Everybody in the province should have a will.
The B.C. ministry of justice has proclaimed March 31 to April 6 Make a Will Week in the province, and everyone is encouraged to make a will or update wills already done up.
“People who don’t make a will lose the opportunity to choose their beneficiaries,” said Vernon lawyer Rob Culos, president of the Vernon Bar Association and a member of the Wills, Trusts and Estates sub-section of the Canadian Bar Association (B.C. branch)
“B.C. legislation (the Estate Administration Act) will decide who their heirs will be.”
Culos also pointed out that the taxman might come out ahead for those who have no wills.
“Estate planning can include the legitimate avoidance of probate fee,” he said. “The cost of a proper estate plan (which can include a will, a Power of Attorney and a Representation Agreement) is often less than the tax savings upon death.”
Culos and his many colleagues in the Wills, Trusts and Estates sub-section (who meet monthly in Kelowna) can attest to the delays, additional costs and increased stress for those loved ones left to deal with an estate where there is no will, or where the will is old.
The public is encouraged to have a look at the government website, http://www.ag.gov.bc.ca/make-a-will/.
This website has links to a variety of resources including:
– Wills and Estate Planning (Government of British Columbia);
– Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia;
– Making a Will and Estate Planning (Canadian Bar Association – British Columbia Branch);
– B.C. Notaries;
– Leave a Legacy;
– Access Pro Bono Wills Clinic;
– Wills and Estates (People’s Law School);
– Wills Registry (Vital Statistics Agency – Ministry of Health) and;
– Self-Counsel Press.