Province Declares “Make a Will Week” to Remind BC Adults to
Legally Document their Last Wishes
Heightened Interest in End-of-Life Decisions
Triggered by Recent Court Cases
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 30, 2015
Vancouver, BC – BC Notaries support the Province of B.C.’s proclamation declaring April 6 to 12, 2015 “Make a Will Week” to encourage residents who don’t have a Will to create one to ensure their final wishes are clear and carried out after their death. In many cases, this requires the creation of a new Will and – for others – ensuring an existing Will is up-to-date and reflects current circumstances and instructions.
A survey conducted province-wide just a year ago by Mustel Group for The Society of Notaries Public of BC found that only 55% of British Columbian adults have a current and legal Will. 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.
In addition to the provincial “Make a Will Week” proclamation, April 16 is National Advance Care Planning Day, making personal planning even more timely.
“This declaration and survey are particularly relevant now, when recent court decisions related to end-of-life care have triggered questions and inquiries from people across B.C.,” said Akash Sablok, President of BC Notaries and a Notary in East Vancouver. “More and more people are concerned about ensuring their preferences for their healthcare, finances and distribution of assets are effectively captured and recorded so they can be sure their instructions will be followed when they can’t speak for themselves, either because of illness or death.”
BC Notaries have extensive training and specialization in Will preparation to help British Columbians establish well-considered and legally prepared Wills, and in preparing other Advance Care Planning documents to ensure critical care or end-of-life care instructions are legally documented and registered.
“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, and the right Advance Care Planning documents will ensure your wishes are clear to your family or healthcare providers when you can’t speak for yourself,” said Derek Smoluk, a Notary in Kamloops.
If there is no Will in place, or the Will is not properly prepared, an estate may not be distributed as the signatory intended. Also, as reported in the media recently, if your healthcare wishes are not recorded in legally valid and current documents, critical decisions could be made through the courts rather than by your trusted designate.
“Careful planning with a legal professional can eliminate or at least reduce stress, taxes and conflict amongst loved ones of those who are critically ill or deceased,” says Laurie Salvador, a Notary in Sidney. “Without these documents, there can be doubt, anxiety, hurt feelings, and delays. The kindest thing you can do for your loved ones is to have your legal affairs in good order.”
“The costs of administering the estate may also be higher if a legally enforceable Will does not exist. 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,” said Nick Aubin, a Notary in Kelowna.
Creating a Will or Advance Care Planning documents 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 or Representation Agreement, once they set their mind to it, and find the process leads to important discussions and decisions. For many clients, creating a Will creates more certainty and peace of mind for both the Will-maker and their families,” said Tiah Workman, a Notary in Nanaimo.
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 planning and key considerations.
 Margin of error: ±4.4% at 95% confidence level in the most conservative case; 6 percentage-point spread required between measures.