Tax & Estate Planning

When to Review Your Estate Plan

By July 24, 2020 July 30th, 2020 No Comments
Tax & Estate Planning

When to Review Your Estate Plan

While death and divorce may be clear indicators that a review of Will is needed, a variety of life events can impact your estate planning, from starting a new business venture to welcoming a new member of your family. These changes may impact not just your Will but also your Enduring Power of Attorney or Personal Directive. The following table presents a non-exhaustive list of circumstances that should prompt a review of your estate plan.

When to Review Your Will

A non-exhaustive list of circumstances that should prompt a review of your estate plan

A. Changes in Family Relations
·         Change in your marital or relationship status

In Alberta, marriage or entry into a common-law relationship will not revoke a Will. However, divorce or separation may have an unintended effect on your estate planning.

·         Changes regarding your children or grandchildren, such as:

o    Birth or adoption

o    Death

o    Marriage or entry into a common-law relationship

o    Divorce or separation

o    Addition of a stepchild (or grandchild) or foster child (or grandchild) to your family

o    Disability or illness

o    Attaining the age of majority (i.e., 18 years in Alberta)

o    Economic change (positive or negative)

o    Change in your relationship with that child (or grandchild)

o    Financial irresponsibility

B. Changes in Your Economic or Personal Conditions
·         Change in asset values (substantial increase or decrease) or change in nature of assets held

Including digital assets such as domain registrations, online businesses, cryptocurrencies, electronic files, digital media, software licenses, online service accounts, online banking accounts, social media accounts, loyalty points, etc.

·         Change in insurability for purposes of life insurance

·         Change in employment

·         Change in health

·         Change in business interests (e.g., new business venture)

·         Property acquired in a different province or outside of Canada

·         Change of residency to a different province or outside of Canada

·         Retirement

C. External Changes
·         Changes in law (e.g., provincial or federal income tax, estate, property, trust, probate, family, or dependant relief law)

·         Death, incapacity or change of residency of a personal representative (i.e., executor) or trustee named in your Will

·         Death of a beneficiary named in your Will

If any of the above events have occurred since the time your Will was originally drafted (or are to occur soon), you should consider the potential impact on your estate planning. Depending on the event and its effect, your Will may need to be amended by a Codicil or revised in its entirety. Even if no identifiable change has occurred, your intentions will likely evolve throughout your lifetime. Further, as mentioned in the above table, changes to the law may have an impact. Accordingly, we recommend reviewing your Will every year and reviewing your Will with a lawyer at least every 5 years.

No matter your personal circumstances, our Estates and Trust team at Nerland Lindsey LLP would be pleased to assist you with the estate planning process. Our team consists of both Alberta and British Columbia lawyers. If you would like to discuss this article in greater detail, or would like assistance with any estate planning matter, please contact Catie Attwood at (403) 984-0378 or


Please note that the foregoing is information for general discussion purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice to any one person or company. If the issues discussed herein affect you or your company, you are encouraged to seek proper legal advice.


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