Friday, April 4, 2014

What Every Parent Needs to Know About their Will

Making a will has never been simpler. Currently, only about 49% of adult British Columbians have one but the B.C. government hopes to increase that number with its new Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) and its first-ever
Make-a-Will Week, March 31 to April 6, 2014.

When the WESA legislation comes into force on March 31, 2014, the new law will make estate planning easier for the general public to understand.

While it’s important for all adults to have a valid will, it’s particularly important for parents to make decisions about guardianship and distribution of assets that will affect their children’s immediate future, should the parents pass away.

Guardianship determines who will care for children after their parents die. In most cases, parents appoint a close family member or friend to be the guardian and, occasionally, two guardians might be appointed.

Other important decisions are needed around the division of assets, such as property and money. There are a number of options to consider and a lawyer or notary public may assist in determining the best option for your family. For example, you can leave very detailed instructions about how much and when your child should receive their inheritance, or there may be circumstances where it works best to divide assets in equal or specific amounts, knowing that the value of assets will fluctuate over the years. A trust is another option and effective when there are expensive ongoing payments that would be unreasonable for the guardian to bear.

No matter what you decide is best for you and your family, now is the perfect time to make your will. A number of organizations throughout the province are hosting activities to assist people in creating or updating their will. For information on these and other resources, visit:

Why It Matters:
•You need a will to ensure your wishes are upheld.
•Without a valid will, guardianship of your children will be up to others to determine.
•In the absence of a will, a set formula will be applied to divide your property.
•The legislation will not invalidate wills made before it comes into effect.
•Some of the laws governing the interpretation of wills may be changing so individuals who already have a will may choose to have it reviewed by a lawyer to ensure their wishes are upheld.


Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Honourable Suzanne Anton –
“As a parent, I understand how important it is to discuss guardianship and estate planning with your family. That discussion, while difficult, will ensure your loved ones are cared for after you’re gone. I encourage all British Columbians to create or update their will during our province’s first Make-a-Will Week.”

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