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No one wants to think about dying. But have you thought about the consequences of dying and leaving behind grieving family members who are trying to figure out what to do with your assets?


Perhaps one of the least selfish things you can do in life is to prepare your Last Will and Testament to make sure your loved ones are cared for and that all other matters such as liquidating assets and paying debts can be settled easily with the least amount of disruption to those left behind.


Why do I need a Will?


Having a Last Will and Testament prepared may not be mandatory but it can help grieving family members who are trying to decide what to do with your assets. Think of it as your last opportunity to say what you want done with your assets after spending a lifetime building them up.


If you have children, a Last Will and Testament can name guardians for your children until they reach the age of majority (18 in Alberta). You Will can specify how you want the children raised, who takes care of their financial needs and at what age the inheritance can be distributed to them.


If you own a business, the matter of dissolving or continuing a business can be quite complicated. Your Will can lay out a plan for the continuation of your business or maybe for the sale of your business. Either way, a Will can assist and guide your executor on following through with your wishes. After all, you probably spent many hours building your business so the best way of dealing with your business for your family is by leaving behind specific  instructions in the event of your death.


Most of us own a home or other property and the Last Will and Testament not only dictates who will receive that home or property but it can direct when the property should be sold and for how much and what the beneficiary(ies) can do with the funds.


What makes a Will valid in Alberta?


The legislation governing Wills is called The Wills and Succession Act. That legislation stipulates that you must be 18 years of age or older and of sound mind to make a Will. There are exceptions, of course, for example if you are a member of the Canadian Forces then you don’t have to be 18 years of age. The Will must be in writing and it must follow the provisions of the legislation in order to be valid.
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