Tips for Writing a Will

Posted:  Jul 22, 2020

Individuals delay writing a will for any number of reasons. Some people don’t want to think about what will happen once they’re gone; some people think they have plenty of time to write one later. However, life is unpredictable and writing a will is an important part of being an adult.

Undeniably, if you have property and valuable possessions, administering your estate without a will can become an expensive, lengthy nightmare for loved ones left behind. Furthermore, writing a will affords you the opportunity to assign a caregiver to your children if you pass too soon. A legal will can also specify the level of medical treatment you wish to receive and who has the authority to manage your legal and financial affairs. No one should leave these kinds of decisions to grieving family members to muddle through after you’re gone.

Single individuals should write a will as well—you must specify which relative, friend or charity you want to receive your assets. Certainly, the most responsible and thoughtful action you can take is to devise a will. 

Take note you must be a minimum of 19 years old to write your will in British Columbia. Writing a will does not have to be a daunting task. Ultimately, it should give you peace of mind knowing your loved ones will be looked after in the manner you desire. 

Here are 8 Tips to Writing a Will in BC:

  1. Select someone you trust to be the executor. The executor handles your affairs after you perish. Consider an alternative person should your first choice be unwilling or unable to take on the responsibility. In addition, it’s wise to discuss it with the person to ensure he or she is willing.
  2. Compose a declaration at the beginning of the document that it is your will. Ensure there is a date. 
  3. List beneficiaries (the complete names of individuals whom you wish to leave specific items). List each item clearly. For example: “I, John Smith, leave my boat to my brother Joe Smith.”
  4. Specify the remainder of your estate and who receives what. You can leave it all to one specific person or divide it among family. Be as detailed as possible to avoid future confusion and disputes.
  5. Appoint a legal guardian for underage children. Warrant the individual or individuals are prepared to take on the responsibility.
  6. A will is a legal document that must be completed and notarized. Take it to a notary; he or she will sign the document and require the signatures of two witnesses.
  7. Next, register your will at a British Columbia Vital Statistics Records Office in your community. BC is only one of two provinces in Canada that have a Will Registration process. The cost is nominal. There, you can fill out a Wills Notice that pronounces you wrote a will and where it is located. Many people place a signed will in a safety deposit box, for instance. 
  8. Store your will (as described above) and be sure to update it as circumstances change. Divorce or a death in the family can alter how you wish to divide your assets. Leave a copy with a trusted friend or a relative as backup.

One of the most important documents you can write is your will. Since laws vary from province to province, consider your province’s legislation and regulations. 

Your death will be hard on your loved ones. Leave them a well-defined legacy to help smooth the way through their grief.

Stevens and Company Law Corporation can assist with drawing up a will, appointing a power of attorney, and designating someone to make health decisions on your behalf should you become ill. Our goal is to make the process more comfortable for everyone. Relax knowing your future is safeguarded.

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