Wills and Estate Planning
Important Information Required to Prepare a Will
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we're now offering several different services related to wills:
"drive-thru" wills (wills, enduring powers of attorney, and personal directives drafted during a Skype meeting with the actual signing taking place with you parked in your car by our office) at no additional charge;
"delivery" wills (documents drafted during a Skype meeting with the signing happening by your front door and from a safe distance) though an additional fee will be charged for this service; and
wills packages payable in installments for up to 6 months.
Additional information can be found at my site devoted to lawyer-drafted wills and estate planning services for Calgary residents.
$400 plus GST ($420) for one person (lawyer rate for one will package for up to 2 hours)
$700 plus GST ($735) for a couple (lawyer rate for two wills for a married or common law couple, for up to 3 hours)
These rates include the drafting of the will (or wills), enduring power(s) of attorney, and personal directive(s), and indicate starting rates for these will-drafting services. Additional charges of $300 plus GST per hour will apply to clients who require more time than is projected in the above estimates. In my experience, the above estimates accurately reflect the time it takes to complete wills (and related documents) for individuals and couples.
While these rates are more than you might pay to purchase a do-it-yourself wills kit, there are many
advantages to using a lawyer to help you write a will. As well, it almost every case it is important for an adult living in Alberta to have a will, along with an enduring power of attorney and personal directive. Special rules apply to the distribution of property of people who died without having a will (known as being intestate). Suffice it to say that legal procedures dealing with intestacy are more complex and typically substantially more costly than those procedures that apply to probating the will of a deceased individual.
Though wills tend to be similar in jurisdictions with a legal system based on the English Common Law system, there may be variations in the law from one such jurisdiction to the next. In Alberta, the most important piece of legislation dealing with wills is the Wills and Succession Act. If you own property in more than one jurisdiction (province, state, or country) it's a good idea to get additional advice from a lawyer who practices law in that jurisdiction.
Please look through the information below to see if any of it applies to your circumstances. You may also wish to check this out these will and estate planning FAQs.
Please let me know if any of the following situations apply to you before I prepare your will:
You have a second family or children from a previous relationship.
You have minor children or other dependants.
You own property jointly with another person.
You have listed beneficiaries in an investment or life insurance policy.
You hold property in the name of a corporation.
You have a farm.
There is anything else you think may be significant.
Witnesses for Wills
You must have two witnesses. If your will is signed at my office, I will act as one of the witnesses and someone else in my office will act as a second witness.
Witnesses must be adults (over the age of 18 in Alberta), and be of sound mind.
Witnesses must not be beneficiaries under the will. A witness must not be a spouse (or boyfriend or girlfriend) of a beneficiary, and should not be closely related to a beneficiary, such as a parent, child, or sibling of a beneficiary. This is very important. A will that does not comply with this legal requirement is a will that is legally useless.
Both witnesses must be present at the time the will is being signed. It is also necessary for both witnesses to sign at the time the will is being signed.
If a witness does not know you personally, the witness should verify your identity by looking at picture identification, such as a driver's licence.
You and your two witnesses should also place your initials in the bottom right corner of each page of the will, except for the last page containing the signatures.