What is a Will?
A Will is created to determine what will happen to your property when you die.
Why is a Will Important?
A Will is a critical part of an estate plan. Everyone should create a Will to ensure, among other things, that:
- Your property is distributed as you desire on your death.
- Your family has the ability to be financially sound when you die.
- You provide reassurance on how things are to be dealt with when you die, and your family feels less anxiety.
- You have appointed an Executor to administer your estate, saving the cost of having a family member make an application to court to be appointed administrator of your estate.
- Your appointed executor can act immediately to make funeral arrangements, take charge of your estate and protect your possessions.
- The costs of administering your estate are reduced.
- You have given the executor sufficient authority and flexibility to administer your estate according to your wishes.
- If you have a business, the business will go to the persons you designate and how you wish the business to be dealt with.
- If you have children you can specify who will be the guardian of your children.
- You have provided for the long-term financial security of a dependent child or family member.
- You have appointed a person to be in charge of administering the financial resources on behalf of your dependent children or family members and on what terms.
Why use a lawyer to draft my Will?
It is important to use a lawyer to draft your Will to ensure the Will reflects your wishes and that the Will is legal and meets the requirements of all applicable laws. Using a do-it-yourself kit may save you a few dollars at the beginning, but may cost your estate thousands of dollars in extra administration fees and potential litigation costs.
What are the Requirements to making a Will?
In order to make a Will you should be an adult (the age of majority in B.C. is 19). You have to be mentally capable of managing your affairs. The Will should be made free from coercion or intimidation by others.
Your Will should be dated, and it should also be clear on who the executor or executors are and who the beneficiaries are. Your Will should determine who gets what. The terms of the Will can be quite general, however, you may want to choose to give specific articles to specific beneficiaries, such as who gets mother’s diamond ring.
The Will should be signed in front of two witnesses and each page should be initialed by the witnesses and yourself. The Witnesses must be adults and not beneficiaries to the estate, or a spouse of a beneficiary.
What kinds of things should be included in a Will?
A Will should have an executor, someone you trust who you appoint to be responsible for carrying out your wishes. An executor can be a family member, trusted friend, lawyer or trust company. It is important to make sure the person appointed as an executor is willing and able to act as an executor. You may also want to designate an alternative executor, should your executor predecease you or be unable or unwilling to act as an executor of your estate in the future. The executor should be informed as to the location of your Will and other important documents. Wills can also be registered with the Vital Statistics Agency. The Agency does not keep a copy of your Will, but rather, only the date of when it was made and its location.
A Will should clearly describe how your estate (i.e. your property) should be dealt with and to whom it should go and on what terms. The person receiving the property from your estate is called the beneficiary. For example, a beneficiary may receive a portion of the estate, a specific item or specific amount of money or a life interest in the assets of the estate.
It should be noted that an estate is defined as all assets (i.e. possessions) left by a person after his or her death. Property you own jointly with someone else is not included in your estate, as well as property with a named beneficiary, such as a life insurance policy, RRSPs, etc.
If you have a minor child, you may wish to appoint a guardian for your child in your Will. You may also want to make arrangements for the long-term security of your dependent child or family member in your Will.
A Will should also include the type of funeral and burial arrangements you wish.
What are the costs of drafting a Will?
The cost of drafting a Will is usually $495, however, as part of a Will & Estate package which includes a Will, Advanced Health Care Directive, Representation Agreement and Enduring Power of Attorney, the fee is only $995 for all documents plus applicable taxes. For couples with similar documentation, the fee for two Wills, two Advanced Health Care Directives, two Representation Agreements and two Enduring Powers of Attorney is $1,295 plus applicable taxes. Our hourly rate is normally $295 per hour plus applicable taxes. We do not charge for such things as photocopying, faxing, secretarial services, and long distance telephone calls, which can save you hundreds of dollars more.
Why use M.J. O’Nions Lawyer & Mediator for drafting my Will?
We have the expertise and experience to draft a comprehensive Will that meets your goals and objectives. We will do this in a cost-effective manner, while providing high quality professional service. We understand your needs and we are here to help. Just give us a call at 604-449-7779 for a free 10 minute telephone consultation so we can be of assistance.
How do I Start the process of creating my Will?
To learn more see our blog on The New Wills Estates & Succession Act “WESA,” and what it means for British Columbians.