Garton & Harris

Wills: Should British Columbia residents go it alone?

It may be very appealing for one to think about writing one's own will. But there are many reasons it might not be the best idea. When it comes to writing wills in British Columbia, there are laws to which a testator must adhere and not being aware of what those are could render a will null and void, which is something no individual wants to have happen.

There are two main types of wills: a holographic, or handwritten will, and a formal will.  British Columbia, however, is one of the provinces that doesn't recognize holographic wills. Formal wills are typewritten and people can do it themselves, although inadvisable since DIY will kits are meant to be one size fits all. Wills should be tailored to a person's individual circumstances and what works for one person may not work for another.

Will kits can potentially cost money, rather than save it -- especially for beneficiaries. Paying money to get help to write a proper, legally binding will may save not only money, but potential heartache in the future. No one likes to think that his or her will may be contested, so getting legal guidance on estate planning documents is the best bet for most people. 

A British Columbia lawyer understands what it takes to make wills legal and binding and can assist a client in creating estate planning documents that meet those requirements. A lawyer who specializes in wills, trusts and estates may be able to help a client to fashion a will that adheres to the letter of the law as well as to his or her lifestyle. The prospect of writing one's own will may be enticing, but it could also be a mistake if something in the document should be questioned when the time comes. 

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