How Do I Write My Own Will?
FREE TIPS on WRITING YOUR OWN WILL
(Based on WESA – BC, Canada Legislation)
This is not a legal advice, but general guidelines about writing a Will in BC, Canada.
Thinking about a Will can be emotional and maybe that is the reason we all drag to get it done. Let us make one thing very clear first. Every single person over the age of 19th living in BC, Canada should have a Will in place. If not because of your assets, but to reduce the amount of work and stress for your loved ones in case we die. We all have an “expiration date” none of us know what that is. When we are young, we think we are invincible, but life can throw the most unexpected curve balls. To ease our emotions, let us hope we are going to be writing a document that will only be used 50 years from now.
First Part of writing your Will – Who is who in the zoo ?
1) Include your full legal name (as shown on your BC Services Card) and any variations of your name registration on any documents and the date your will sign the Will. (previous marriage name, name changes)
2) Revoke prior documents
3) Appoint your executor(s) and guardian(s) for minor children, if applicable. I always like to appoint one person to be the primary executor / guardian and a back up option as well. Better to be safe!
4) Include any definitions of words you will be using in the Will. Only needed for the words that are not already defined in the legislation.
Second part of writing your Will – Who gets what
Most people when they think all they need is a simple Will, will say “Give everything to my spouse, and then to the kids equally.” If that is your case, then the drafting should be:
1) Pay all your debts
2) After the Will maker’s death everything will be transferred to the executor to be dealt with as follows: …. Now we start our instructions.
3) Give my estate to my spouse if (he/she) is alive xx days after I die. The legislation requires minimum of 5 days apart. Research shows that best would be to wait 15 days to avoid giving everything to one person and the person passing right after.
4) If my spouse is not alive on xx days, to equally divide my estate among my children who are alive xx days.
5) You can go to grandkids after
6) I always like to include a “disaster clause” that includes a destination to the estate in case of a disaster where both spouses die leaving no kids or grandkids alive.
Third part of writing your Will – powers to the executor
Include any powers you think your executor will need to manage your estate. I like to include:
1) Powers to hire help to best manage your estate
2) Powers to deal with any business you may have
3) Powers to not have to liquidate everything on your estate to the risk of losing money ?
4) Powers to pay your children’s guardian
5) Powers to deal with social media accounts
6) Powers to deal with digital currency
Signing your own Will
1) The will maker and 2 witness need to sign the Will at the same time.
2) Witnesses cannot be someone named in the Will.
There is no need to have it notarized With all being said, I would like to remind you that a Will should be a document drafted once (if properly done) and valid for many years to come, with no need to constantly be updated. It is worth the investment of having a legal professional that has this specialty draft this document for you instead of risk doing it yourself. If not done properly there is no second chance, it will only be known after the Will maker dies and the family tries to use the document. It will cost much less than you spend in coffee, or time spent researching the legislation if you divide the cost of the document for the number of years it will be standing.