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Overview :

Wills & Estate Planning: Prepare for your Future.

KGPC provides a wide range of personal legal services in Wills & Estates law, including preparation of:

  • Probating and Administration of Estates
  • Estate planning
  • Estate litigation
  • Wills
  • Power of Attorneys
  • Personal Directives (a.k.a. “living wills”)

What Is A Personal Directive?

Personal Directives are often known as living wills. A PD is a document by which you appoint a person to act on your behalf with regard to your personal decisions (specific or general).

What Is A Will?

A will is a written document that details how you want your property distributed after your death. Alberta law sets out the requirements for a valid will.

What Is A Power Of Attorney?

A Power of Attorney is a document by which you appoint a person to act on your behalf with regard to your finances (specific or general).

Wills and Estate Planning

Personal Directives are often known as living wills. A PD is a document by which you appoint a person to act on your behalf with regard to your personal decisions (specific or general).

PD’s are written statements directed to your chosen agent (generally a spouse, child or trusted friend) and health care providers which state your wishes pertaining to your medial care if you become seriously ill and unable to make those decisions for yourself. The PD is signed at a time when you have sufficient mental capacity to make sound decisions and should be done in the presence of a lawyer.  The PD can be shown to your health care providers and those persons would be obliged to follow the lawful wishes stated in the directive.

A PD includes giving, refusal or withdrawal of consent with regard to health care.  It also includes decisions about where and with whom you may live, with whom you may associate socially, educational and employment matters and legal matters that do not relate to your estate.

Who is an Agent?

Your Agent is the person you choose to make personal decisions on your behalf.

Choosing an Agent

You should choose a person that you trust and that will be able to act with the person you choose to be your Attorney under your Enduring Power of Attorney.  The person should also, if possible, live close by as they could be making decisions on a daily basis.

Joint Agents

Joint Agents must agree on decisions.  You may name one joint Agent to make the final decision if there is a disagreement or the joint Agents may ask the Court to make a final decision.

A will is a written document that details how you want your property distributed after your death.

Alberta law sets out the requirements for a valid will.  A will is valid only when it is in writing.  A will with few exceptions is not valid unless:

(a) it is properly signed; and

(b) properly witnessed.

Your will must be signed by you before two or more witnesses who must also sign the documents in the presence of you and each other.

You must be mentally competent, and at least eighteen years of age.  There are some limited circumstances where a person younger than eighteen may make a valid will.  If you are under eighteen or if you are unable to sign your will by yourself, special rules apply.  You should discuss your will with a knowledgeable lawyer.

In addition to disposing of your property you may also name your “personal representatives” in your will.  A personal representative is also known as an executor, administrator or trustee.  Your personal representative is the persons or trust company legally appointed to represent your estate after your death.  Duties for personal representatives include carrying out the wishes that you have stated in your will, gathering your assets, paying your debts and distributing your property according to your wishes.

A Power of Attorney is a document by which you appoint a person to act on your behalf with regard to your finances (specific or general).  This appointment ends if you become mentally incapacitated.

An Enduring Power of Attorney (EPA) does not end if you become mentally incapacitated.  In fact, most EPAs do not come into effect until you become mentally incapacitated,

An EPA is a document you sign authorizing another person to manage your legal and personal affairs.  It is valid even though you lose mental capacity through a stroke or other disability.  A court order is not required to make it valid.  At your choice, an EPA comes into effect on the occurrence of an event you have chosen.  The EPA being prepared for you will come into effect:

(a) when you declare it in effect; or

(b) when you lack the mental capacity to make your own financial decisions.

Who is an Attorney?

The word “Attorney” under an Enduring Power of Attorney does not mean a lawyer.  Your Attorney is the person you choose to make financial decisions on your behalf.

The powers associated with it are generally very comprehensive and may include the ability to transfer property out of your name.  The named attorney must ensure your property is used only for your benefit or for the benefit of others you have specifically named.  It is critical that you exercise great care in choosing the person who will be your Attorney since you are placing a great deal of power and trust in them.

Choosing an Attorney

You should choose a person that will be organized and business like and that will be able to act with the person you choose to be your agent under your Personal Directive.  The person should also, if possible, live close by.

Joint Attorneys

Joint Attorneys must agree on decisions.  You may name one joint Attorney to make the final decision if there is a disagreement, or the joint Attorneys may ask the Court to make a final decision.

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