Garton & Harris

DIY wills in British Columbia not always such a good idea

There may be instances when British Columbia residents think it would save money to purchase "Do It Yourself" (DIY) wills kits, but that may not be the wisest decision. Whether it's to try to save money, or to save time, DIY wills may cost residents more time and money in the long run. One thing is a certainty -- all residents of legal age in the province should have wills.

Another thing for British Columbians to realize is that a holographic or handwritten will is not binding in British Columbia as they are in Alberta, Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Ontario, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island also do not accept them. And wills aren't as expensive as people might think. 

The problem with DIY wills is that sometimes the wording may be vague or badly drafted. These wills could contain ambiguous or conflicting provisions that may be invalid. Trying to save money in this regard could cause heirs a very problematic or costly estate settlement.

And DIY wills are likely inappropriate for British Columbia residents with complex or large estates, unless the estate can be handled through the creation of one or more trust documents. Those who have property out of province or out of the country need to consult a lawyer regarding the complexities that could arise from such property ownership. Also, those who wish to forgive debts, to disinherit a child or spouse or who have unique family situations should seek the counsel of an experienced British Columbia wills and estates lawyer rather than trying to use DIY wills. 

Source:, "DIY Wills", Marie Engen, Accessed on July 29, 2017

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