Probate, Wills, Creditors, Courts…
Wondering now what?

Great question. So many of us take on the responsibility of handling an estate. And so often we’re unprepared for it, and we’re likely dealing with the effects of grief ourselves.

To give ourselves credit, we’re usually more competent than we think. But it sure doesn’t hurt to have an experienced lawyer by your side.

When you work with me, you get someone who knows just about every issue that comes up in executing an estate. You’ll be well prepared, take the right steps, and ensure that the estate is settled fairly and effectively to the satisfaction of all parties.

I offer a free consultation to executors of estates. Call me. I’ll be pleased to guide you.

YOU: THE EXECUTOR

Yes, you do have responsibility for the estate, but you don’t have to do it alone. We’ve got your back.

COMPLEXITY

It looks so simple. And then it gets more complicated. Before it gets beyond your control, call us.

AFFORDABLE SOLUTIONS

We guide you from Wills to Probate, from authorities to beneficiaries. And we don’t burden you with excessive fees.

REQUEST A ESTATE PLANNING CONSULTATION

Work with an experienced, full service estate lawyer.

Dealing with an estate is never easy. As lawyers we applaud those of you who have been asked and accepted the role of Executor. The following are some of the most difficult factors you’ll have to deal with, and where we can help.

Time Factor

Handling estates is a time-consuming business. The best estimates tell us settling a simple estate might take a year to eighteen months. The more complicated it gets, the time can stretch  over several years. As Executor, are you prepared or even ready for that?

Asset complexity

What if the estate includes a business, real estate holdings, paintings, jewelry? How many Executors have experience in all these areas? Who can you turn to for evaluation and not cost the estate a fortune? 

Beneficiary complexity

Around 50% of all marriages end up in divorce courts. Common law relationships are the norm for many families. Then they split. How do children from these relationships fare? Will they feud? Dispute the Will? The Executor must deal with this.

Multiple jurisdictions

Beneficiaries live in different provinces or countries. There’s a condo in Puerto Vallarta and shares in an Okanagan winery. Regulations differ, interpretations differ. You need help.

The above are just some of the issues an Executor may have to deal with. If you’re the Executor, you want to successfully pass the estate legacy on to beneficiaries. When you work with us, we take much of the burden off your shoulders.  With over three decades of experience in dealing with estate issues, not only do I have the experience but perhaps as important, I have the patience to guide you safely through.

5 Reason’s to Meet With Me

I want you to enjoy working with me as your estate lawyer. That’s why I focus on these 5 areas to give you the best legal experience.

Extraordinarily Thorough

I don’t let things slip through the cracks.

``Win Win`` Result Focused

Your situation handled with integrity for everyone.

Gratifying Experience

My goal for every client that hires me.

Professional Expertise

Feel confident that you are in the best possible hands.

Empathic Communication

I’ve gone through & understand your situation from every side.

The hardest thing I’ve ever done…

I’ve been an Edmonton lawyer for over three decades. When I turned 50, I decided to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest mountain at 5895 metres above sea level. It was a great experience and I really appreciated the support of our Tanzanian guides and porters.

On Kilimanjaro I had plenty of time to think about the “individual” mountains we face in life, those that seem difficult to overcome. Yet sometimes all we need is support from those who’ve faced similar challenges and know how to conquer them.

One of those mountains many of my clients face is being asked or appointed as the Executor of an estate. It’s an awesome responsibility, especially if you happen to be related to the deceased. You have all kinds of issues to deal with. And you must remain impartial in the process.

I suggest that you need the kind of support I received in climbing Kilimanjaro. Working together makes the process a cooperative one, less stressful and therefore easier to handle.

If you’d appreciate that level of support, call me.

Our Commitments to You

  •  Reasonable fees
  •  Keep you informed
  •  Prompt responses
  •  Go the extra mile
  •  Protect your privacy
  •  Honour your decisions

When was your Will last updated?

Common Questions & Estate Lawyer Resources

For answers to the questions below, click the + to open.

What do I do next?

If you’ve made it this far, the best thing to do is schedule a consultation with me. Bring whoever you need to attend.

During the consultation we can discuss any additional questions you have without a commitment to work with me. I want you to feel comfortable with me before you decide.

 

Why hire a qualified lawyer?

When the estate is complex, when you want legalities handled quickly and competently, no lawsuits, no family fights, no Probate Court rejection, beneficiaries paid, and most of all, peace of mind.

Are there Provincial differences in Power of Attorney requirements?

Yes. Provinces each have their own interpretation of PoA. Check what those conditions are for the Province where you live.

Can the person I appoint to be my PoA representative be in conflict with the Executor of my Will?

There is no relationship between your PoA appointment and your Will. Your named “Executor” in your Will administers your “estate” (financial assets) after you die. If you wish, your Executor and your PoA representative can be the same person. It’s up to you.

What is a Personal Directive (living will)?

A Personal Directive is the legal term used in Alberta, somewhat equivalent to the term “Living Will” used elsewhere. It’s a decision by you to give authority to another person to act on your behalf if you are unable to do so yourself. For example, if you are ill and clearly in no position to make decisions. Your lawyer will help you draw up a suitable Personal Directive to reflect your wishes.

Does a Power of Attorney survive my death?

No. The moment you die, your PoA is cancelled and your Will comes into effect.

Do I need a Power of Attorney as well as a Will?

Since we are all going to die, we need a Will.  However, a PoA is not required. Having said that, putting a PoA in place is an extraordinarily smart action on your part. If you were to lose capacity without one, you could expose your family to potential feuds. Consider your PoA as insurance against that.

Do I really need a Lawyer to prepare my Will?

Of course not. You may be able to take the time to put together a legally binding document that will stand up in court But there are many ways to make a mistake and I assure you our clients do not want their intentions thwarted following their death. From past experience I can tell you that without a valid will, this can get very complicated and nasty to resolve. Let’s face it, when we die, we don’t want our assets going to relatives we didn’t care about, causes we didn’t like, or government coffers. Much will depend on the intestate laws of where you live, and whoever is appointed to handle your estate.

What if you die without a Will (intestate)?

I have had to deal with too many Canadians and their regret that a relative or friend did not have a valid will when they died. Example. I know of a woman who lived to 100, receiving congratulatory letters from the Prime Minister and the Queen. Her will had been revised in accordance with her wishes. However, she was hospitalized in an emergency and never got to sign that revised will. Following her death, with no signature, the courts decided on a previous will, splitting the estate in ways contrary to her wishes.

What is probate?

A judicial process to transfer a decedent’s estate to its beneficiaries, validate the will, and empower the executor to administer the estate.

How long does the process take?

From three months to 18 months or more, depending on estate complexity

What does the process entail?

An executor, established in the decedent’s will, determines the value of the estate, the names of beneficiaries, and assesses what is due to each beneficiary. Once submitted and approved by the Probate Court, the assets are distributed to beneficiaries.

What is subject to probate?

Most assets including property, vehicles, stocks, bonds, bank accounts, share ownership. Exceptions include certain assets to a named beneficiary such as RRSPs, RRIFs, TFSAs and insurance. Also excluded are assets given or created during the decedent’s life, such as gifts, and assets in “Inter Vivos Trusts”

How long does the process take?

From three months to 18 months or more, depending on estate complexity

Estate/Executor Resources

Download free legal resources to help you through the executor process. Your funeral home will also be able to provide necessary forms and helpful worksheets.