Who can help you
Our BC Notaries would be happy to help you with your estate planning needs:
Our BC Lawyers would be happy to help you with your estate planning needs, including trusts:
What is a Will?
Your Will tells us what to do with your property – your estate – after you die.
Wills are important, because if you don’t tell us what to do with your estate, we will use default rules to decide how your assets are divided.
These default rules – called intestacy laws – might surprise you, and not in a good way!
So what happens if I don’t have a Will?
The Wills, Estates & Succession Act tells us what to do if you haven’t made a Will.
Much depends on whether you have a spouse or children.
If you have a spouse, but no children, and you never made a Will, then your spouse will inherit your estate. That seems pretty normal, right?
If you have a spouse and children, and you never made a Will, then your estate will be divided up between your spouse and your children according to a formula. Your spouse will NOT inherit everything first. If your children are minors, this becomes particularly challenging. Imagine your spouse having to share ownership of your home and bank accounts with your minor children?!
If you don’t have a spouse, and you never made a Will, your estate is divided among your descendants – but your descendants include not only your children, but your children’s children, and so on.
So if you have no spouse, 2 children, 4 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren, your estate will be divided among all of these descendants – all 12 of them – not just your children. That may not be what you expected.
If you have a blended family, then the distribution becomes more complicated.
We would be happy to show you what these distribution schemes mean for you.
How often should I make a Will?
Wills don’t actually take effect until you die, so you can keep updating and changing your Will whenever an important event happens in your life.
A well-drafted Will should cover off enough changes in your life to last you for 5-10 years. But laws change, and so does your life.
Think of a Will like a good set of car tires, or kitchen appliances. They might work beautifully when you first get them, but over time, they might meet not current standards anymore, or do what you want, or have the latest and greatest technical components in them.
Ask us for a review session if you aren’t sure whether your Will is doing what you want anymore.
Can I cut someone out of my Will?
You can try. But there is no guarantee you will succeed at it.
We have testamentary freedom in BC – this means you are allowed to distribute your estate as you would like.
However, we also have Wills variation provisions in our laws, which allow a spouse or child to make a claim against your estate if they feel that they have not been left “adequate provision” in your estate.
Maintenance from estate
60 Despite any law or enactment to the contrary, if a will-maker dies leaving a will that does not, in the court’s opinion, make adequate provision for the proper maintenance and support of the will-maker’s spouse or children, the court may, in a proceeding by or on behalf of the spouse or children, order that the provision that it thinks adequate, just and equitable in the circumstances be made out of the will-maker’s estate for the spouse or children.
What’s the difference between a Will drawn by a BC Notary and a Will drawn by a BC Lawyer?
BC Notaries and BC Lawyers can both draft Wills.
Please let us know if you have any of the following situations happening when you call us for an appointment, as that will help us determine the best BC Notary or BC Lawyer to meet with you:
- if you are in the midst of a separation or divorce
- if you want to cut someone out of your Will
- if you have a blended family
- if you have recently been diagnosed with a life-limiting illness
- if you are experiencing any difficulties with your mental capacity
Come and see us to discuss your Will. We would be happy to explain your obligations and duties, and to help you draft a Will that will make life easier for your family after you have passed.