The idea of court is stressful, especially when all you’ve seen are legal movies and T.V. shows, but sometimes court is hard to avoid. Here are somethings to remember:
Allison Ross is an Associate with Rowanoak Law Office LLP who also acts as Duty counsel
Who do you know who says they should have a Will but don’t know where to start? People share “horror” stories people they know who had to deal with a family member or a friend who died without a Will and the problems that arose.
The best starting point is to get advice from a lawyer who works with you to ensure the necessities for a valid and enforceable Will are met. The information below is not intended to replace the advice you get from a lawyer and provides areas you need to be aware of when seeking advice.
The following are some major categories to be considered in making your Will:
Specific Requirements in making the Will document itself. The Alberta Wills and Succession Act provides specifics on witnesses, signing and format of the document. For example, there must two witnesses in the same room who sign at the same time and there are restrictions on who can be a witness. Alterations or marks on a Will can invalidate it. There are exceptions to the specific requirements, one being a holographic Will.
Executor (or executrix in the feminine form) is the person who administers your estate to ensure your wishes set out in your will are carried out. The Executor has the responsibility to:
This is only a short list of duties and responsibilities. You will want to select an Executor who will be able to manage these tasks. It is also advisable to pick an alternate in case your Executor is unable to act.
Gifts, bequests, beneficiaries etc. In a nutshell, who, what and when.
Other considerations to name a few:
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.
Settlement negotiations entail correspondence between the parties, or their counsel, that begins with discussing each issue and leads to various proposals or offers, and counter-offers, from each party with a view towards resolving matters by way of a settlement agreement.
The goal is for each party to propose an outcome or solution that both parties could reasonably live with and then put pen to paper to consolidate their agreement. The agreement would then usually take the form of the often referred to Separation Agreement, or a Consent Order to be filed in court if a court file is already open for the matter. A key note is that settlement often represents a compromise, so each party usually has to demonstrate a degree of flexibility in order to arrive at a resolution that both parties can walk away with.
The idea here is that it is better to have control over the outcome instead of handing your personal family matter to a Judge to decide, and moreover, the huge cost savings from avoiding formal litigation typically makes up for any financial compromise that may have resulted in (for example – if we were dealing with a property matter or arrears) a lesser payout than you were originally expecting.
Negotiations can also be conducted through the collaborative family law process. If you would like more information on this process, please visit: https://collaborativepractice.ca/
Jenna Walsh is an Associate Lawyer at Rowanoak Law Office LLP.
If you are looking for some information relating to the justice system, you may be able to find some information on the Alberta Courts website at https://albertacourts.ca/ which provides some useful information relating to all three levels of Court and is a good way to learn more.
In particular, the website is a good place to find the forms you may need, court locations and contact information, important procedural information and the latest announcements. It is a good first step in getting information with respect to your matter.
Chris is an Associate Lawyer with Rowanoak Law Office LLP.