Province Proclaims BC’s First “Make a Will Week”
to Coincide with Legislative Changes
Almost Half of BC Adults Do Not Have a Will
Vancouver, BC – Only 55% of British Columbian adults have a current and legal Will, according to a province-wide poll conducted in March 2014 by Mustel Group for The Society of Notaries Public of BC. This research coincides with the Province of BC’s proclamation that March 31 to April 6 is “Make a Will Week” to encourage more British Columbians to create a Will or bring an existing Will up-to-date.
The Mustel Group conducted an omnibus telephone poll in March 2014 among 502 adults in BC. It found that 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.
"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 signatory intended.
"I've witnessed first-hand the tremendous angst and difficulty a family experiences when there is no Will. It can take years to unravel and sort through at excessive cost to the survivors. An even greater concern is the lack of a Will leaves your children vulnerable to wait in foster care while courts decide on a suitable guardian. Contrast that to the simplicity of a Will which authorizes someone to secure your estate and fulfill distribution in the manner you wanted. The Will also empowers you to nominate someone you trust to take immediate care of your minor children," said Tammy Morin Nakashima, a Richmond Notary.
The costs of administering the estate may also be higher if a legally enforceable Will does not exist.
"A carefully planned estate can eliminate or at least reduce stress, taxes and conflict amongst loved ones of the deceased," says Laurie Salvador, a Notary in Sidney. "Without a will there can be doubt, anxiety, stress, hurt feelings, and delays in administering the estate. There is even uncertainly about what the final funeral arrangements should be and who should pay for them. The kindest thing you can do for your loved ones is to leave your affairs in good order."
Make-a-Will Week 2014 coincides with the Wills, Estate and Succession Act (WESA) which comes into effect on March 31, 2014. WESA streamlines seven acts into one, providing greater certainty for individuals who put their last wishes into writing, and clarifies the process for distributing estates where there is no Will.
The new act also:
- Allows the court to recognize a document as a Will even if it does not meet all the standards usually required to make a will;
- Helps courts ensure a deceased person’s last wishes are respected; and
- Lowers the age at which a person can make a Will to 16.
With some of the laws about interpreting Wills changing, 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.
Creating a Will takes less time than most people think and can usually be completed in one or two short meetings. A good way to start the process is to identify a legal professional in your community—someone you trust who can assist you in preparing a proper and legal Will.
"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," says Akash Sablok.
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.