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Why do I need a will?

You’ve been working, planning and maybe even saving for your future. You’ve built a financial plan. What happens when you die? Will all of your planning and hard work still benefit the ones you love, or will it be rendered useless?

A will is a legal document that details how your estate and possessions will be handled after your death. It allows you to plan for an orderly distribution of your assets in a way that will minimize the tax burden on your beneficiaries and estate.

Dying without a will

If you die without a will you are considered to have died “intestate.” You won’t have a trusted executor to take charge of your affairs and there is no written record of your wishes. If you do not have a surviving spouse, there may be custody disputes over guardianship of your minor children.

In Alberta dying without a will means your estate is handled according to the Intestate Succession Act.

  • An administrator will be appointed, but there may be a delay and additional expenses.
  • Your estate will be divided according to a pre-determined hierarchy of relatives, beginning with your spouse and children.
  • If you have no spouse or blood relatives, your estate will eventually pass to the provincial government.

If this is not how you want your estate distributed, it’s important to create a will.

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