Garton & Harris

The basics of writing a will in British Columbia

Individuals who are concerned for their families upon their incapacitation or death have the option to write wills. This provides those individuals with a means through which they can express their wishes for the aspects that mean the most to them, such the who will be their executor of estate or who will have guardianship of their children should their passing come suddenly. Wills are also used to determine the distribution of their assets, no matter how few they have.

Any person aged 16 or older can write a will as long as the individual has the mental capacity to do so. The will has to be written, and the will-maker has to sign it at the end, along with two or more witnesses who must be at least 19 years old. Will-makers who are unable to sign must recognize the provided signature as their own. The will-maker's and witnesses' signatures must be added while each of the signers are present.

However, there are exceptions to these rules for members of Canadian military forces who are on active duty and wish to write wills. They may make a gift of property in a will no matter their age, and they must sign at the end. A witness does not need to be present during the signing, nor does a witness need to sign. However, military will-makers who direct other people to sign for them need to be present at the time of signing. In this case, there must be a witness present as well, and that witness must also sign at that time.

Writing a will may appear complicated to many people who are not familiar with the assets that are addressed and those that are not. Those who are confused about what to include and how to ensure that adequate provisions are made for their spouses and children could ask lawyers for help.

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