Do you need a will?

Wills, Enduring Powers of Attorney & Personal Directives

April 30, 2020

Hello. My name is Randy Simpson.

As a lawyer, people ask me “who needs a Will?” My answer: “almost everyone!” The Government of Alberta recommends that every person over the age of 18 years have a Will, an Enduring Power of Attorney and a Personal Directive.

You need a Will If you have people or property in your life. A Will can help relieve stress from your family and loved ones during a time of grief, and can ensure your wishes are followed.

Without a Will, a friend or family member must apply to the Court to manage your estate. If no one volunteers, a government official may be appointed to distribute what you own according. The people you love may not receive the benefit of your estate.

Once you have a Will, review it regularly and after life changing events, like marriage, divorce or having children, to make sure it still reflects your wishes.

A Will provides for the management of your estate when you die. What if you are alive but unable to manage your affairs? An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to appoint a trusted friend or family member to make financial decisions for you if you are no longer capable.

If you do not have an Enduring Power of Attorney, a friend or family member may have to apply to court to be appointed your trustee. This takes time and money

A Personal Directive allows someone you trust to make non-financial decisions for you if your physical or mental health prevents you from acting. In Alberta, a Personal Directive takes the place of what is called a “living Will” in other places.

A Personal Directive allows you to provide written instructions for your care. If you don’t have a Personal Directive and you are unable to care for yourself, someone may be appointed to make decisions for you. That person may not know how you would like to be cared for.

We encourage you to take the time to think about your future and to protect your family and yourself. If you have questions about a Will, Enduring Power of Attorney or a Personal Directive, talk to a lawyer.