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Are Wills a Matter of Public Record in Canada?

by | Aug 30, 2021 | Wills & Personal Planning

A Will is a document that specifies the distribution of a person’s estate after they die. If you do not have a Will, your estate may be distributed according to Canadian intestacy laws. In most cases, Wills are a matter of public record, and anyone can access them online using the BC Wills Registry.

This article will discuss when a Will becomes a public record and how the process works. 

When Does a Will Become Public Record?

In British Columbia, a Will becomes a matter of public record when the executor obtains a grant of probate. Probating is a process that verifies the Will according to local laws. In other words, the Will is a matter of public record after the person who wrote the Will dies, but not before. Not all Wills require probate, but in British Columbia all Wills require probate if the deceased owned land in his or her name. Many financial institutions will also require probate to release funds.

During this process, the executor will need to file the required paperwork with a local probate registry. After this, the executor is required to attend probate court. The judge inspects the authenticity of the Will and may or may not approve it. When a grant of probate has been approved, the Will is verified and made available for public viewing at the Supreme Court and the BC Wills Registry.

With a grant of probate is in place, the executor will have legal permission to carry out the contents of the Will, pay off debts, and distribute assets.

How Do You Start the Probate Process?

Being named the executor of a Will does not have to be daunting. With professional assistance, you can smoothly navigate the court process and ensure the contents of a Will are carried out in full. Zancope Notary in BC has decades of professional experience writing Wills. 

We can assist with preparing and filing your will, as well as obtaining all necessary court documents. Contact us today at (604) 260-6783 to get started.

At Zancope Notary Public, our specialty is Wills and Estate Planning documents (Representation Agreement and Power of Attorney). We are a full-service firm with two notaries full time at the office. We also offer real estate services for clients in Langley and throughout Greater Vancouver and the Fraser Valley. We can help you with buying, selling, and refinancing real estate, and provide family property transfers and independent legal advice.

If you have any questions about this article or estate planning, in general, or if you want to make an appointment with Zancope Notary Public, please contact us at (604) 260-6783.


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