Alberta’s Source for Lawyer Reviewed Wills 


Our recommendation is for you to revisit and review the terms of your will periodically or as your circumstances change.

If you die without a Will, this is called Intestacy, or dying intestate. In this case, a probate lawyer can help a family member apply for a Grant of Administration from the Court. This allows up to three Administrators to be appointed to distribute the estate of the deceased. The law in Alberta has rules governing how this is done.
There are a few ways to go about creating a legally binding Will in Alberta, including online do-it-yourself kits, handwritten (holographic) Wills, and retaining a lawyer. All are recognized by Alberta law, provided the Will meets all requirements for validity (i.e. legal age and sound mind of the testator, accessibility, signing, zero coercion, etc.). It is advised by the Alberta government that anyone considering writing a Will should consult with an experienced lawyer, to ensure both clarity and accuracy of represented wishes.

The probate process is the legal process of authenticating a will in court and ensuring that the deceased’s assets are distributed fairly and accurately. When a loved one passes away, there may be many relatives and dependents who are interested in making sure that the deceased’s assets are distributed properly.

The probate process provides a way to ensure that the will is valid and that the deceased’s assets are distributed according to their wishes. Probate ensures that the deceased’s final wishes are carried out in an open and transparent manner, so that all parties involved can be confident that these wishes are known and followed.

If you need to make minor changes to your existing Will, such as adding or removing a beneficiary, it is possible to revise your Will without needing to rewrite it.
To make changes to your Will, you will need to create a Codicil: a separate legal document that allows you to modify your existing Will. Without a Codicil, even minor changes would require a new Will to be written.
This document shall become part of your original Will upon completion. A Codicil must be signed and witnessed in the same manner as a Will; if done improperly, there may be questions about your true intentions, the validity of the Codicil, or even the validity of your Will.

In Alberta, neither estate nor inheritance taxes are levied by the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) on deceased citizens or their property. Probate fees are, however, involved in resolving most estates.
The probate fees in Alberta are relatively low; currently, the maximum fee is $525. The more valuable the estate, the higher the government probate fees.
There are also fees associated with the forms and applications required to probate the estate, which can range from $35 to $250 per form or application. For a current fee schedule, please visit Probate lawyer fees can differ based on the size and complexity of the estate, local market rates, and the lawyer’s experience.

A Grant of Probate is an official document that confirms the validity of a deceased person’s last Will and affirms the Personal Representative’s authority to distribute the deceased person’s assets. This document is signed by a Justice of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta.
The grant provides the Personal Representative with the legal authority to administer the estate.

It is a common misunderstanding that an attorney appointed through a Power of Attorney will be able to manage your financial affairs after you die. A Power of Attorney will automatically terminate upon the individual’s death. In the province of Alberta, the individual must appoint a Personal Representative to manage the distribution of their estate and any other financial affairs, such as tax matters.

A Power of Attorney will automatically terminate upon the individual’s death. In the province of Alberta, the individual must appoint a Personal Representative to manage the distribution of their estate and any other financial affairs, such as tax matters.
Although a Joint Will may appear to be a straightforward and simple document, it can create significant problems in the future. Once one partner dies, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to change the Joint Will. If you change your mind about what you want to do with your estate after your spouse dies, you may not be able to do so.

In Alberta, a Personal Directive is a document that designates a specific individual to make personal decisions on your behalf in the event that you are unable to do so yourself.
A living will also known as an advance directive, outlines your end-of-life medical care wishes in the event that you are unable to communicate them yourself. This document provides specific instructions on personal matters such as whether you want to be kept on life support, what kind of medical treatments you would or would not like to receive, where you would like to receive end-of-life care, and who you would like to make decisions on your behalf.
If you have a Personal Directive set up ahead of time, your wishes will be known and followed in the event of incapacity. However, if you do not have a Personal Directive in place, your family will need to hire a lawyer to apply for an Order to appoint a Guardian (for non-financial matters).

