be valid. A will ensures that your property will pass to those you want it to after your death. If you die without a will, your property will be distributed as per the Intestate Succession Act which does not give you the legal control a will does after death. Personal Directives and Enduring Powers of Attorney are other important documents to consider when preparing a will.
Choosing the Personal Representative/Executor (PR) alone is no easy task. Those who accept this responsibility are legally liable for the proper distribution of your assets and the handling of your affairs. Southern Alberta Law Offices even has an information sheet for PRs to consider before accepting this important task.
Should you pass away without a will, it is very difficult for your family to access any of your assets or even your belongings. Even the simplest of wills makes it much easier for your family to finalize your affairs and honour your wishes.
This is a separate legal document giving someone (or two) the authority to make decisions about your health care should you become unable to do so. It is a sort of 'power of attorney' over your care and feeding when incapacitated. You may be explicit about your wishes in this case in terms of Do Not Resuscitate orders or medical procedures that will extend life.
This additional document gives one or two people the authority to utilize your money, pay your bills, or perhaps secure you in a care home should you lose your capacity to function. It 'endures' as long as you are alive - whether in a coma, suffering from dementia or incapacitated due to stroke or illness.
It is worth it have a professional help you these important legalities. Southern Alberta Law Offices is at your service, and gives a $50 discount this month for your Estate planning needs. Watch for updates to the legislation concerning Wills & Succession in February, 2012.