Quick Guide: Make an Online Will In Alberta
Alberta is pretty awesome. Home of Gretzky’s Oilers, Iginla’s Flames, the Calgary Stampede, and Lake Louise … could it get any better? Well, maybe just a little. That’s because the majority of the population does not have a proper Will in place. But with estate planning now easier than ever with the rise of online Wills, we hope we’ll start to see this number increase in Alberta. Because a Will really is one of the most important documents you can have to protect your family.
Looking to learn more about making an online Will in Alberta? We know the term ‘estate planning’ can spark more questions than answers, so we’ve got you covered.
Keep reading to discover the answers to the most commonly asked questions about online Wills Alberta.
What’s the definition of a “Last Will and Testament”?
A Will, also known as a “Last Will and Testament”, is a legally binding document that outlines your final wishes for the distribution of your assets after you die.
A Will determines:
Who will take care of your minor children or pets
Who will receive your assets
Who will manage your estate when you’re gone
Read more about Will basics here.
What’s the legal age to make a Will in Alberta?
The legal age to make a Will varies across Canada, depending on the province you live in.
If you’re 18 years or older (and of sound mind,) you’re able to make a Will in Alberta. Keep in mind, exceptions can be made for anyone in the military and anyone who is legally married or emancipated. Now, we realize most 18-year-olds aren’t thinking about their own death. After all, you’re just starting to live life! But estate planning is a great practice to start at a young age.
🙌Plus, if you make your Will with an online will company in Alberta like Epilogue, you can always log in to your dashboard and update your documents anytime, for free.
What happens if I die without a Will in Alberta?
If you die without a Will in Alberta, you die “ intestate”. That means your property and assets get distributed according to what’s called the Wills and Succession Act, which may or may not reflect your actual wishes.
Here’s what this looks like in different situations:
Spouse and kids (from the same spouse): All your assets and property automatically go to your spouse. They get everything.
Kids but no living spouse: Your property and assets are split equally among your kids. If any of your children are no longer alive when you die but THEY have kids, then their portion gets equally distributed among them.
Multiple marriages (or common-law partners): If your current and/or former partners are alive, it gets a bit more complicated, especially if you have kids with more than one partner.
Your surviving spouse/partner gets half of your estate (unless the act specifies another amount.)
The remaining assets are split equally among your surviving kids.
If any of your kids have passed away but have children, their portion is split among those grandkids.
No spouse, children, or other dependents: Your estate goes to your next-of-kin. That means either it gets split among your parents if they are still alive. If not, your estate gets divided among your siblings. If one of them is no longer alive, their portion is divided among any kids they may have. If there are no parents, siblings, nieces or nephews, then your property and assets go to your other blood relatives like grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.
No next-of-kin: Your entire estate goes to the province and they decide how to use it.
If none of these scenarios look ideal to you, you must have a Will in place.
Who will look after my kids if I die in Alberta?
When you have a Will, you get to choose who takes care of your minor children in the unfortunate event that you die. This person is called a guardian.
In some provinces, guardians hold their role for 90 days while the provincial court decides who the long-term guardian will be (more often than not, it’s the Will-appointed guardian.) But in Alberta, the person you name as guardian assumes that role permanently.
In some cases, a parent may name a second guardian to take over in the event the primary guardian can’t take on the role or isn’t available.
How to choose a guardian
Choosing a guardian for your kids is possibly one of the most difficult choices you’ll have to make when completing your Will. Ask yourself who would be up to the job both financially and emotionally as well as who would be able to raise your children the way you would want.
Consider things like:
What are their religious values and beliefs?
Do they live far away from your kids’ school and friends?
Do they have children already?
Click here for a comprehensive guide on how to choose a guardian.
What is a common-law spouse entitled to in Alberta?
The rules across Canada vary when it comes to a Common-law partner’s entitlement if there is no Will. In Alberta, if you pass away without a Will and leave a common-law partner behind, they are legally entitled to a share of your estate.