In most situations, the decedent’s Will names a Personal Representative (also called an executor, executrix, trustee, or administrator) to administer the estate.
If the deceased did not have a valid will, Alberta’s legislation sets out a list of individuals who have the right to apply to the court to be appointed as the administrator of the estate.
If you have questions about naming a Personal Representative, administering an estate, or applying for a Grant of Probate, we encourage you to call or email us today for a free consultation. We would be more than happy to answer any questions you may have.

After a person passes away, their debts are typically paid from the estate before any distributions are made to beneficiaries. This can reduce the amount of assets that beneficiaries ultimately receive. A Will may contain specific instructions for debts such as a mortgage.
For example, the Personal Representative may be directed to pay off the mortgage using estate funds and then transfer the mortgage-free property to a beneficiary. The Personal Representative may also be directed to sell the property and distribute the proceeds to the beneficiaries.
The proceeds from the sale of the property can be transferred to a beneficiary. If the estate does not have enough money to pay the deceased’s debts, the Personal Representative should seek legal advice as soon as possible.

In Alberta, if you die without having a Will in place, your estate will not be automatically distributed to your spouse.
The Wills and Succession Act will determine the distribution of your estate. If you have children, the courts may award your spouse a portion of the money and divide the rest between your children, to be received at age 18.
Your spouse may also be responsible for significant legal fees during the probate process. Having a Will in place can help speed up the process and potentially save on costs.

In Alberta, your estate will not be inherited by your former spouse or adult child if they are not dependent on you. However, certain individuals are protected under the Wills and Succession Act to ensure they are provided for adequately.
Spouses, common law partners, children who are minors, and dependent adult children may apply for family maintenance and support under the Wills and Succession Act if the deceased’s Will does not provide adequate support and maintenance.
The court may rewrite the deceased’s will to ensure that the individual(s) receive adequate provision if their claim is reasonable. It is important to note that they will not be able to access anything outside of the estate, such as insurance policies, RRSPS, or property owned in joint tenancy.

It is possible to distribute the majority of your estate through a Will, though there are some restrictions on the types of property that can be gifted to beneficiaries. In Alberta, a Will does not cover the following assets: 
– RRSP plans; 
– Retirement/pension plans; 
– Life insurance; 
– Property held in a trust; or 
– Annuities (insurance contracts that promise to pay you regular income either immediately or in the future). 
These assets are typically given to the individuals you have named as beneficiaries in each plan or policy.

The Surrogate Court is a division of the Court of Queen’s Bench of Alberta that deals with Wills and Estates.
The Surrogate Court has specific rules and forms that must be followed. An experienced probate or estate lawyer will be familiar with these laws and forms.
You can find the Surrogate Court Forms you need at; just search for “Surrogate Rules Package.” If you have questions about Surrogate Court or probate, please call or email us to book a free consultation.

To contest a Will, a person or entity must have a personal interest in the outcome of the case.
If a bank or charity has been named as a beneficiary or fiduciary in a deceased person’s will, they may contest the will. In general, those who have legal standing to contest a will are:
– The named beneficiary in the will
– Children of legal age
– Heirs related by blood on an intestate will
– A spouse or adult interdependent partner
– A person named as “Attorney” to act for the deceased under an Enduring Power of Attorney
– Personal Representatives
– The Public Trustee 

In Alberta, the term “Personal Representative” refers to the role of executor, executrix, trustee, or administrator.
The Executor, as named in the Will, is responsible for ensuring the deceased’s final wishes are carried out, as well as managing and distributing their property and assets.
The handling of financial matters and other responsibilities after a person’s passing can be difficult. It is important to choose someone you trust to manage these tasks.
After your passing, you will want to select someone you can trust to handle important financial responsibilities, such as debts, taxes, inheritances, and care of dependents.

A Personal Representative is any person or corporation who is willing and able to act on your behalf. A beneficiary named in your Will, or a lawyer, can serve as your Personal Representative.
In most cases, people select a friend or family member who is trustworthy and reliable to carry out the instructions, has the time to carry out the duties, and is willing to take on the responsibility of the role.
This person should ideally have some knowledge of business matters and be likely to outlive the person writing the Will. Multiple Personal Representatives may be appointed to act together in order to resolve your affairs.
It is crucial that you communicate your desires to all relevant parties, and that they are able to cooperate with one another. (For example, your aunt and uncle who have not spoken in 10 years are probably not the best candidates.)

