April 9 – 15, 2017 is “Make a Will Week” in British Columbia. A will is a legal instrument which sets out how your estate (including both your assets and liabilities) will be distributed upon your death. If you pass away without a validly executed will, your estate will be distributed in accordance with the default “intestacy” rules set out in Part 3 of the Wills, Estate and Succession Act of British Columbia (“WESA”).
According to a 2014 report conducted by the Mustel Group for the Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia, only 55% of adults in British Columbia have a legally valid and current will. The report found that 20% of people between the ages of 18 and 34 have a will, 51% of people between the ages of 35 and 54 have a will and 83% of people aged 55+ have a will.
If you are thinking about making a will for the first time, we recommend checking out our blog post “When Should You Make a Will?”, which can be found at: http://touchstonelawgroup.com/kelowna-lawyers/make-will/
If you have a will, we generally recommend that you review your will (and other estate planning documents) periodically to ensure that they continue to operate in a manner that reflects your testamentary wishes. Examples of material changes in your affairs that may change the operation of your will or your testamentary wishes include the: birth, or death of a person close to you, commencement or termination of a marriage-like relationship (including a common law relationship), acquisition or disposition of assets (including real estate and gifts), relocation outside of British Columbia, undertaking of any liabilities, and changes in tax, wills or estates laws.
You can learn more about Make a Will Week at: http://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/death-and-bereavement/wills-estates/make-a-will-week
Please let us know if you have any questions regarding the above or your estate planning needs. We would be happy to discuss how your estate would pass under the intestacy rules or under your current will, if any.
Author: Danielle (Dani) Brito
This information is general in nature only. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice. To learn more about your legal needs, please contact our office at (250)448-2637 or any of our lawyers practicing in the area of estate planning and estate administration at the following:Jennette Vopicka: firstname.lastname@example.org Danielle (Dani) Brito: email@example.com Jaime M. Boyle: firstname.lastname@example.org