Wills and Estates / Probate Applications Lawyer Calgary
We offer a full compliment of legal services in the area of wills, estates, probate applications, personal directives and enduring powers of attorney. Our team of professionals is able to handle any of our client’s needs in these areas, including the preparation of Wills, providing advice with respect to estate planning and estate administration, services in the areas of applications for probate, as well as applications for administration of estates, providing advice and preparing documentation with respect to enduring powers of attorney and personal directives. Wills are required to make sure that your estate is distributed in accordance with your wishes and not in accordance with Government law which is often arbitrary and will often not reflect your wishes. Personal directives are required to make sure that medical staff are properly instructed regarding the types of medical services that you may prefer to have or not have in the event of catastrophic injury or illness. Enduring powers of attorney are required whenever someone is unable to take care of themselves or to provide for themselves due to mental or physical disability.
Estates Services and Estate Lawyers
We provide services to probate estates (where someone dies with a will) and administer estates (when someone dies without a will). In addition to estates for Calgary and Alberta residents, we also administer estates for persons who resided outside of Alberta, but had property located in Alberta.
We assist people who wish to order their affairs with the preparation of their wills. Wills are required to select a person who will be entitled to administer the estate, and to provide for the transfer of assets on death to the individuals that are cared about. Wills can also be used for other purposes, such as to appoint Guardians for dependent children, and to establish trusts to allow for administration of assets going to these dependent children, and going to others who are not capable of managing their own legal affairs.
Probate Lawyer and Probate Application Services
What is probate?
When someone passes away, the executor named in the will must marshal all of the assets together. The executor decides which ones should be sold and perhaps which ones should be sold but at a later time, they pay the debts owing by the deceased, file tax returns, make arrangements to close utility accounts, make claims on insurance policies and cancel any policy that is not required. They also enter into lease agreements on any revenue properties owned by the deceased. The executor decides if the sale of the revenue property should be delayed or postponed for a reason like wanting the market to improve before the property is sold. The executor's role generally includes doing everything else necessary to increase the amount which the beneficiaries will be receiving from the estate.
If the deceased owned any stocks or bonds, the executor must decide when or if those assets should be sold or if they should be sold at all, since the assets could be distributed in-kind to the beneficiaries. Distributing in-kind means to give the beneficiaries a proportion of the assets held by the deceased without having to turn them into cash. This could apply to stocks and bonds and any other financial instruments and even include real estate owned by the deceased.
The executor must apply to the court for a grant of probate where the executor is required to list all of the details of the deceased, all of the assets and debts of the deceased, provide information regarding all of the beneficiaries, marital status of the deceased, any common law relationships, any children of the deceased, any adopted children, any children or other dependents who may be requiring financial assistance and similar matters.
When the court is satisfied that all the required information has been provided, the judge issues what is called a grant of probate where the court determines that the last Will submitted to probate is, in fact, the last will of the deceased and the executor named or nominated by the deceased is in fact entitled to act as the executor.
The executor is also required to deal with Canada Revenue Agency in terms of any income taxes or GST which may be owing by the deceased, make arrangements for the preparation and filing of tax returns both for the deceased for any income prior to his or her death as well as the income of the estate after death.
Applications for Probate and Administration of Estates
Our lawyers and legal professionals are able to handle any of our client’s needs with respect to making an application for probate or administration of estates, providing advice with respect to estate planning issues so as to minimize taxes payable and maximize a portion of your estate that you are able to leave to your beneficiaries and loved ones and to otherwise assist our clients in this often difficult part of the law.
Enduring Powers of Attorney
We assist clients in the preparation of Enduring Powers of Attorney, which are used to give another person the legal ability to manage that person’s assets if the person becomes unable to do so by reason of mental disability. This is particularly important between spouses, as a spouse has no legal ability to manage the other spouses' assets without this document. Without this document, a Court Application for the Court appointment of a Trustee would be necessary if a person becomes incapable.
We help individuals prepare a personal directive, which gives another person the legal ability to make all of the non-financial decisions that need to be made if that individual becomes mentally incapable. The person appointed has a legal responsibility to ensure the decisions and actions that are carried out are what the person making the document would wish to happen. These decisions involve issues like residence, medical care and life support. Without this document, an Application to the Court for the appointment of a Guardian would be necessary if a person becomes incapable.