In other provinces, like Ontario, they aren’t legally entitled to anything. If you have a Will, you get to decide how much of your estate your common-law partner will get, rather than relying on the rules in the province to get it right. In short, having a Will gives you a lot more control.
Can I make an online Will in Alberta?
Absolutely! Alberta online Wills are becoming an increasingly popular option because they take the pain and price out of visiting a lawyer.
🙌 Epilogue Wills offers a best-in-class online Will service in Alberta.
Founded by two former tax and estate lawyers with over a decade of combined experience, an Epilogue Will gives you a lawyer-quality Will but without the legal fees or in-person office visits.
With Epilogue, you get:
An easy-to-use, simple platform
A personalized legal document that is based on your unique life situation
All in as little as 20 minutes
Free and unlimited updates to your Will
No hidden fees!
Are online wills legal in Alberta?
Yes, online Wills are fully legal in Alberta – as long as they meet the requirements for a legal will.
For a Will to be legal in Alberta, it must meet the following criteria:
You must be over 18 years of age and of sound mind
The Will must be printed out (not digital)
The Will must be physically signed by you
2 witnesses must also physically sign the Will
Your witnesses can be almost anyone but should not be:
Anyone who’s a beneficiary under your Will (generally family members)
The spouse/partner of any beneficiary under your Will
Anyone else who can potentially benefit under your Will (like the child of a beneficiary)
Don’t I need a lawyer to make my Will?
A lawyer isn’t required to make legally binding Wills in Canada. Anyone who needs a basic Will can quickly and easily make one using an online platform.
When should I seek legal advice?
If you have a more complex estate or situation, an online Will platform may not be right for you. We recommend talking to a professional for legal advice if any of these apply to you:
You want to exclude a spouse or child from your Will
You’ve had multiple marriages
You have a child with a disability who is receiving government benefits
You want to engage in sophisticated tax planning
How much does it cost to make a Will in Alberta?
If you go to a traditional estate planning lawyer in Alberta, you can expect to pay anywhere from $400 to several-thousand dollars (depending on the complexity) to make a Will. Plus, you’ll also have to pay every time you want to update it. That means an extra $250 an hour any time you buy a property, have another child, increase your wealth, or even adopt a pet).
BUT, if you go with an Alberta online Will service like Epilogue, it costs under $200 – one time only, no matter how many updates you make.
What is an NC8 form and do I need one?
The NC8 form is called the “Affidavit of Witness to a Will”. This is a document signed by one of your witnesses and signed in the presence of a Commissioner for Oaths or Notary Public (i.e. a lawyer). If your Will ever goes into probate (a process where your Will is proved as valid in a court of law,) having an NC8 can save your family a lot of time and legal fees.
While an NC8 is not legally required in order for your Will to be valid, we highly recommend signing one.
🙌 All Epilogue Wills include an NC8 form when you print out your documents.
What is a Personal Directive?
A Personal Directive is a legal document that appoints an individual to step into your shoes and make decisions about your personal and health care needs if you’re not capable of making those decisions for yourself. In some provinces, it’s called a Power of Attorney for Personal Care or a Health Care Directive.
This document addresses things like health care, medical needs, living arrangements, and end-of-life planning. In other provinces, this is sometimes referred to as a Power of Attorney for Personal Care.
What is an Enduring Power of Attorney?
An Enduring Power of Attorney (POA) is a document that appoints an individual to take care of making decisions about your property and finances if you become unable to manage them yourself. This includes things like general banking needs, paying bills, and managing investments.
How do I make a Will in Alberta? Let’s get started.
If you have 20 minutes, you have time to make your Will online today.
Here’s how it works:
Visit https://epiloguewills.com and click "Start My Will"
Complete the questionnaire
Generate your documents
Print and sign them according to the detailed signing instructions included
So, now you have no excuse to create this important legal document and put a future plan in place to protect your family and loved ones 😉
If you still have questions or need any help, feel free to reach out to us anytime via the live chat in the bottom right corner or send us a message and we will get back to you as soon as we can! Please note we are not able to offer legal advice.