October 4 to 10 is Make a Will Week in British Columbia

As BC Notaries Public, one of the primary services we deliver is Will-writing—a part of personal planning and estate planning.

In the Master’s degree education program, BC Notaries are properly educated on how to properly take instructions to prepare a person’s Will. The training encompasses everything from the type of information that needs to collected and assessed, assisting with the selection of suitable executors, and sorting out various gifts to beneficiaries. A well BC Notaries can draft certain testamentary trusts.

It is estimated that only one half of the adults in British Columbia who need a Will actually have one. Make a Will week is one way we bring attention to that need and hopefully motivate people to call their local Notary Public to schedule a Will meeting to finalize this very important document.

One of the Will preparation topics your Notary is likely to cover is whether you would like to make any charitable bequests. There are many reasons to make a charitable donation, such as:

  • using your wealth to benefit those less fortunate,
  • supporting a cause you deeply believe in, and
  • creating a call-to-action for the work of an organization that touches your heart.

As well, when giving money through your Will to a registered charity, there are tax advantages available to your estate.

Over the years, I have written hundreds of charitable bequests into Wills. What I have found most surprising is how many different charitable organizations there are in Canada. If you want to make a difference in someone’s life, consider donating some money or a financial or tangible asset to support your goal— there is likely a charity that shares your passion...you can leave a bequest in your Will to that worthy organization. 

What an amazing way to give back to society and to be remembered. Please consider charitable donations when constructing your Will. One area of Will-writing that I find frustrating—as do many of my colleagues and numerous members of the public—is that Notaries are restricted to preparing only certain types of Testamentary Trusts.

That may be changing, however. The BC Notaries Association is in active conversations with the BC Government to remove the restrictions. That would be great news for all members of the public who currently ask their Notary to prepare certain Testamentary Trusts, for say an adult child, but are disappointed when they learn that Notaries are not permitted to do so under the Notaries Act.

Please stay tuned for more information! Hopefully soon, your trusted BC Notary will be able to prepare those much-needed trust provisions in your Will. The restrictions were created some 35 years ago. BC Notaries’ education and training has progressed through the Master of Arts in Applied Legal Studies degree (MA ALS), from Simon Fraser University and includes in-depth continuing education.

It is now time for the laws to progress as well. 


Daniel Boisvert is the President of the BC Notaries Association.

Posted in Personal Planning