Guardianship and Your Children

One of the most difficult decisions any parent will ever have to make is who should be the guardian of their children if they are no longer alive. The inability to answer this one question is why most people with minor children do not write a Will. Ok lets get the elephant out of the room. No one will over raise your children as well as you can and will. We will never be able to replace you. That said, who is the Read More

Can I sell estate property before getting probate?

It can take weeks to receive a Grant of Probate from the Alberta courts, and Executors are usually under pressure from beneficiaries to wrap up the estate quickly.  As a result we often meet Executors who are in a hurry to sell the house or other property in the estate. This is particularly true if the real estate market is in the seller's favor. Executors and beneficiaries don't always want to wait until they've Read More

What happens if you parents owe money when they die

We recently had a client call our office asking a question we hear all the time... "What happens if my father dies owing more money than he has in assets? Will I be personal responsible for paying his debts if I am his Executor?" You will not be personally liable for your father’s debts when he dies. You may however, be taking on a difficult estate where you will be required to negotiate with creditors and Read More

Capital Gains and Your Estate

We have clients call our office all the time asking "I hear everyone talking about Capital Gains. What is it and what happens when I die?" A capital gain is the increase in value of your capital property. Capital property is an investment or other asset that produces income, or an asset that if sold would produce a profit for you. The federal government currently taxes Capital Gains by you declaring 50% of the Read More

The Point of Points – What happens to your points when you die

Everywhere we shop we are encouraged to collect points. From gas stations like Esso and Petro-Canada; stores like Save-On Foods and Hudson’s Bay Company we have the opportunity to collect points with the individual store, Aeroplan or Airmiles. The points are free and many of us use them to buy little luxuries we might not otherwise enjoy. They are an intangible property that we never see but can have value. I once Read More

Your cruise ship has left port

Many people who do not have a Will believe that they can time the preparation of their Will like they do an oil change. Unfortunately, dementia, which affects many new patients every year, does not provide adequate warning signs so that you can time the preparation of your documents before you become ill. There is no flashing sign that states “you have 25 days to write your Will”. Many times the ship has left the Read More

How is Legal (In)Capacity Determined in Alberta?

Legal capacity addresses a person’s ability to understand the nature and consequences of making decisions that: A) are legally binding B) affect their rights, responsibilities, obligations, and legal entitlements, as well as those of others Examples of these decisions include entering, buying or selling a home or business; initiating a lawsuit; and executing a Health Care Directive, Power of Attorney, or Read More

Understanding Grants of Administration

When a person dies in Alberta without a Will, they are said to die “intestate.” If a thorough search for a Will turns up nothing and the estate has assets that need to be administered, a person may apply for a Grant of Administration so that those duties may be carried out. Who May Be a Personal Representative? Section 11(2) of the Surrogate Rules specify an order of preference when it comes to who may be a Read More

4 Common Mistakes People Make When Naming a Potential Guardian for Their Kids

Estate planning is strongly recommended for anyone, but when you have young children, the process is especially important. Urgent, even. Not only do you want to provide for them financially, you also need to name a guardian who will raise them in the event that you and their other parent die or are otherwise unable to care for them. If you haven’t done this yet, you’re not the only one. Over 60% of parents have Read More


I plan to be fair to my children, but if I leave them an unequal amount of money, am I setting up a future battleground?    Fair isn’t always equal in estate planning. The quandary for parents is how to treat their children equally, even when the monetary amount that each child will receive is unequal. This is particularly prevalent in families that own a business and some but not all of the children have Read More