April 9 to 15, 2017 is Make-a-Will Week in British Columbia. Its purpose is to encourage the public to write their will or bring an existing will up-to-date.
If you don’t have a will, you’re not alone. According to a 2014 report for BC Notaries, just 55 per cent of British Columbians have a signed, legally valid and up-to-date will.
A will is the best way to ensure that the people, charities and organizations you cherish most receive the benefit of your estate.
If you die without a will, your estate may not be distributed in the way you would have wished and the costs of administering your estate may also be higher.
Having a will helps ensure that important questions for parents – like who will raise your young children if both you and your spouse die – are answered.
Visit the Government of BC’s Wills & Estate webpage for some great resources to help you get started on your will.
Our Top 10 Tips When Making a Will: Your Essential Checklist
1. Plan early – you’re never too young to make a will.
2. Seek the guidance and advice of qualified financial and legal advisors.
3. In consultation with your financial and legal advisors, be sure to effectively provide for an efficient disposition of your assets to all your intended beneficiaries, while maximizing tax benefits.
4. Choose an executor (and an alternate executor) wisely, since the executor will be acting on your behalf and carrying out your wishes after your death. Make sure to speak with your chosen executor (s) to confirm their willingness to accept this important role.
5. If you have minor children, carefully select a guardian/trustee.
6. Ensure the appropriate disposition of personal effects, especially those with sentimental value. In fact, you may wish to dispose of these items before death.
7. Clearly outline your funeral arrangements.
8. Inform someone (preferably the named executor) of the location of your will and other important documents.
9. Consider a legacy gift to your favorite charity … Langley Memorial Hospital Foundation perhaps?
10. Review your will regularly (every 3-5 years).
While it’s unlikely you’ll ever enjoy writing your will, with a little preparation the process can be less painful and expensive than you might think. By putting aside a few minutes to think over and discuss the following issues you’ll spend less time with your lawyer and be happier with the final result. For more information click here