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Wills and estate planning in British Columbia

Whether you have a large and complicated estate or one with more modest assets, you may want to further your estate planning in a fundamental way by drafting a will. In doing so, you can dictate the terms of your estate's eventual fate and rest at ease knowing those terms will be carried out according to the exact language of the legal document.

The role of a legal representative

The legal representative of a decedent is the individual either appointed by the court as the administrator of the estate or named executor of the will in British Columbia and other provinces. In Quebec, this role applies to the person named liquidator of the estate as well. A representative has certain legal responsibilities to fulfill, though the legal representative may name a second person as authorized representative in their place by filing Form T1013 with the Canada Revenue Agency.

Is an oral will valid in British Columbia?

In British Columbia a will that is not in writing and is not witnessed by two people may not be accepted as valid. The requirement to have the will in writing increases the odds of determining the identity of the person who created the will. Knowing who wrote the will makes it easier to determine what his or her final wishes were.

Unclaimed gifts and beneficiaries who cannot be located

If an individual living in British Columbia has been named in a will as a beneficiary but is unable to be located, there are several steps that must be taken. First, the personal representative of the individual who wrote the will must spend 12 months attempting to locate the beneficiary. If the personal representative is unsuccessful, that individual is then permitted to sell the property and deduct the amount that was spent on storage, sale and transportation. The remaining money is then placed in a trust.

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