It goes without saying that laws can be wordy and complicated at times, even for lawyers! For example, Canada\u2019s Income Tax Act is over 3,000 pages long, and that\u2019s just one law out of thousands that apply to our daily lives. That\u2019s why most lawyers specialize in one or two particular areas of law, for example, Family Law, Criminal Law, Securities Law, or Real Estate Law. Wills & Estates Lawyers in Alberta must be familiar with 6 main pieces of legislation. There are other laws that apply to Wills & Estates practice as well, and lawyers must also keep themselves up-to-date on case law in their practice area (written court decisions). However, the 6 legislative documents covered in this article provide much of the legal framework that guides Alberta\u2019s Wills & Estates lawyers. This article attempts to keep things interesting, while still providing you with a solid summary of each of the 6 laws that guide Wills & Estates practice in Alberta. Why Should I Care About Wills & Estates Laws? Whether you\u2019re an Estate Executor, the beneficiary of an Estate, the loved one of a recently deceased individual, have a Will or are considering getting a Will, having a baseline understanding of Alberta\u2019s Wills and Estates laws is helpful. Of course, it\u2019s your Wills & Estates lawyer\u2019s job to know the ins and outs of the law, and to advise you of which laws apply to you, however, it\u2019s helpful to have some background knowledge about the Wills & Estates laws that may affect you. What are the Different Types of Wills & Estates Laws in Alberta? With some overlap, Wills & Estates Law can be broken down into 3 main categories: Estate Planning, Estate Administration, and Estate Litigation. The lawyers at West Legal practice all 3 types of Wills & Estates Law, however, this article focuses on Estate Planning and Estate Administration laws, as Estate Litigation is a complex topic that deserves its own article. Here\u2019s a brief summary of each of the 3 types of Wills & Estates Law: \tEstate Planning laws are, as the name suggests, relevant to your current Estate Plan\u2014an effective Estate Plan is based on 3 foundational documents: A Will, Enduring Power of Attorney, and Personal Directive. \tEstate Administration law is applicable when someone passes away. An Executor is tasked with distributing the deceased\u2019s Estate and may have to apply for a Grant of Administration or Probate as part of the Estate Administration process. \tEstate Litigation law is practiced when there\u2019s a challenge to an Estate. Oftentimes, Estate litigation matters end up in court, where a judge or justice decides the matter in favour of the Estate or the challenging party. Estate Planning Laws While they affect all aspects of Wills & Estates law, the following 3 pieces of legislation are particularly applicable to Estate Planning. You can find any of these laws through a Google search if you\u2019d like to see the full text of each document. \t The Wills and Succession Act This Act covers the following aspects of Wills and Estates Law in Alberta: \tWhat happens if 2 or more individuals die at the same time? \tThe legal effects of a Will\u2014in other words, what does a Will do? \tWhat happens if a beneficiary dies before the Will-maker? \tWho can make a Will; \tThe requirements of a valid Will; \tFormal Wills; \tHolograph Wills; \tMilitary Wills; \tWho is eligible to witness a Will; \tTypes of gifts that are void or not enforced; \tMaking changes to, or altering a Will; \tRevoking a Will; \tGifts to ex-spouses or former partners; \tInterpretation of a Will; \tReferences to children and descendants in a Will; \tCharitable gifts; \tThe Court\u2019s authority regarding Wills; and \tMany, many other relevant Wills & Estates law topics. \t The Personal Directives Act Topics covered by the Personal Directives Act include: \tWhat\u2019s a Personal Directive? \tWho can make a Personal Directive? \tWho can be appointed in a Personal Directive? \tWhat happens if someone regains capacity? \tWhat decisions can be made pursuant to a Personal Directive? \tThe requirements of a Personal Directive; \tPersonal Directives made outside of Alberta; \tRevoking a Personal Directive; \tGiving effect to a Personal Directive; \tRecordkeeping when acting pursuant to a Personal Directive; \tFinancial compensation; and \tEmergency medical services. \t The Powers of Attorney Act This Act addresses the following topics: \tWhat is an Enduring Power of Attorney? \tWhen does a Power of Attorney come into effect? \tMental Incapacity; \tThe Attorney\u2019s authority to act; \tThe Attorney\u2019s duty to act; \tCourt applications; \tAccounting; \tTerminating a Power of Attorney; \tRenouncing Power of Attorney; and \tOther legal topics that are relevant to Powers of Attorney. Estate Administration Laws Like the Estate Planning laws, you\u2019re able to access these 3 pieces of legislation on the internet at no cost. Typically, a Google search of the legislation\u2019s title will yield results. \t The Estate Administration Act The Estate Administration Act covers the following matters: \tThe Executor\u2019s duties; \tThe disposition of a deceased\u2019s remains; \tThe core tasks of an Executor; \tAn Executor\u2019s failure to perform core tasks; \tWhich notices an Executor must serve, and on whom they must serve them; \tGrants of Probate and other types of grants; \tEstate obligations and debts; \tDistribution of Estate property; \tAccounting requirements; \tLawyer\u2019s fees; \tRenouncing Executorship; \tApplications for Court direction; and \tMany other legal topics regarding Estate Administration. \t The Surrogate Rules The Surrogate Rules are actually a regulation to another piece of legislation, the Alberta Rules of Court. The Rules of Court regulate court proceedings of all kinds in Alberta, however, the Surrogate Rules deal specifically with probate applications, and other court applications that are applicable to Wills & Estates law. Probate applications must strictly adhere to the requirements of the Surrogate Rules. If you\u2019re an Estate Executor, the Wills & Estates team at West Legal can help you navigate the intricacies of the Surrogate Rules. \t The Trustee Act The Trustee Act is a lengthy piece of legislation and many of its provisions don\u2019t specifically apply to Wills & Estates law. However, Wills often create trusts, called testamentary trusts, whereby the Executor is required to hold funds in trust on behalf of a beneficiary of the deceased\u2019s Estate. When managing a testamentary trust, an Executor must meet the requirements of the Trustee Act. If you\u2019re an Estate Executor, an Alberta Wills & Estates lawyer can help you determine what your rights and responsibilities are pursuant to the Trustee Act. Which Wills & Estates Laws Apply to Me? The experienced Wills & Estates lawyers at West Legal can help you better understand how Alberta\u2019s Wills & Estates laws apply to your situation. If you\u2019re an Estate Executor, or if you\u2019d like to create your own Estate Plan, contact us today for a free-of-charge, no-obligation consultation with one of our Wills & Estates lawyers. firstname.lastname@example.org or 403-723-0175 to get started.