Estate Planning Red Deer & Stettler | Schnell Hardy Jones LLP

estate planning red deer

Understanding What an Estate Planning Lawyer Does

People often assume that estate planning is only for the very wealthy or high-net worth individuals. Others assume that estate planning simply means writing a will. In fact, estate planning can benefit everyone, regardless of the size of their estate or the property they may own. And while it is certainly true that the cornerstone of an estate plan is a well-written, enforceable will that clearly reflects your wishes, there are many other important aspects of estate planning to consider. Read on for an overview of what an estate planning lawyer does and to learn some the specific ways that a lawyer can assist you with your estate planning needs.

What an estate planning lawyer does

Lawyers who specialize in estate planning (Red Deer and Stettler lawyers at Schnell Hardy LLP do) have a thorough, up-to-date understanding of provincial and federal laws that relate to a broad range of subjects, including wills, estates, trusts, taxes, family law, elder law and substitute decision-making in the event of incapacity. Here is the essence of what an estate planning lawyer does:

  1. Consults with you to gather information and understand your needs and wishes.
  1. Explains the options and the impact they may have (for example, the most cost-effective ways to administer your estate and minimize taxes on your death).
  1. Advises you on the best strategy to achieve your estate planning goals
  1. Uses their expertise to prepare effective, legally binding documents that will carry out your estate plan.

Specific ways a lawyer can assist you with estate planning 

Our Red Deer and Stettler lawyers at Schnell Hardy LLP can help you with all aspects of your estate plan, which depending on your needs, may include:

• Preparing a clear, valid will that operates to pass property to your loved ones in the way that you wish, and that avoids ambiguities or omissions that can lead to disputes after your death.

• Updating your will or other elements of your estate plan after a major life event such as the birth of a child, marriage, divorce, death of a loved one, or change in your financial circumstances.

• Guiding you in the process of selecting personal representatives (formerly known as executor(s)) of your estate.

• Helping you create a plan for the care and guardianship of your minor children or adult dependent children, including setting up trusts to ensure their needs are met.

• Advising you on options to reduce or eliminate probate fees and estate tax payable on your death.

• Preparing an Enduring Power of Attorney which appoints a person or persons to manage your financial affairs and property in the event that you lose capacity to do so.

• Preparing a Personal Directive which appoints a person or persons to make personal decisions on your behalf (such as decisions with respect to medical treatment) if you become incapable of making those decisions for yourself.

• Discussing options for transferring property during your lifetime (inter vivos trusts, joint ownership of property or bank accounts, etc.) and explaining the risks and benefits (g., avoiding probate vs. maintaining control of your property, and ensuring your property is protected from your beneficiaries’ creditors during your lifetime).

• Utilizing life estates or trusts to manage how, when, and by whom certain inheritances can be used after you die (this may be particularly important if an intended beneficiary is young, has a disability, or you are providing for a spouse of a second marriage/relationship while providing for children as well)

• Developing a succession plan for a family-owned business.

• Structuring corporations, shares, and investments to protect and preserve their value and ensure they are disbursed as you intended on your death in the most tax efficient manner possible in keeping with your intentions.

• Advising you on cross-border estate planning issues (for example, with respect to property held in the USA).

Probate and estate administration services are also often offered by lawyers who specialize in estate planning. Red Deer and Stettler’s Schnell Hardy Jones LLP provides advice and direction to executors and helps ensure the timely distribution of a loved one’s estate.

Contact our team of trusted Red Deer and Stettler estate planning lawyers 

Whether your needs are simple or complex, our trusted team can help you by providing clear legal advice and customized options at any stage of wills and estate planning. Whether you are getting started on your will for the first time or you want to update your existing estate planning documents, contact us today at 1-888-342-7405 or by email at With office appointments available in Sylvan Lake, Stettler, and Red Deer, estate planning lawyers at Schnell Hardy Jones LLP have the knowledge and experience to help you make informed decisions and simplify the estate planning process, giving you peace of mind that your assets will be managed, your wishes carried out, and your loved ones taken care of.