Wills and Estates
Wills and estates are among our specialties at Ralh Law Firm. While death and taxes may be life’s only certainties, we can help protect your assets are protected and a smooth transition of wealth to future generations. From probate to will preparation to powers of attorney and personal care directives, we will take the utmost care in ensuring that your interests are protected for generations to come.
Why write a will?
Not writing a will is like playing the lottery with your life savings and assets. If you die without a will, your assets will be divided up using a formula outlined in the Wills and Succession Act. No consideration will be given to your wishes and the government could ultimately take over control of your assets and place them in an auction to liquidate them.
By writing a will you can ensure that:
- Your property goes where and to whom you want.
- Your estate is managed by someone you trust.
- Your family heirlooms and treasured collectibles are protected.
- You get to map out how your assets are divided up and distributed.
What is “probate”?
Probate refers to the process by which a will is authenticated by the court system. When a person dies, his or her will must go through the probate process to determine whether the will is authentic or not before the deceased person’s assets can be redistributed to the persons so designated in their will.
When a person dies without having written a will, his or her assets will be divided up using a formula outlined in the Wills and Succession Act.
What is “power of attorney”?
Power of attorney refers to legal authority conferred to another person (typically a spouse or other family member) in the person becomes seriously ill or injured and is in no position to make decisions regarding their property, finances, or personal care.
There are basically two types of power of attorney: one for personal care, (medical decisions) and one for property (i.e. land, bank accounts, bill payment, and investments).
Do I need a lawyer to write a will?
While anybody can in theory write a will, getting good legal advice is highly advisable. Inheritance law is complicated and unforeseen challenges can easily occur, particularly in instances where:
- A person has had more than one marriage in their lifetime.
- Underage children are involved.
- One or more beneficiaries are disabled.
- Beneficiaries are separated.
- A person has a large, complex estate.
- A person has properties and other assets located overseas that may be subject to different tax laws.