Many people in Alberta might avoid thoughts about their mortality. However, the sooner they realize that death is not negotiable and debilitating injuries or illnesses can happen at any time, the better they could plan for such occurrences. Essential estate planning can be done as soon as a person starts to earn an income and acquire assets, and it can then be modified along with the twists and turns of life.
People in Alberta will no doubt agree that many important events occur at different times in their lives. Some of those are anticipated are planned for, while others happen without proper plans being in place. When it comes to wills and estates, plans are drafted for those events that are anticipated, and occasional reviews and modifications are done to address circumstances that were not part of the plans during the original development.
“In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes,” Benjamin Franklin once said. But even leaving this world for the next doesn’t mean taxes can be escaped. A person who has just died still has to pay taxes on what they have left behind.
Many people are familiar with leaving assets to children in a will, but what about pets? Interestingly, passing "inheritances" onto furry friends is not as unusual in wills as some might think. Considerations for Alberta estates involving pets may include naming a guardian for their animals, as well as leaving some funds to cover living expenses while they are with the new owner.
Being named as an executor can be overwhelming and many people have questions about what their duties entail. Executors often take some steps before the person who named them passes away in order to ease the challenging tasks ahead. Alberta executors responsible for estates belonging to individuals who are seriously ill or aging and may be close to death should be particularly mindful of these preparation steps.
A will allows a people to clearly articulate how they would like to distribute their estate in the event of their passing. Ideally, this would include specific instructions on who is selected to receive certain assets, and the value or exact details of the assets being distributed. Not having a will can be complicated for spouses and adult children.
In many cases, it’s the probate process and administering the will that requires the most attention. It’s also the process that may create disputes over validity, mental capacity or how the estate is administered.
Last week, we looked at some tips to keep in mind when drafting a will. Today, we dig a litter deeper with additional considerations regarding how assets are owned, and how you may wish to leave certain assets behind.
Estate planning involves more than just choosing who will inherit your possessions when you pass away. Proper estate planning requires the selection of estate trustee, a power of attorney, legal guardians for minors and creating trusts.
Drafting a will involves considering our own mortality. Asking yourself what would happen if you passed away. It may be unsettling to think about what you leave behind - especially if you have children.