Wills are important documents that speak for you when you are gone.
If you don’t prepare a Will, your loved ones will have to step in and follow the statutory framework for distributing your estate. Instead, you can take control and make the final decisions by doing a Will.
A Will can dictate to the executor how your special items will be distributed. Here are a few examples:
- My client wanted to give his shoe collection to his best friend.
- A client who had an original AY Jackson painting from the Group of Seven wanted to give his oldest grandson the first right to purchase that valuable painting from the estate.
- Another client had two World Series Baseball Rings and wanted to give each ring to a different person.
Your Will can include information about how your remains will be managed. Of course, the common solutions are:
- to be buried, or
I draft Wills stating clients want the greenest, most environmentally friendly, and cost-efficient final process available.
When you don’t have a Will, you leave your loved ones guessing; and that can generate chaos and may compound grief. I tell my clients that preparing a Will is “the grown-up thing to do.”
Reviewing Your Will
Life changes—it ebbs and flows—so your Will needs to reflect your thoughts and wishes at the moment.
It is very typical to update your Will as you move through life. For example, you may need to adjust your alternate guardian to be a more suitable person as your kids get older—or you may have fallen in love and want to include your new partner in the Will.
The rule of thumb is to look at your Will every 3 to 5 years; if nothing requires a change, put the Will away and look at it again in another 3 to 5 years.
One of the newer trends I'm seeing is related to online wills. I'm receiving more and more calls from potential clients who have completed an online Will and need support executing or witnessing the document.
In my practice, I do not sign Wills I have not drafted. As BC Notaries, it is our duty to provide legal advice, guide the process to ensure the document is a true reflection of wishes, and that there is no undue influence or outside pressure.
The online platforms offer a simple method to complete a Will for those who are tech-savvy. Those online programs, however, do not guide the Will-maker or explain the pitfalls of drafting a Will, such as the discussion around excluding a child from a Will or the options available for a child with a disability.
BC Notaries are thoughtful individuals who are highly trained. They take the time to ensure you understand the entire process; explain the various options available to you, and offer you the time to
ponder and reflect before signing your Will.
I recommend you call your local BC Notary to set up an appointment to either review your current Will or start the process to draft a new one.
Notary Public Morrie Baillie, practising for almost 10 years, focuses exclusively on Personal Planning. She is one of the statutory examiners for new BC Notaries (Personal Planning), is a committee member for the British Columbia Law Institute (Undue Influence Committee) and Vice President of the BC Notary Association. Morrie has recently joined the dynamic team at Salvador Davis, serving Sidney-by-The-Sea and surrounding areas.
Posted in Personal Planning