STORING YOUR WILL

 

If you have a safe deposit box this is the best place to store your Will and other estate documents. If you do not have a safe deposit box it is not necessary to obtain one for this reason alone and I recommend keeping your Will in a fireproof safe, filing cabinet or container at your residence. I also recommend that you advise your Personal Representative or a member of your family of its whereabouts.

DYING WITHOUT A WILL

 

If you die without a Will there will be no one officially in charge or able to administer your estate.  In this situation a family member or other interested party will have to apply to court for a Grant of Administration and your beneficiaries will be determined by Part 3 of the Wills and Succession Act (page 26).

WHAT IS A HOLOGRAPH WILL?

A Holograph Will must be completely in the testator's own handwriting, dated and signed - it does not have to be witnessed. For more information on a Holograph Will, please refer to section 16 of the Wills and Succession Act (page 11).

CHOOSING A PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE

 

Any adult can be your Personal Representative, however, I suggest you choose a close family member who:

  • is honest and trustworthy;

  • has a personal knowledge of your circumstances;

  • is well organized; and

  • has the time and is willing to do the job.

In addition, for convenience sake, I suggest you choose someone who lives in the same city or at least the same province as you.  

PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE'S DUTIES

The tasks of the Personal Representative are:

 

  • identifying and locating all the estate assets and liabilities; 

  • tending to the funeral and costs;

  • applying for the Grant of Probate;

  • satisfying the debts, taxes and obligations of the estate;

  • administering the estate; and

  • distributing and accounting for the administration of the estate.

Please refer to the following for a more in depth explanation of what is involved in being a Personal Representative:

WHAT IS A GRANT OF PROBATE?

 

A Grant of Probate is applied for to prove the validity of a Will. Once obtained the Grant of Probate gives the Personal Representative authority to deal with the assets and debts and taxes and to distribute the gifts in accordance with the terms of the Will.  

WHAT IS A GRANT OF ADMINISTRATION?

 

A Grant of Administration is applied for when a person dies without a Will and held property and/or assets in their name alone. A Grant of Administration allows an interested party to be the Personal Representative and distribute the estate in accordance with the laws of Alberta. 

IS IT ALWAYS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN A GRANT OF PROBATE OR GRANT OF ADMINISTRATION?

No.  If the deceased had no property or assets, or if all property and assets were held jointly, a Grant of Probate or Grant of Administration is most likely not required.  

IS A LAWYER REQUIRED TO OBTAIN A GRANT OF PROBATE OR GRANT OF ADMINISTRATION?

No.  The required forms to apply for a Grant of Probate or Administration are available from the Queen’s Printer Bookstore in Edmonton and the Clerks of the Surrogate Court will assist with general questions.  You can view these forms by referring to the Surrogate Rules of Court.  

 

This is, however, a somewhat complicated and tedious task and I do recommend you seek the help of a lawyer. Please contact Jason Van Doesburg of Van Doesburg Law, (780) 451-2661, or visit vandoesburglaw.com for help with this matter.  

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