A Will is one of the most important legal documents that every person should prepare. The Will specifies how your estate is to be distributed upon your death. We have spent a great deal of time and effort ensuring that we prepare Wills of the highest quality and legal certainty.
Certain provinces, including British Columbia, have a statute (law) that a testator (maker of the Will) must make adequate provision for his or her spouse and/or children. In BC, this statute is the Wills Variation Act (the Act).
When preparing your Will, we will provide estate planning advice to ensure you are compliant with the laws of the Province of British Columbia and endeavour to minimize the amount of taxes and probate fees payable upon distribution of the estate. The most important factors are that your wishes are met and the Will is prepared correctly to avoid litigation.
WILLS VARIATION ACT STATEMENT
This Statement sets out, for example, reasons for giving a greater share of your estate to one child or making a bequest to one child and not another. This Statement is placed in a sealed envelope to be opened if the Will is contested.
POWER OF ATTORNEY
We always recommend that a Power of Attorney be prepared at the time you do your Will. In some ways, it is more important than your Will. This document allows you to appoint an individual(s) or a trust company to have legal authority to handle your financial matters in the event you become mentally and/or physically incapacitated. This person (your attorney) may sign legal documents on your behalf, from signing cheques to pay your bills to the sale of property. It should be an individual that you consider extremely trustworthy, given the power you are providing them. Without a properly signed Power of Attorney, it could be very difficult and expensive to handle your affairs if you become mentally incapacitated.
Most people are less familiar with the Advance Directive (previously Living Will). An Advance Directive is a document signed by you which states whether or not you wish to be kept alive using life support if you are in a vegetative state and unable to express your wishes. This document instructs your family and your health care provider what your wishes are and alleviates the pressure on those who may have to make those difficult decisions.
At the time of the preparation of your Will, it is important to consider the best way to have your estate distributed. This may be detailed in your Will or, in order to reduce tax and probate fees, you may wish to arrange for your assets to pass outside the estate.
We will take the time to ensure that your wishes are met and that you are presented with all options of estate planning. We suggest that you consider making a bequest to your favourite charity(s).
CONTESTED WILLS AND ESTATES (Disinherited Children)
We have successfully represented clients who believed they were not receiving their fair share of their parent’s estate. We are able to represent clients outside British Columbia or Canada regarding estates within British Columbia.
It is quite common for a person to feel that they have not been properly provided for in a Will or estate distribution. It is recommended that you obtain legal advice immediately to ensure that legal proceedings, if any, are commenced within the time limits set out by law. Even if the estate appears to be equally divided, there may be other circumstances that would entitle a claimant to a larger portion of the estate.
PROBATE AND ESTATE ADMINISTRATION
If you are an executor of an estate, one of your most important tasks is to have the estate probated. This involves an application to the BC Probate Registry to approve the Will and disclosing the beneficiaries and the assets and liabilities of the estate to be distributed. We have probated many estates. One of our goals is to ensure the Probate application is completed as quickly as possible so the assets are not tied up any longer than necessary.
If there is no Will and therefore no executor appointed, or an executor wishes to step down, an administrator for the estate must be appointed. In this case, we would apply for Letters of Administration of the estate.
We would be pleased to discuss any of these matters with you.
Please call (604-270-9611) or email our office (email@example.com) for a free 30-minute consultation.
DISCLAIMER: The contents of this Website are general in nature and are not intended to provide legal advice. To obtain legal advice, you must make an appointment with the lawyer.