April 6 to 12, 2015, has been proclaimed Make-a-Will Week in British Columbia with the purpose to encourage the public to write their will or bring their existing wills up-to-date.
Many British Columbians don’t have a will – according to a 2014 report for BC Notaries, just 55 percent of us have a signed, legally valid and up-to-date will.
Having a will is critical and is the best way to ensure that the people, charities and organizations you cherish most receive the benefit of your estate. If you die without a will, your estate may not be distributed in the way you would have wished and the costs of administering your estate may also be higher.
Having a will helps ensure that important questions for parents – like who will raise your young children if both you and your spouse die – are answered.
The cost to have a will written depends on the complexity of your situation. Ask a notary or lawyer for an estimate. If your situation is straightforward, you may be able to write your own will using a kit from Self-Counsel Press. However, obtaining the assistance of a professional is always a good idea.
Wills, Estates and Succession Act
The Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) came into force on March 31, 2014.
WESA is now the sole source of legislation for wills and estates; some key features of the act include:
- Clarifying the process for distributing estates where there is no will
- Allowing the court to recognize a document as a will even if it does not meet all the standards usually required to make a will;
- Lowering the age at which a person can make a will to 16.
- WESA does not invalidate wills written before March 31, 2014. However, some of the laws about interpreting wills have changed, so individuals may wish to review their existing will with a lawyer or notary to make sure their wishes can be upheld.
For more information on the Wills, Estate and Succession Act, see the Ministry of Justice’s Legislation and Consultation pages.
For more information on leaving a gift to Covenant House Vancouver in your will please contact:
Tristan Klassen at 604-639-8919 or firstname.lastname@example.org