Many pet owners are concerned about what will happen to their pets after they die. The good news is that it is possible to provide for your beloved pet through a Will. Rather than leaving money directly to your pet, we generally recommend that you designate the money for pet expenses to the person who will be caring for your pet.
You may name a trusted friend or family member as your animal’s caregiver in the event of your passing, provided they agree. You should provide care instructions and specify what the funds are for (e.g. food, grooming, veterinary bills, etc.).
It is essential to have a backup caregiver in place in the event that the primary person you have chosen is no longer willing or able to take care of your pet.

If you or your children’s other legal guardian or spouse passes away before your kids reach the age of majority, they will need another guardian.
Without a Will, you are leaving it up to the court to make the final decision on a guardian for you without the benefit of choosing a family member you trust or even knowing who you think should be placed in this role.
When multiple people apply for custody of a child, the court will weigh its decision based on the best interests of the child. The court will consider various factors, including the familial relationship between the child and the potential guardian, the guardian’s financial stability and ability to provide for the child, the guardian’s mental and physical health, and the guardian’s criminal history.
– The biological relationship of the individual to your children
– The financial stability of the individual
– The location of the individual
– The age of the individual
– The mental and emotional state of the individual
If no family members step forward to serve as guardian for your children, the province will assume responsibility for their care, education, and health.
If you are unable to care for your children, they may be placed in the foster care system. This could mean being separated from their siblings and placed with a permanent legal guardian who is either known to them or in a long-term foster care home.

If you die without having made a will, your estate will be subject to intestacy laws, and the probate court will determine how your property will be distributed.
The succession order typically favors your surviving spouse or domestic partner, followed by your children, then parents, siblings, and extended family members.

The term “testator” refers to a person who creates a will. While this terminology is not often used in everyday conversation, it is still found within wills and in the law.
Probate is the process of distributing a deceased person’s assets, such as bank accounts, real estate, and financial investments. Probate is the administration of a deceased person’s will or estate without a will.
An executor is the individual responsible for managing the estate of a deceased person. This includes collecting the assets of the deceased, paying any outstanding debts, and distributing the assets to the beneficiaries. If there is no will, the administrator will complete the probate process.
A codicil is a legal document that supplements your last will and testament. In it, you can make changes to your will without having to rewrite your entire original will document.
The executor is appointed either by the testator of the will or by a court. In cases where there was no prior appointment, the court will appoint an executor.
The executor of an estate is responsible for carrying out the deceased’s instructions regarding their affairs and wishes. This includes administering the last will and testament of the deceased person.
The cost of probate varies from state to state. This can be a significant expense for beneficiaries, as it can reduce the overall inheritance amount.
Total cost will vary depending on a number of factors, such as:
– The state in which you reside.
– The size of your estate.
– The complexity of your Estate Plan.
– Whether or not someone contests any part of your plan.
A holographic will is a will that is handwritten and signed by the testator. It is a legal document that can be used in lieu of a traditional will.
Advanced directives are written, legal instructions regarding your preferences for medical care if you are unable to make decisions for yourself. This includes living wills and other documents that outline your wishes in the event that you become incapacitated.
Advance directives can help ensure that your preferences for medical care are followed if you become unable to communicate them yourself. They can also help relieve your loved ones of the burden of making difficult decisions on your behalf.
The power of attorney (POA) is a legal authorization that allows a designated individual to act on behalf of another person.
A will is a legal document that sets out how you would like your assets to be distributed after you die, and can appoint guardians for your minor children.

Yes, they can, in most situations.

In the event of a death, the debts of the deceased do not become the responsibility of the surviving spouse, partner, or child. each individual is only responsible for their own debts.
Under most circumstances, consumers are only held accountable for debt they’ve agreed to take on. So, if your parents die with debt, who pays for it?
Creditors may attempt to make a claim against your parents’ estate if they are able to provide evidence that they are owed money.

Get peace of mind for you and your family by creating your will today.