We are often asked if there is a central government registry in Alberta where someone could search to determine whether a Will has been done. The simple answer is: No.
The good news is that all the registry agents in Alberta, through their central umbrella organization, have created the Alberta Virtual Vault. Through this service Albertans can register and actually store an electronic copy of their will, power of attorney and personal directive. The service also allows you to store information about your estate to make it easier for your loved ones or other representatives to look after your affairs in the event of your incapacity or death. Please visit their website to learn more about this worthwhile program.
The Virtual Vault is a voluntary service. Currently in Alberta there is no mandatory or comprehensive will registry..
The bottom line is this. When you make a Will, it is your responsibility to let those that would be affected know that you have done a Will and where you plan to store the original. We suggest that, at a minimum, you inform your Personal Representative (Executor).
If you know you are named as a Personal Representative or beneficiary in someone else’s Will, then ask them where they have stored the original.
Of course, the first and foremost priority is to ensure that you and your loved ones actually have a Will. At the least, ask the questions so you know with certainty whether a Will has been created. If the answer is no, then you can at least save a considerable amount of time and effort that would otherwise be spent looking for a Will that does not exist.
Of course, we highly recommend that everyone prepare and complete a Will. For more information about Wills, please visit the Wills section of our website. While you are there please read about Enduring Powers of Attorney and Personal Care Directives, then please contact us to book an appointment to complete your Will and any other estate documents. In most cases, we can meet with you, prepare the documents, and sign your Will all in one meeting.