It’s Make-a-Will Week!

April 8 to 14, 2018, 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.

Preparing a will is one of the most important things you can do for yourself and your family. While each person’s situation varies, here are the top reasons to have a will:

  1. You decide how your estate will be distributed. A will lets you determine how you would like your estate to be handled upon your death. If you die without a will, there is no guarantee that your intended desires will be carried out.
  2. You decide who will take care of your minor children. A will allows you to make an informed decision about who should look after your children. Without a will, the court will take it upon itself to choose among family members or a state-appointed guardian.
  3. You decide who will wind up the affairs of your estate. The executor you name will make sure all of your affairs are in order, including paying bills, cancelling credit cards, notifying the bank and other business/charitable establishments. Because executors play a large role in the administration of your estate, you’ll want to be sure to appoint someone who is honest, trustworthy, and organized.
  4. You can make charitable gifts. The ability to make charitable estate gifts is a good reason to have a will because it allows your legacy to live on and reflects your personal values and interests.
  5. You can minimize estate taxes. Your executor will need to pay taxes on your behalf to CRA. The value of any charitable bequests you have included in your will can offset the amount of tax payable. A financial advisor can help you structure your estate to minimize these taxes.
  6. Because you can change your mind if your life circumstances change. A good reason for having a will is that you can change it at any time while you’re still alive. Life events, such as births, deaths or divorce, can create situations where changing your will is necessary.
  7. Because tomorrow is not promised. Procrastination and the unwillingness to accept death as part of life are common reasons for not having a will. Sometimes the realization that wills are necessary comes too late – such as when an unexpected death or disability occurs. To avoid the added stress on families during an already emotional time, it may be wise to meet with a financial advisor to help you draw up an estate plan.

For more information about charitable bequests at Covenant House Vancouver, please contact Celia Campos on 604-630-1919 or