Wills & Estates

We are here as a resource when you need to plan for the future health and financial well being of your most valuable asset—your family. You can rely on the lawyers and staff at Lypkie Henderson to help you make the best decisions when it comes to the complex tax and financial considerations that go into planning for your family’s future. Whether you require a basic Will that ensures that your assets will be distributed according to your wishes or you need a complex estate plan created to be as tax-effective as possible, Lypkie Henderson is dedicated to serving the best interests of you and your family.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

We firmly believe in the tremendous value of spending time and resources on legal planning now, so you can ensure that your family will be properly taken care of when you are no longer able to make decisions that affect their future.

The lawyers at Lypkie Henderson have two generations of experience in comprehensively advising our clients in every scope of Estate Planning including the following:

  • Wills
  • Enduring Powers of Attorney
  • Prenuptial & Cohabitation Agreements
  • Trust Agreements
  • Tax Effective Estate Planning Strategies
  • Estate Litigation

Wills & Estates Resources

Find important information regarding Wills & Estates to help you plan your future.

Probate Applications

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Estate Planning

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Power of Attorney

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Personal Directive

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Dying Without a Will

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Estate Litigation

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Over 5,000 Estate Plans completed since 2001!

Your Next Steps

Please contact our Intake Specialist (Michelle) at estateinfo@lypkielaw.com or 780-669-4543.

Estate Litigation

Estate Litigation involves a legal dispute regarding an estate. These problems commonly start when someone feels they have not been fairly treated by a person’s Will or that there was some type of misconduct in the process of executing a will. When there are disagreements about how to resolve disputes over an estate, simple matters can quickly become complex.

With years of experience in navigating the issues of Estate Litigation and with a deep understanding of our clients’ needs in these matters, Lypkie Henderson regularly represents clients’ interests during what can be a stressful and difficult time.

Our lawyers can help guide you in the following areas:

  • Applications requesting an attorney to account for the handling of money under a power of attorney
  • Applications under the Dependants Relief Act seeking proper maintenance and support for a dependant
  • Defence of claims under the Dependants Relief Act
  • Claims for unjust enrichment being brought against an estate
  • Defence against claims of unjust enrichment
  • Contested applications as to who should be the administrator of an estate
  • Applications regarding the interpretations of wills
  • Applications seeking advice and directions in the administration of an estate
  • Disputes over ownership of jointly held property

Probate & Estate Administration

Probate is a process where a will is validated by a court. Although probate is not always needed, it is common in most of estates for the personal representative (executor) to apply to the court for a Grant of Probate. For example, a Grant of Probate is required in order to sell land held by the estate.

Our lawyers at Lypkie Henderson help our clients daily in applying for and obtaining Grants of Probate. We also provide ongoing advice and direction to personal representatives in handling estates.

The job of the personal representative is challenging. The main role of a personal representative involves accounting for the estate’s assets, debts, and determining who is to receive the leftover funds. However, there are a large number of additional steps involved before money can be paid to beneficiaries.

Finally, the tax consequences imposed on executors can be severe and require appropriate guidance in order to avoid personal liability. With extensive experience in estate planning and tax law, the lawyers at Lypkie Henderson can help you effectively manage the probate process.

What happens if there is no Will?

In this situation the deceased is said to have died “intestate” – which means to die without a valid will. Instead of applying for a Grant of Probate, the personal representative will apply for a Grant of Administration. The fundamental process, being the distribution of the estate assets to the rightful beneficiaries, remains the same.

Some of the matters we commonly advise executor’s on include:

  • Recording an inventory of assets
  • Having the assets properly valued, listed, and disclosed in the application for Grant of Probate
  • Accounting for changes in the value of assets
  • Transferring and selling assets as needed
  • Collecting debts and paying the bills of the estate
  • Preparing and filing income tax returns
  • Paying the medical bills and funeral expenses of the deceased
  • Distributing the remaining assets as directed under the terms of the will
  • Establishing trusts for minor beneficiaries
  • Advising executors on how to handle Estate Litigation matters that may arise

Over 1,000 Estates Administered since 2001!

Here’s what our clients have to say

Move Forward with Confidence

We know that many areas of law can be overwhelming. Whether it’s your estate, job, or business, mountains of legal documents should be the least of your worries. Let us take care of the details so you can move forward confidently into the future.

Frequently Asked Questions

Questions about Estate Planning? We will work with you to plan for the future health and financial well being of your most valuable asset – your family.

  • Can I leave my Estate to whoever I want to?

    No. The law requires individuals to honour their obligations to their spouse and any other dependants they may have. This obligation does not disappear just because a person is deceased. It is also important to remember that death triggers tax obligations which must be satisfied at that time. Therefore, only after you have satisfied your obligations to your dependants and the tax department will you be free to dispose of your remaining assets as you wish.

  • What is Probate?

    Probate is the judicial procedure by which a testamentary document is established to be the valid Will of a deceased person. If the Court is satisfied that the Will is the proper Will of the deceased, it will issue a Grant of Probate. The Grant of Probate is a court order that confirms the Will and appoints the Personal Representative. It is important because it gives the personal representative legal authority to deal with the deceased’s bank accounts, investment accounts, real estate, and other assets.

  • Is it necessary to Probate a Will?

