3 Important Things To Bring to Your Will Appointment

lawyer meeting with couple regarding legal matters

Posted by heritagelaw on Sep 3, 2020 in Blog, Wills & Estate

Are you preparing to have your will created?

Your will is an important document that ensures your property is handled according to your wishes after you pass away.

It protects your family and loved ones as well as your assets.

Because it is such an important document, it’s important to have your will created thoroughly and properly.

Our lawyers at Heritage Law have the knowledge and expertise to create a will that covers all the important aspects of your estate settlement after your death.

Before you meet with us, however, it’s important to have all of the necessary documents compiled. This will make the process easier, quickier and completely stress free.

If you’re not sure what documents to procure, here are 3 important things to bring to your will appointment:

Naming Trustees, Guardians, Appointees and Beneficiaries

Before you meet with your lawyer, you will need to determine who will be appointed to important and specific roles following your passing.

The roles include:

  • The Executor. This individual is responsible for carrying out the instructions of the will. Whomever you choose an executor must be trustworthy and capable (both physically and mentally) to carry out the task.
  • Guardians. If you have children under the age of 18, and no other surviving parent to care for them, you will have to appoint someone to take your children into their legal care.
  • Trustees. When your children are too young to legally take responsibility for their inheritance, someone must be named to manage the funds (in relation to the children) until the children are old enough.
  • Beneficiaries. While surviving spouses and children are typically assumed to be beneficiaries, it is important to name others you wish to leave any assets to. This can include family, friends or even charities.

These decisions should not be taken lightly, so it’s very important to consider your relationships with your family as well as those you wish to name.

Before you do appoint any of these positions to someone, it is advised that you speak with them first.

Being an executor or guardian is a huge undertaking, so you want to be sure that they are prepared to accept the responsibility.

Likewise, choosing beneficiaries can cause potential rifts in your family. While you can remove a beneficiary from your will upon your choosing, it can potentially cause conflict.

What to Bring to Your Will Appointment

As far as physical documentation goes, there are key pieces of information you should bring to your will appointment.

These include:

A List of Personal Assets

Ultimately, the point of a will is to distribute your personal assets to whomever you want to inherit your property.

First, you need to identify the property (or “assets”) you have and then designate the individuals you wish to receive it.

In order to properly prepare your will, your lawyer will need to access copies of any and all paperwork related to your assets. This may include:

  • Checking and savings account statements
  • Stocks and bonds
  • Retirement accounts
  • Other investments
  • Real estate deeds
  • Vehicle titles
  • Jewelry, art and other items of significant value

Anything you own, whether it has financial or emotional value, can be passed on and should be listed for your attorney.

A Record of Existing Debts

The other function of a will is to eliminate the need for your family and loved ones to take responsibility for your debts.

In order to ensure your debts are covered, you should provide records and documentation of any debts such as:

  • Car loans
  • Mortgages
  • Consumer/credit card debt
  • Medical bills
  • Student loans
  • Loans/lines of credit

Unless you have coverage for your debts, debts are paid from your assets. What remains is then given to your beneficiaries.

Personal Information

Your lawyer is obviously going to need your personal information, but they will require information about executors, beneficiaries and guardians.

When you attend your will appointment, be sure to bring with you the following information about these individuals:

  • Full names
  • Dates of birth
  • Contact information (address and telephone number)
  • Social security numbers
  • Birth certificates of children (or adoption records)

It’s important to update this information on your will if anything changes – this includes the aforementioned pieces of information as well.

Why You Need a Will

If you’re still on the fence about booking a will appointment, consider that, without a named executor, the will is passed to the province of Alberta.

From there, the Wills and Succession Act is implemented.

It contains a list of people that receive priority to apply for the chance to handle the estate. At the top of the list are surviving spouses and children.

Should a suitable person not be found, the Office of the Public Trustee may step into the role.

The consequences of this is that the estate may not be divided fairly among friends and family and your last wishes may not be met.

This can create conflict and confusion among those you have left behind. To be safe, it is always best to have a will created.

Organize Your Will Information

Before you meet with your lawyer, be sure to have all of this information ready to present. The more organized you are, the quicker your will can be completed.

Use an accordion folder to separate your documentation using the above categories.

Also try to have the most recent information you can obtain.

If you have any other questions about important will-related documents necessary for your appointment, or any questions at all about your will, feel free to contact us at Heritage Law.

We specialize in many areas of law, including estate and will planning.