If you have assets in BC—a car, condo, bank account, vacation property—or have children under the age of 19, we recommend that you prepare a Will with a legal professional in the province.
Guardianship of Your Minor Children
When you create a Will, you can designate a guardian for your minor children. This means you choose who will raise your kids if both you and your spouse die. Without a Will, the government will take your children to foster care, where they’ll stay until the courts can assign a permanent guardian. This process can span a couple of weeks. First someone has to apply to become the guardian, and then the courts go through the paperwork, investigate the applicant, and then assign permanent guardianship.
By preparing a Will, you can avoid this uncertainty. If your guardian of choice lives far away, you can also assign a temporary guardian—someone you know and trust.
Transferring Your Assets
A Will specifies how your property and possessions are distributed when you die. If you have a will, your money will be transferred to whomever you designate as a beneficiary. If you don’t have a will, the money doesn’t go to the government—it goes to your closest relatives. But by preparing a Will, you save your loved ones from the bureaucratic hassles of dividing your estate.
Appointing an Executor
In your Will, you can appoint an executor to manage the details of arranging your funeral and distributing your estate. Without a Will, someone will have to apply to the court to be named the administrator of your estate. This takes time and money.
Leaving Your Legacy
When you prepare a Will, you can set out how your estate will be distributed. You can leave money to family, as well as specific charities or non-profit organizations. A legal Will ensures that your possessions end up with people who will take care of them.
The Benefits of Working with a Notary
We’ve all seen do-it-yourself will kits online or in stores. They seem like a good deal, so why hire a notary? There is no way to test drive your Will. It comes into effect when you die. Then it’s too late to fix a mistake or account for oversight. It’s important to remember that BC’s legislation applies only to assets in BC. So If you own assets outside of the province, you need to draft a Will in that jurisdiction.
A notary has the experience, knowledge and training to prepare a Will that meets your needs. While a kit might work for your situation, it also might not. And if a Will isn’t executed properly, the document is invalid. Look for a notary with a master’s degree and training with BC’s most recent legislation, the Wills Estates and Succession Act (WESA), effective March 31, 2014.
If you want to learn more about preparing a Will, send us an email. We would be happy to answer your questions and help you get started on creating a Will that meets your needs and the needs of your family, friends and loved ones.
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