Garton & Harris

What do I need to do to put a will in place?

Putting a will in place just makes good sense, no matter how wealthy or poor you are. You have valuable things that your heirs want to keep in the family. Ensuring that they get what it is they most want ought to be on the top of list for you at this stage of the game. The laws of Canada have some very pointed rules that you need to be aware of.

For instance, if you are married to more than one person in British Columbia, you will run into legal troubles even if you have a will in place. British Columbia does not allow a spouse to be legally married to more than one person. You need to be sure that any extra relationships are ended legally in order for your will to stand up in court.

Another rule of law you need to be aware of: If you specify that you want to make an heir of someone in the context of your will, that person will be seen as a legal blood relative unless you tell it differently. It seems obvious that you would need to specify, but the law remains adamant in its description of blood relatives. In other words, your son-in-law will be seen as a blood relative unless you specifically say he isn't.

You will need to name a power of attorney for your will to be executed with your wishes in mind. This person must be trustworthy and honest. He or she needs to be able to dedicate time to this because this person will need to pay off your debts and will distribute your property exactly as you have in your will. Of course, a trusted lawyer can do this or help your power of attorney do this task if it seems overwhelming.

Source: Laws of Canada, "Succession Law Reform Act," accessed Dec. 09, 2015

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