Inheritance Options in Alberta

young couple talks to lawyer about estate planning

Posted by Heritage Law on Feb 27, 2024 in Blog, Wills & Estate

In Alberta, preparing for inheritance involves a series of crucial steps. This ensures a smooth transition of assets and minimizes potential conflicts among beneficiaries.

Whether you’re considering early inheritance, exploring disbursement options, or seeking professional advice, understanding the intricacies of the process is essential.

Let’s take a look at the key aspects of inheritance planning in Alberta and the options available to you:

Preparing to Share an Inheritance

Inheritance planning requires careful preparation to ensure a smooth transition of assets and minimize potential conflicts among beneficiaries.

Here are the essential steps to take before sharing an inheritance:

Identify Assets and Liabilities

Before getting into the specifics of inheritance options and planning, it’s important to have a clear picture of the assets and liabilities involved.

This includes properties, investments, bank accounts, debts, and other financial obligations.

By documenting these details, you can better understand the overall value of the estate and any potential challenges that may happen during the distribution process.

Communicate Openly With Family Members

When you are planning your inheritance, it’s important to have open and transparent communication with your family members.

Discussing your intentions and involving relevant stakeholders in the decision-making process will help minimize misunderstandings and conflicts down the road.

Family meetings and conversations facilitated by a neutral third party can help address concerns and ensure everyone’s voices are heard.

Get Professional Advice

Inheritance laws and estate planning can be daunting, which is why getting professional advice is highly recommended.

An experienced Edmonton wills and estate lawyer can provide invaluable guidance that is tailored to your unique situation and needs.

They can help you draft or update your will, establish trusts, minimize tax liabilities, and address any potential legal complications.

Early Inheritance

Early inheritance can be an appealing option for some individuals, but it comes with its own set of considerations and implications.

Let’s take a look at how to navigate these challenges effectively:

Tax Implications

While the idea of receiving an early inheritance may seem appealing, it’s important that you consider the tax implications involved.

Depending on the nature of the assets transferred and the timing of the inheritance, there may be tax consequences to consider.

Family Dynamics

Early inheritance can also impact your family’s dynamic and potentially lead to tension or conflicts among beneficiaries.

It’s important to approach these discussions carefully with sensitivity and empathy. Take into account the individual needs and circumstances of each family member.

Clear communication, respect for differing opinions, and a focus on long-term harmony can help mitigate potential conflicts.

Estate Planning Implications

Early inheritance can have significant implications for your overall estate planning strategy. It’s important to review your existing estate plan and make any necessary adjustments to ensure that your wishes are still accurately reflected.

This may involve updating your will, revisiting beneficiary designations on insurance policies or retirement accounts, and considering the impact of the early inheritance on other aspects of your estate plan.

Potential Legal Complexities

In addition to tax and family considerations, early inheritance may also present legal complications that need to be addressed.

These could include challenges related to estate laws, property rights, or beneficiary designations.

A qualified legal professional can make sure your inheritance plans are legally sound.

Disbursement Options

hand holding money and using calculator

Once inheritance plans are in place, the next step is to consider how you want to distribute assets to your beneficiaries.

By understanding the benefits and considerations of each disbursement option, individuals can make informed decisions aligned with their goals and values.

Here are some common disbursement options:


One popular option for distributing assets is to establish trusts. Trusts offer flexibility and control over asset distribution, allowing you to specify how and when beneficiaries will receive their inheritance.

They can also provide protection from creditors, minimize estate taxes, and ensure that assets are managed according to your wishes even after your passing.

Charitable Givings

Another option to consider is charitable givings. By including charitable donations in your estate plan, you can support causes that are important to you while also potentially reducing estate taxes for your beneficiaries.

Charitable givings can take various forms, including setting up a charitable trust, making direct donations to charitable organizations, or including charitable bequests in your will.

Life Insurance Policies

Life insurance policies can serve as a valuable tool in estate planning. You can designate beneficiaries to receive the proceeds of the policy upon your passing.

This can provide them with financial support and security. Life insurance can be particularly useful for covering estate taxes or providing for dependents who may not be adequately provided for through other assets.

Powers of Attorney

Powers of attorney allow you to appoint someone to make financial or healthcare decisions on your behalf if you become incapacitated and unable to do so. 

By naming a trusted individual as your attorney-in-fact, you can ensure that your affairs are managed according to your wishes and minimize the need for court intervention.

Education Funds

If you have children or grandchildren, establishing education funds can be a meaningful way to support their academic goals.

You can contribute to savings plans, education trusts, or custodial accounts to help cover the costs of tuition, books, and other educational expenses.

Edmonton Wills and Estates Lawyers – Here to Help

When it comes to matters as important as inheritance planning, having the right legal guidance is crucial.

Our Edmonton wills and estates lawyers at Heritage Law have the expertise and experience to help you navigate the complexities of Alberta’s inheritance laws.

We can develop a comprehensive estate plan that reflects your wishes and protects your assets.

Whether you’re considering early inheritance, exploring disbursement options, or simply need assistance with drafting or updating your will, a knowledgeable lawyer can provide the guidance and support you need to make informed decisions and safeguard your legacy for future generations.

Get in touch today, and let’s get started!