top of page

Will & Probate Law


Are you unsure of how to proceed after being named the executor of an estate? Has a family member passed away without leaving a will? Do you have questions concerning the estate? Do you have a valid will? Do you understand the importance of an enduring power of attorney or a personal directive in the event of your incapacity? For help navigating these uncertainties during times of loss, seek out the legal advice and representation services of a wills and probate lawyer in Calgary. At First West Law, our lawyers are here to provide answers to these questions and more.


Find Help for Will & Probate Issues

Our wills and estate lawyers provide the following services:

  • Drafting a will
  • Probate
  • Enduring powers of attorney
  • Personal directives
  • Trust agreements
  • Guardianship & trusteeship
  • Challenges to wills

Don’t let the courts decide your family’s future — call the wills and probate lawyers in Calgary at First West Law LLP to request a consultation regarding your will or probate matter.

What Is a Will?

A will is a legal document that documents your wishes pertaining to the distribution of your property after your death. Creating a will gives you sole discretion over the distribution of your assets. It lets you decide how your belongings, such as cars or family heirlooms, should be distributed. If you have a business or investments, your will can direct the smooth transfer or transmission of those assets.

Why Do You Need a Will?

Creating a will can ensure that you are in control of the distribution of your assets after your death. Having a will can ensure that your family and loved ones do not have to go through unnecessary financial and emotional distress over property disputes. Relatives battling over your possessions can weaken what may have otherwise been a strong family.


If you have children who are minors, a will lets you provide for their care. If you have children from a prior marriage, even if they are adults, your will can dictate the assets they receive.


If you are charitably inclined, a will lets you direct your assets to the charity of your choice. Likewise, if you wish to leave your assets to an institution or an organization, a will can see that your wishes are carried out.


A will allows you to distribute your property, name an executor, appoint guardians for your children, forgive your debts and take other financial decisions regarding the ownership and control of your movable and immovable properties.

What Happens When You Don’t Have a Will?

If you die without a will in place, also known as “intestate”, your property and assets get divided as per Alberta’s Wills and Succession Act. This comprises the money in your bank accounts, any other securities owned by you, your movable and immovable properties and other assets. As a result, the process becomes time-consuming and expensive for your family. In such cases, the following scenarios shall take place:

  • Estate Administration Act- A probate lawyer, under the Estate Administration Act, can help family members apply for a Grant of Administration. This allows the court to appoint up to three administrators to distribute the deceased’s estate.
  • Wills and Succession Act - After this, Alberta’s Wills and Succession Act determines who can inherit your estate. From a legal perspective, it is assumed that you would have wanted your family to get your estate. The administrator has to first clear your debts and due taxes using the assets in the estate. The remaining part of the estate is given to the beneficiaries.
  • Monetary loss to beneficiaries - Generally, the cost of administering an estate without a will must be borne out of your estate. Your family and other beneficiaries get less money from the estate.
  • Security of minor children at risk - If a person dies along with their spouse without a will in place, it will be left up to the courts to decide who will look after their minor children. In the meantime, your children might be kept in the province’s foster care system.

A properly written will is crucial to safeguard the interests of your loved ones, accelerate the release of your estate and keep in check unnecessary expenses. It will also let you direct your assets to a charity, institution or an organization of your choice.

Enduring Power of Attorney & Personal Directive

Normally, when we draft a will we will also provide an enduring power of attorney (a document selecting your personal representative in the event of incapacity) and a personal directive (a set of instructions provided to your agent regarding your medical and other personal matters in the event of incapacity).

Estate Administration & Probate

Probate is the legal process of validating the will of a deceased person. The probate process protects the executor from claimants of the estate by obtaining court approval for the disposition. The executor determines the estate’s debts, assets, distributable gifts and beneficiaries, and with assistance, completes the probate process and files all tax returns of the deceased. In instances where there is a will, a named executor will usually need to apply to the Surrogate Court of Alberta to receive a formal Grant of Probate in order to proceed. The experienced wills and probate lawyers at First West Law in Calgary can help you plan your affairs so that the expense of probate may not be necessary in some cases.


For instances where there is not a valid will, your family will need to apply for a Grant of Administration. Our experienced wills and probate lawyers in Calgary will help you through the process.


Speak with competent will and probate lawyers in Calgary today.

bottom of page