Making a will has long been considered one of the most crucial parts of planning for your long-term future. It works to distribute your assets and estate to individuals chosen by you, and provides security for the ones you love. For those without major assets or children, they’re likely wondering whether they need a will at all? In this blog, we’ll examine how Wills work within BC family law, and why they’re recommended for everyone.
What Happens if I Die Without a Will?
There is law in B.C., which sets out how your estate will be distributed if you die without a will. Put simply, if you are survived by a spouse and children, your spouse will receive the first $300,000 of your estate. The remainder, if any, is split between your spouse and children, with your spouse receiving one half and the other one half, distributed equally among your children. If you are not survived by a spouse or children, your estate will go to your next closest surviving relatives, which is determined by order of priority in accordance with B.C. legislation.
You may not agree with how your estate would be distributed according to B.C. law. You can clarify what your wishes are by making a Will.
If you separated from your spouse prior to your death and did not make a Will, there may be some dispute about whether your former spouse still qualifies as a spouse. If you do not want your former spouse to receive a portion of your estate or you want to specify how much of your estate that person will receive, you can specify this in your Will.
The last thing anyone would want would be their passing to result in arguments arising between loved ones. This uncertainty highlights the fact that every adult should have a basic will created, with clear instructions for important areas such as distribution of property/assets, how the individual wishes to be buried, and who the executor is.
Can’t I Use a DIY Wills Kit?
Unfortunately, the DIY Wills kit people find online pose several challenges. First, the majority of those kits are intended for a US audience, meaning most of them don’t comply with the legal requirements for a Will in British Columbia.
Secondly, any mistakes within these comprehensive documents will result in the executor of the estate likely having to go to court and have a judge make a determination on how the error should be rectified. This would be an unhappy legal expense for the executor to have to bear…
Family Law is complex and has many aspects that need to be considered. These are rarely covered in an off-the-shelf Wills kit.
The Benefits of Working with an Estate Lawyer
At Westside Family Law, we’ve assisted countless clients in preparing their Will and other estate planning documents. We understand the process and can foresee any issues that might complicate the creation of your will. We believe the investment you make in preparing your will could result in thousands (or even tens of thousands) of dollars saved on a court application after your passing.
There’s plenty of confusing legal terminology surrounding the Wills process. Let us cut through the noise and prepare a Will that satisfies legal requirements in B.C., saves you money, and protects your long-term interests.
For further information on Wills, check out our blog detailing the changes COVID-19 has caused to the Wills process in British Columbia.