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The advantage of life in the 21st century is that we live longer and enjoy our lives more than humankind ever did before. When all goes well in life, it is easy to forget that it is definite. Unfortunately, life can be cut short due to numerous tragic events. This is the reason why thinking about one own’s death and preparing for it, is important.
To assist with preparations, Kelowna wills and estates lawyer is one of the venues where to turn for help while preparing one of the most important documents which is going to remain after the person has left this world. This document is called the will. Here are some of the key information concerning the its definition, its legal status according to the law of British Columbia and some of the advantages of preparing it in advance.
What is the will?
It is one of the legally regulated acquisitions in case of death. It is a revocable one-sided manifestation of the personal wishes by which the testator, in the event of his death, leaves at least one share of the inheritance or even a legacy to one or more persons.
Some people opt for writing this important legal document by their own hand. This is called a holographic will. There is also an option of an allographic one, which means the one written by someone else. For such a document to be valid, it needs to bear signature of two witnesses. The safest way of acquiring the document, however, is to have it written by a notarial deed. The original, written by the notary or an estates lawyer remains in the professional hands, with an electronic record of legal proceedings always available for reference. Having it by a legal professional as opposed to other forms gives the assurance that the testator’s possessional wishes are dealt with as the acquirer intended and according to his wishes.
Will regulations in British Columbia
When written down, it takes precedence over inheritance by the law. If the testator writes a valid document and takes in all his inheritance, there is a guarantee of no inheritance by law. In this way, the testator may prevent property disputes between the heirs after his death.
In Canada, every province has its regulations concerning the will. In British Columbia, this is taken care by WESA (Wills, Estates and Succession Act of British Columbia). The full version of this Act: http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/09013_01
It is a united piece of legislation that is valid since 2009 when it replaced five separate acts regulating the wills.
Why it is a good idea to have a will
A visit to a lawyer to write up a legal document takes a couple of hours, at maximum. It can, however, save a lot of troubles and money in the future. Having a written will means having control over one’s property and money in case of the sudden death. Also, it provides a psychological relief in the sense that matters are taken care of in case of any tragic event.
On the other hand, not preparing this document means the loved ones end up having more difficult and more expensive steps to take to get the paperwork done. Also, the distribution of the property and money then has to adhere to the law of British Columbia. Without a will, the owner loses his right of administering his own affairs.
There are other consequences of failing to write the will. Not only is then the property to be dealt with according to the law, but the court receives the right to appoint a person for any dealings with the property. Such a person is called an administrator.
Also, in case of minors left behind, the court decides who is going to look after them. In this case, any inheritance entitled to the minors according to the law must be paid to Public Guardian and Trustee of British Columbia and it is only to be released when the minor reaches 19 years of age. Read more about this issue.
Some might be concerned about writing up the document and not be able to amend it in case of life events leading to changes in family status or relationships. However, this fear is based on an incorrect assumption that once written, this document cannot be changed anymore. Contrary to this belief, it is revocable. The testator has the right to cancel it at any time. In fact, it can be canceled either by acquiring a new one or by withdrawing it altogether.