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Why it pays to invest in will and estate planning

Home // Wills and Estates Law // Estate Planning

Let’s start with some basic assumptions on wills, estates and trusts:

Alberta will & estates law lawyers for estate planning, will preparation, will and testament, probate lawyer legal services

Which of these family members should get wills and estates planning first? The younger couple on the left with two children or the older couple with a significant estate? Answer: both.

  • You care about what happens to your assets following your death
  • You want your entire estate to go to your beneficiaries as quickly as possible
  • You want to maximize the value of your estate by minimizing taxes and legal fees
  • You need to know more about key elements of estate planning, such as probate
  • You accept that all of the above cannot be achieved with the help of an expert in Estate Planning

Key steps in the will and estate planning process

Step #1 – What are you worth? You might be surprised by the number of people who don’t really know how much they are worth. "We lead such busy lives that it’s easy to miscalculate the value of an asset or forget about it entirely,” says Will & Estate lawyer Andrew Geisterfer. The review and documentation of assets needs to include not only financial savings and real estate, but also retirement savings and business assets.

Step #2 – Think about the children: If you have children, you need to think about who will care for them following your death. Then you need to speak with the guardian to ensure they are prepared to take on the life altering responsibility of taking care of a child. "If you need just one reason to have an estate plan, this is it,” Andrew says.

Step #3 – Asset Protection: Any review of your assets needs to include an assessment of what will happen to those assets following your death. If some or all of those assets will be drained away by taxes and legal fees, it makes sense to take steps that will minimize those costs. You may also want to take steps to shield your estate from creditors and legal actions. "Proper planning is a must to maximize the value of your estate,” Andrew says.

Step #4 – Who will be the Beneficiaries: Remove all doubt about your intentions by documenting who gets what.

Step #5 – Create Living Wills: You never know when an accident or illness will leave you incapacitated. That’s why it is so important to designate who will take care of your healthcare and financial affairs until you get better. This is known legally as a Living Will or Power of Attorney. You can have one for healthcare and another for financial matters. Make sure each designate is aware of your intentions and is willing to accept this important responsibility.

Step #6 – Regular Reviews: It’s important to review your Estate Plan at regular intervals to ensure that it still makes sense. Changes may be necessary because your personal relationships have changed. You may also need to make alterations to take into account changes in your financial circumstances.

Legal Scenario

When to write a will

"I am married and my spouse and I have just had our first child. Should I get my Will done now or should I wait until I am 65?"

What Would Andrew Recommend?

We all hope to live a long and prosperous life, but this is not always the case. That’s why it is never too early to have a discussion with your lawyer about your estate and develop a Will. If you don’t already have a lawyer, you should try to find one as it is important to have the guidance and counsel of someone you trust. You can start your search online, but don’t make any decision until you have short listed a few lawyers and met them in person.

Meet Andrew Geisterfer Edmonton Real Estate Lawyer

Andrew Geisterfer

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