While there were over 14 million married Canadians in 2021, nearly 140,000 were separated. A common concern for those getting married or divorced is how these processes affect their will.
So how does marriage or divorce affect your will in Alberta? What are some things you should know before these major life events?
That's what we're here to look at today. Read on to find out some key details about your will preparation for your upcoming marriage or divorce.
THE WILLS AND SUCCESSION ACT
The key law you need to know for Alberta estate planning is the Wills and Succession Act. This law was passed in 2012 and determines guidelines for succession and estates for Alberta residents.
First, let's break down how this law affects those with wills that are slated to get married. Under the Wills and Succession Act, a new marriage or interdependent partnerships between adults do not revoke wills.
For Separation or Divorce
The Wills and Succession Act assume that someone's ex-spouse or partner survived the original willmaker. The willmaker can change this, but the Act presumes as such.
As such, a former spouse or partner is ineligible to receive gifts or serve as an executor.
What if an ex-partner dies without leaving a will? If they've been separated for over two years, that means the ex-partner is disinherited.
Let's look at an example of this. Let's say the wife dies, and it's revealed that she and her husband have been separated but not divorced for three years.
If she had written an old will that leaves her estate to her husband, then he would be entitled to those assets. If no will was written, the husband would not be able to receive anything.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO BEFORE GETTING MARRIED OR DIVORCED?
What does this all mean for Alberta residents currently undergoing will preparation? If you're getting married, you need to revisit your old will and look for any areas where you want to make changes.
Since the Wills and Succession Act expresses that a new marriage or partnership doesn't revoke an old will, there may not be any changes necessary. You can also pen an entirely new will or update an old one.
Make sure that all parties are aware of this before finalizing a divorce or marriage. If you're in any way unsure of how some of these technicalities work, it's best to consult a wills and estate lawyer to iron out the details.
UNDERSTANDING WILL PREPARATION IN ALBERTA
Whether you're getting married or divorced, will writing becomes a big part of the process. Use this guide to help you understand some of the key details on how a divorce or marriage affects your will.
If you're looking for a reliable lawyer to help with your Alberta wills and estate planning, Dukeshire Law Office is here to help. We'll provide you with the right services to make sure you and your family are on the right track. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our NW Calgary office.