A properly prepared Will is a legal document that expresses your desires for the disposition of your Estate upon your death—allowing you to have a voice in the disposal of your assets according to your wishes and desires. It is a good idea to occasionally read through your existing Will to ensure it accurately meets your desires. You may want to change the beneficiaries of your Will if, for example, there is a birth of a child or the death of someone mentioned in your Will. If you remarry, your existing Will becomes void and must be redone.

A person who dies without a Will is said to be “intestate” resulting in the settlement of the Estate being handled by the Public Trustee. While a Public Trustee may settle the Estate, the result may not be what you would have desired.

Regardless of whether you have children or the extent of your assets, having a valid Will is the means for you to have a say in the matter.

What would happen if you passed away without having a Will in place? In British Columbia, your assets would be distributed in accordance with the Wills, Estates and Succession Act which came into force on March 31, 2014. And this could be completely contrary to how you will want your assets to be distributed.

You may be thinking that you won’t have to bother with a will if you don’t have any dependents or children and that all of your assets will automatically revert to your spouse through right of survivorship. But, what if unfortunately you and your spouse passed away at the same time? Your assets may end up with unintended beneficiaries.

We encourage you to at least seek advice from a Notary Public you can trust. We can help you settle your estate in a way you truly want it to be handled.

Why You Should Have a Will: 5 Essential Points

  • 1. Create Certainty when There Are Changes in Your Family

    Creating a Will and ensuring that all documents are up-to-date is very important for those people whose relationship status has changed. Changes can include marriage, separation, divorce, or a birth or a death in the family. A Will ensures your assets are divided or assigned just the way you currently wish them to be.
  • 2. Arrange Long-Term Care for Dependent Children

    A Will enables you to designate who would care for your dependent children if you die. While that is something most parents don’t want to have to think about, if you don’t designate custody, the decision may be made by a stranger through the BC Court system.
  • 3. Protect Your Pets

    For many British Columbians, pets are family. Most people want to ensure their pets will continue to receive loving care, as they do now, if something happens to the owner. A Will can designate those provisions.
  • 4. Reduce Conflict within the Family

    Careful planning now with a legal professional can eliminate—or at least reduce—stress, taxes, and conflict among loved ones of the deceased. Without personal planning documents, there can be doubt, anxiety, hurt feelings, and delays. The kindest thing you can do for your loved ones is to have your legal affairs in good order.
  • 5. Solidify Circumstances around Homeownership

    If you share ownership of your home with a partner or others, it’s important to understand exactly how you own the property. Shared ownership can be structured in various ways. That structure directly impacts what happens to the ownership of your home if you die. Your local BC Notary can do a title search for you and then discuss the various options available to ensure your wishes are feasible and that your Will is clear.

Advance Care Documents

In addition to a Will, many people prepare Advance Care Planning documents. If they become ill or injured and cannot speak for themselves, the documents will ensure their wishes are clear to their family and health care providers. These documents will alleviate the guesswork and take the pressure off the shoulders of family members and other loved ones.

For more information please contact us.