Here is What You Need to Know…
Next week (April 8th to April 14th) is Make a Will Week here in British Columbia. Make a Will Week is an initiative that is supported by the government of British Columbia, encouraging the public to either create a Will or to review and update an existing legal Will.
What a Will Provides
A Will is your opportunity to dictate what happens to the things that you own when you pass away, while providing direction as to who will care for your minor children if you have any. Without a Will, your estate will be distributed according to the Wills, Estates and Succession Act, which may not coincide with your wishes. Your minor children will require a court-appointed guardian, which one of our Partners, Kate Snowsell recently touched on in her article titled “What Happens To My Children If I Pass Away?”. If you do not have a Will, your estate will likely be more expensive, time-consuming, and stressful for your family to administer in your absence.
If you already have a Will, Make a Will Week is a great reminder to review whether or not your Will is still appropriate for your current situation. Changes to your financial position or assets, or in relationships between you and your beneficiaries, executors or guardians, may warrant changes to your Will. For example, if your children were minors when your Will was originally drafted, perhaps as adults you would like to give them more responsibility and name them as executor, or as guardian to your other, still minor children.
It is important to consult with a lawyer to ensure that your Will, and any changes to your Will, are going to be legally effective. Our experienced lawyers know the specific requirements that need to be met in order to create a valid Will or make changes to an existing one. In addition, our team is equipped to consider your estate plan as a whole, and may be able to present opportunities to organize your assets and affairs in a way that will reduce taxation and probate fees, and more effectively transition your wealth to your intended beneficiaries.
Make a Will Week is also a good time to consider whether you have appropriate Incapacity Planning in place. Incapacity Planning documents include Powers of Attorney (POAs) and Representation Agreements (RAs). These documents allow you to appoint trusted individuals to help manage your financial affairs (POAs) and your personal and medical affairs (RAs) in the event you cannot do so for yourself. Our Estate Planning lawyers are happy to speak with you about these documents in detail as well.
In terms of fees, we offer competitive rates that reflect the time and skill our lawyers put in to your estate planning. We would be happy to discuss our Will creation strategies with you as soon as you are ready to get started on your estate planning journey. If you would like peace of mind knowing that your Will is legally valid and that your assets will be distributed according to your true wishes, contact one of the lawyers in our Wills and Estate Planning group right away.
Happy “Make a Will Week” from Doak Shirreff!