Make a New Year’s Resolution to Create a Will in 2015
Almost Half of BC Adults Do Not Have a Will
According to BC Notaries’ Poll
December 18, 2014
Vancouver, BC – Only 55% of British Columbians have a current and legal Will, according to a province-wide poll conducted by Mustel Group for The Society of Notaries Public of BC.
“The end of the year, after visiting with family and friends during the holiday season, is a good time to reflect, take stock and make a list of things we want to do in the following year," says Wayne Braid, CEO of The Society of Notaries Public of BC. “Some of us make New Year's Resolutions and some set goals. Either way, it's the perfect time to review our financial situation and related plans.”
The Mustel Group conducted an omnibus telephone poll in March 2014 among 502 adults in BC. It found that only 20% of people in the 18-to-34 age range, 51% between 35 and 54, and 83% of individuals 55+ have a Will in place.
On March 31, 2014, the new provincial Wills, Estate and Succession Act (WESA) came into effect, streamlining seven acts into one. This provides greater certainty for individuals who put their last wishes into writing, and clarifies the process for distributing estates where there is no Will. With these changes, those who have a Will written before March 31, 2014 may wish to review it with a Notary or lawyer to make sure their wishes can be upheld.
“BC Notaries have extensive training and specialization in Will preparation to help British Columbians establish well considered and legally prepared Wills,” says Akash Sablok, President of BC Notaries and a Notary in East Vancouver. “A Will is the best way to ensure that the people, charities or non-profit organizations you care about receive the benefit of your estate.”
If there is no Will in place, or the Will is not properly prepared, an estate may not be distributed as the deceased intended.
“Creating a Will takes less time than most people think and can usually be completed in one or two short meetings,” says Daniel Boisvert, a Notary in Delta. “Most people are surprised at how easy it is to create a Will once they set their mind to it, and find the process leads to important discussions and decisions.”
“For many clients, creating a Will brings families closer and creates more certainty and peace of mind for everyone,” adds Nick Aubin, a Notary in the Okanagan.
A properly executed Will creates certainty of your intentions for the distribution of assets and personal effects and the guardianship of minor children. It designates who is responsible for carrying out your wishes (an executor) and covers other vital details such as funeral arrangements.
“There are few things more difficult for an already-grieving family than to find out their loved one died without a Will,” says Laurie Salvador, a Notary in Sidney. “A carefully planned estate can eliminate or at least reduce stress, taxes and conflict. The kindest thing you can do for your loved ones is to leave your affairs in good order.”
A good way to start the process is to identify a legal professional in your community who you trust to assist you in preparing a proper and legal Will.
To find a Notary near you, visit www.notaries.bc.ca.
The Society of Notaries Public of BC represents more than 320 highly trained Notary professionals. Most have locally owned and operated offices and all provide personal assistance to clients around the province. Individuals, families, and businesses seek the services of BC Notaries for a wide range of non-contentious legal matters, including residential and commercial real estate transfers, mortgage refinancing, Wills and advanced healthcare planning, powers of attorney, and other important documents.
The Notary’s Tradition of Trust spans 2000 years. Notaries first came to British Columbia over 100 years ago. They continue to serve their valued clients and their communities across the province. For more information, please visit www.notaries.bc.ca.
Editors: Local Notaries are available in many areas of BC to talk about the importance of Wills and what people should think about when preparing a Will.
 Margin of error: ±4.4% at 95% confidence level in the most conservative case; 6 percentage-point spread required between measures. Research was conducted in March 2014.