What is a Will?
A Will is a legal statement of how you want your property to be dealt with after your death. The property distributed following the instructions in a Will is called the estate. When you make a Will, you are the Testator. The person you put in charge of carrying out the wishes in your Will is called your Personal Representative.
A Will does not take effect until you die.
What is an estate?
Your estate is the property that you own at the time of your death, including land and possessions. Your estate is distributed according to the instructions in your Will.
The property in your estate is first used to pay debts and taxes, and then it is distributed in accordance with the instructions in your Will.
Some property does not form part of your estate because it does not flow through your Will. The following types of property do not form part of your estate:
- Property where the registered owners are described as joint tenants. These types of assets include land, a house or bank accounts.
- Assets for which you have designated a beneficiary other than your estate. These types of assets include investment accounts, insurance policies or pension plans.
For more information, see the following CPLEA resources:
- Making a Will booklet
- Wills checklist
- Personal Directives, Enduring Powers of Attorney and Wills video
- Being a Personal Representative booklet
- Getting a Grant of Probate or Administration in Alberta booklet (more information about probating or administering a deceased person’s estate in Alberta)
If you would like copies of any of the above booklets, you can order them for free.