Make a Will Week highlights new electronic filing options

October 3, 2021 at 8:08 am  BC, News, Politics

The Province is proclaiming Oct. 3-9, 2021, as Make a Will Week,  reminding British Columbians to write their will or bring an existing one up to date.

“Making a will and keeping it current is important so your estate is distributed as you wish, and the people you love and the charities and organizations you care about are provided for, but nearly two-thirds of parents in B.C. with children under 18 don’t have a will,” said David Eby, Attorney General. “That’s why the Province has proclaimed Make a Will Week and encourages all British Columbians to take the time to think about how they will make their wishes known even after they are gone.”

To further encourage people to write and update their will, as of Dec. 1, 2021, people can also create electronic wills, which ideally should be saved in PDF format. This means, in addition to paper wills, people will be able to use technology to sign and store a will, making it easier and more convenient to make a will, particularly if it is witnessed remotely.

This builds on legislation introduced in 2020 that allows British Columbians to remotely witness physical wills during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote witnessing is especially beneficial for those who have mobility challenges, are quarantined or live in rural and remote communities.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has brought into focus many things. One of those is the importance of having one’s personal affairs in order. Personal planning is often a difficult conversation to have, yet it is so critically important,” said John Mayr, executive director, Society of Notaries Public of British Columbia. “Citizens have many options for creating a will. For those with a simple estate, there are self-help tools available. However, it is always a good idea to obtain legal advice when considering your will. Members of the Society of Notaries Public are highly trained legal professionals with the knowledge to give legal advice. If your needs are complex and include matters that are beyond the legal scope of practice of a member of the society, they can refer you to a lawyer. Having a will protects your legacy and your beneficiaries.”

When someone dies without a will, their estate is divided according to legislation and may not be distributed in the way they would have wished. This may potentially delay important decisions, like who will raise their children, and may require a court application. This is why it is important to have a will.

It is also important to regularly update a will to adjust with significant life changes, such as a marriage, the birth of a child or the purchase of a home.

A notary or lawyer can help get a will started and provide an estimate for the cost of writing one. Kits are also available for people to make their own will, but it is advisable to get legal advice.

Learn More:

To learn more about Make a Will Week, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/life-events/death/wills-estates/make-a-will-week

To learn more about wills and estate planning, visit:
https://www2.gov.bc.ca/gov/content/family-social-supports/seniors/financial-legal-matters/wills-and-estate-planning

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