As part of estate planning, a testator may choose to leave some of his or her assets out of the will, intending to save on taxes and to simplify probate and administration of the estate. When expectations of beneficiaries differ from what is written in the will, disputes may arise between beneficiaries as to what the testator intended with respect to ownership of certain assets. At Walsh LLP, we can represent your interests in a dispute over estate property.
Determining The Testator's Intent
When assets are substantial, a testator may take certain steps to divest property to loved ones in a way that may preserve wealth and save on taxes. One example may be to create a joint tenancy on a home. In this scenario, when the testator dies, the ownership of the home goes to the joint tenant through the right of survivorship. A parent whose spouse has passed away and intends to leave the family home to his or her child may choose a joint tenancy with that child to have the property outside of the estate.
Disputes can arise when there is disagreement between beneficiaries about what property should form part of the estate. In the joint tenancy scenario, for example, the deceased person may have intended that the child who received the asset would actually split its value and ownership with his or her other children. Or, the deceased person may have only intended it to be held jointly for convenience, to qualify for financing, or other reasons besides giving it to the other joint holder upon death.
At Walsh LLP, we are experienced estate litigators with a comprehensive knowledge of Alberta estate law. We have the capacity to use a number of methods to achieve resolution on your estate matter — from less formal means such as mediation and arbitration to traditional courtroom trials. We will work with you to find and implement the best process and obtain the best result in your case.
Legal Advice For Estate Assets In Alberta
To schedule a consultation with one of our lawyers based in Calgary or Okotoks about property held inside and outside of an estate, contact us online or call 403-267-8400 locally, 800-304-3574 toll free.