Lawyers William Spisso, left, and Rob Culos at Culos and Co. in Vernon can help you understand the importance of having your will in place, as well as assisting with other estate planning.

Lawyers William Spisso, left, and Rob Culos at Culos and Co. in Vernon can help you understand the importance of having your will in place, as well as assisting with other estate planning.

Estate planning now can save family stress and expense later

Vernon Lawyer Rob Culos details why it’s important to make out and sign your will

Does the government get your estate if you have no will?

The short answer is “no,” says Vernon lawyer Rob Culos. If a person dies without a will, their assets are distributed to family members according to the Wills Estates and Succession Act of BC. However, Rob points out, this can create an unwanted result for many reasons:

  1. Where there is no will, nobody is named as an executor. The person who becomes responsible for the estate is called the “Administrator.” Family members might disagree as to who should be the Administrator and the result could be unnecessary stress, drama and expense;
  2. Where a couple have children together, and one parent dies, most people would prefer that their assets go to the spouse and then to the children only after the second parent dies. When the estate is distributed pursuant to the Wills Estates and Succession Act, there is no flexibility as to how the estate is divided between the surviving spouse and the children;
  3. Where a couple have children from a previous relationship, there is no opportunity to balance the interests of the surviving spouse and one’s own children. By signing a will (and often by providing a life estate in the house to the surviving spouse) this can be easily achieved;
  4. If a person has a child with a disability (this could be a physical disability, an intellectual challenge or a legal disability owing to being under the age of 19), it is not possible to appoint a family member to be the trustee of that child’s portion. The Public Guardian and Trustee of BC will take over. The money will be safe, but the PGT charges significant fees for their services; and
  5. If you would be inclined to give gifts to your favourite charity, you must either do so while you are alive or write that into your will. If you don’t have a will, there will be no charitable gifts.

Remember, a proper Estate Plan goes beyond the last Will and Testament – it is advisable to consider both a Power of Attorney and a Representation Agreement. It is also very important to consider how assets can be transferred to a beneficiary named in the investment documents – for example, people should double check who they have named as beneficiaries of their RRSPs, their TFSAs and their Segregated Funds.

Although the government won’t get your estate if you don’t have a will, they will probably get more than their fair share, Rob says. All assets that fall into the estate are subject to probate taxes. Not all assets need to fall into the estate – they can go directly to the named beneficiary.

“As a lawyer, I enjoy helping people through the very important (and sometimes very difficult) process of estate administration,” Rob says. “However, I don’t want to be paid as much as (or more than) the beneficiaries. Having a proper Estate Plan is an excellent investment, both in financial terms and for peace of mind.”

To find out more about planning for your estate, contact Culos & Co. Law at 250-549-7168 in Vernon, or 250-546-2448 in Armstrong, or visit culoslaw.com online.

Just Posted

Vernon's spring leaf pickup program is underway. (File photo)
Vernon rakes up residents’ bagged leaves

Pickup this week, must be in clear plastic bags

Public input on the City of Enderby’s proposed 2021 budget is open until 3:30 p.m. Monday, April 19, 2021. (City of Enderby photo)
Enderby’s proposed 2021 budget open for public input

The proposed spending plan includes a 2.2 per cent tax increase; public input open until Monday

Coldstream students took over the Your Letters page in the April 9, 2021, edition of the Vernon Morning Star to offer advice to adults about COVID-19. Interior Health took notice and offered their praise. (Vernon Morning Star)
Coldstream students’ COVID advice praised by Interior Health

Grade 2 and 3 classes from Coldstream Elementary took over the Morning Star’s Letters page April 9

Members of the Okanagan Screen Arts Society received a cheque for $1,500 Thursday, April 15, 2021. The funds are to help the society’s efforts as they prepare take over operation of the Vernon Towne Cinema at the end of July. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)
Vernon dealership gives Towne Cinema a lift

Vernon Watkin Motor Ford, in business for more than 100 years, donated to the theatre with nearly as long a history

Interior Health’s overdose prevention site in Vernon is saving lives. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Vernon’s controversial overdose prevention site saving lives

Site sees fewer problems than expected, but some still want it moved

Flow Academy is located at 1511 Sutherland Avenue in Kelowna. (Michael Rodriguez - Capital News)
Black Press Media Weekly Roundup: Top headlines this week

Here’s a quick roundup of the stories that made headlines across the Okanagan, from April 11 to 16

An Extinction Rebellion Vancouver Island (XRVI) climate change event in 2019 saw a large crowd occupy the Johnson Street bridge. Black Press File Photo
‘We walk in grief for our dying world’: B.C. climate activists embark on 4-day protest

The four-day trek on foot and by ferry will see them end at the legislature

A vial of some of the first 500,000 of the two million AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine doses that Canada secured. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Carlos Osorio
Canada’s 2nd blood clot confirmed in Alberta after AstraZeneca vaccine

Thw male patient, who is in his 60s, is said to be recovering

Mervin Mascarenhas giving one of his pens to Honorary JP-MP. Premier David Burt of Bermuda. (Image: Mervin Mascarenhas)
Kelowna man who made $90K ‘Space Pen’ recognized by dignitaries, sheikhs

Mervin Mascarenhas is the first Canadian to grace the cover of Millennium Millionaire Magazine

The funeral of Britain’s Prince Philip in Windsor, England, on Saturday, April 17, 2021. Philip died April 9 at the age of 99. (Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP)
PHOTOS: Prince Philip laid to rest Saturday as sombre queen sits alone

The entire royal procession and funeral took place out of public view within the grounds of Windsor Castle

B.C. Health Minister Adrian Dix and Premier John Horgan describe vaccine rollout at the legislature, March 29, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C. health minister says delay in Moderna vaccine ‘disappointing’

‘The sooner we get vaccines in people’s arms the better, and inconsistency in delivery is a consistent problem. This is simply a reality and not an issue of blame,’ Adrian Dix said Friday

(Police handout/Kamloops RCMP)
B.C. man dies in custody awaiting trial for Valentine’s Day robbery, kidnapping spree

Robert James Rennie, who was on the Kamloops RCMP’s most wanted list, passed away at the North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Coquitlam

Photos of Vancouver Canucks players are pictured outside the closed box office of Rogers Arena in downtown Vancouver Thursday, April 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canucks to return to play Sunday versus Leafs after COVID-19 outbreak

The team has had 11 games postponed since an outbreak late last month

Old English design elements can be seen in the sign of the Summerland Farm and Garden Centre in 1993. The guidelines are no longer in place, but some downtown businesses still show aspects of the days when Summerland had a theme in place. This photo was taken by Summerland photographer Dan Dorotich. (Photo courtesy of the Summerland Museum)
Summerland’s Old English theme has been abandoned

From the 1980s until the early 2000s, Summerland had design guidelines in its downtown

Most Read