    Unless the sums involved are small, most banking and investment companies will not transfer assets to a Personal Representative without a Grant of Probate. A Grant of Probate is also necessary to transfer land at the Land Titles Office. Therefore, obtaining a Grant of Probate is often a critical step in the administration of an Estate.

  • Do I need to be worried about Probate Fees in Alberta?

    Probate Fees are taxes which are payable before a Grant of Probate will be issued.

    There is a lot of material found online which talks about the steps to be taken to avoid Probate Fees. This is because in Ontario and British Columbia Probate Fees can be significant. In Ontario, the “Estate Administration Tax” is calculated using the following formula:

    • $5 for each $1,000, or part thereof, of the first $50,000 of the value of the estate, and
    • $15 for each $1,000, or part thereof, of the value of the estate exceeding $50,000

    The result is that for an estate valued at $500,000, the Probate Fee payable to the Ontario Government would be $7,000.

    In Alberta, the maximum Probate Fee payable is $525. Therefore, unless you own assets located outside of Alberta, there is no reason to structure your estate plan to avoid Probate Fees.

  • What is a Trust and do I need one?

    Although trusts can become very complex, at their core they involve assets which are being held by one person for the benefit of another. In estate planning, the most common example of a trust is one created for children who are minors. These trusts may also extend into the child’s adult life as well. Many parents do not want their children inheriting large sums of money until later in life and will create testamentary trusts where their children do not receive any money until they are 21, 25, or in some cases even 40 years old. Often these types of trusts have provisions enabling payments to be made for a child’s educational needs.

    Other examples include trusts created for charitable purposes and for certain business objectives, but these are less common.

  • What is Power of Attorney?

    A Power of Attorney is a legal document naming a specific person to manage a person’s property and financial affairs in the event that the person loses the capacity to manage their own affairs.

    At Lypkie Henderson, we consider the Power of Attorney, along with a Will and Personal Directive, to be part of the core set documents that make up a client’s comprehensive estate plan.

    A General Power of Attorney gives another person the authority to carry out tasks when someone is incapacitated. Generally, mail can be redirected, bills paid, credit cards paid or closed, taxes paid, property of every sort can be rented, leased or even sold. Bank accounts can be accessed to pay for anything, such as care a facility. Also, fees and insurance policies can be altered, and so on. Alternatively, with a Special Power of Attorney, authority can be limited to specific tasks; such as business functions like collecting rents, etc.

    A Power of Attorney can be temporary, in the event of assisting someone who needs to recuperate from illness. And a Power of Attorney can also be permanent, as in the event of an aging parent or spouse.

    It is important for our clients to know that the most prudent time to establish the terms of a Power of Attorney is at the same time as a Will. A person cannot and must not wait until it is too late. Once a person is deemed incapacitated by a medical professional, it is illegal to create a Power of Attorney. Please contact Lypkie Henderson to get advice concerning the creation and maintenance of a Power of Attorney and your family’s other Estate Planning needs.

  • What is a Personal Directive?

    A Personal Directive, also referred to as a Living Will, takes effect when a person suffers a debilitating illness or injury and is unable to express their wishes. It designates someone to manage non-financial matters, such as your personal care and health care choices. It also gives instructions to your family and your doctors about the type of medical care you prefer.

    At Lypkie Henderson, we consider a Personal Directive, along with a Will and the Power of Attorney, to be part of the core set documents that make up a client’s comprehensive estate plan.

    Some of the issues that can be addressed by a Personal Directive/Living Will in the event that you or a family member were incapacitated by illness or injury are:

    • Medical treatments you would or would not want.
    • Where you would like to live.
    • With whom you would like to live.
    • Choices about other personal activities; such as recreation, employment or education, etc.

    As a law firm that is committed to serving the best interests of you and your family, we feel that it is important to have a comprehensive Personal Directive in place because it takes away the burden of life-and-death decision making from your family and loved ones. Please contact the law office of Lypkie Henderson and we can help satisfy any questions you have concerning your Personal Directive/Living Will.

  • What is a Mirror Will?

    A Mirror Will is a term which refers to the situation of a couple in which their wills are practically identical. The only difference is that any designations in the husband’s will naming his wife as executor or beneficiary, for example, are reversed in the wife’s will where she will name her husband in these same clauses. All of the other provisions in the will (guardianship, trust provisions, alternative executors, etc.) are the same and the two wills are said to be “mirror images” of each other.

  • How do I know what my rights are as an Albertan employee?

    Employees have significant rights under Alberta law. These rights are found in a variety of sources, including Court decisions and within legislation. The Employment Standards Code and the Alberta Human Rights Act are a few examples of the legislation which govern the employment relationship. Given the different sources of law that apply to employment relationships, it is important to obtain legal advice to understand your rights and obligations as an employee.

  • Can I leave my Estate to whoever I want?

    No. The law requires individuals to honour their obligations to their spouse and any other dependants they may have. This obligation does not disappear just because a person is deceased. It is also important to remember that death triggers tax obligations which must be satisfied at that time. Therefore, only after you have satisfied your obligations to your dependants and the tax department will you be free to dispose of your remaining assets as you wish.

  • I may have been wrongfully dismissed, what are my next steps?

    You should seek legal advice. An employment lawyer can discuss your case, the risks associated with it, and ultimately help you to assess whether it is worth pursuing against your former employer.