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Helpful tips for writing wills and other estate planning in BC

For nearly every task imaginable there is a professional one can hire to get the job done. Although some people prefer a do-it-yourself approach to life, there are some jobs best left to those with proper skills and training. The writing of wills is a great example; it is possible to make one's own will, but there may be a higher risk of issues arising that could derail one's plans. Here are a few tips about estate planning in British Columbia, and some of the complex situations that may necessitate using the skills of a legal professional.

In its most simple form, a will is a document that provides instructions for the dispersion of assets after a person passes away. However, not all assets are equally simple, and some may require special attention. For example, it may be tricky to simply leave a business to an heir. Assets held in another province or territory, or in a foreign country may be especially complicated to pass along, and there may be tax and probate implications.

Joint ownership of an asset, such as a piece of real estate, can help a valuable property avoid probate, but comes with its own set of risks. Likewise, trusts are versatile devices for distributing assets, especially liquid assets, to beneficiaries. There is more than one kind of trust to choose from, and it is key to select an appropriate trustee to administer the trust.

Truly effective estate planning can be a time-consuming and complex endeavour, depending on the nature of the estate. All the more reason to take on the challenge as soon as possible, and to consider working with a trusted and experienced British Columbia lawyer. His or her knowledge of wills, trusts and the law can help any man or woman create the estate plan needed to ensure a smooth transfer of assets to the next generation.

Source: The Globe and Mail, "A simple guide to estate planning", Adrian Mastracci, May 29, 2017

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