April 6 to 12 marks Make-a-Will Week in British Columbia. Its purpose is to encourage the public to write a will or bring an existing will up-to-date.
Writing a will isn’t on the minds of most adults prior to their twilight years. According to a 2014 report for BC Notaries, just 55 per cent of British Columbians have a signed, legally valid and up-to-date will.
A 60-year-old Saanich man who died in a single vehicle crash along West Saanich Road last month was thankfully one of those people who did create a will. Carl Graham Young was the vehicle’s passenger on March 21, and while he didn’t anticipate his death coming so soon, Young’s generous gifting of his Saanich bungalow to the Victoria Cool Aid Society shows why a will matters.
Had he not left explicit instructions on his estate, Young’s family home would likely have ended up in the hands of the provincial government to be auctioned off.
A will is the best way to ensure that the people, charities and organizations receive the benefit of an estate.
The other motivation is cost: administering an estate can get expensive without a will, depending on the complexity of assets at the time of death.
Having a will also helps ensure that important questions for parents – like who will raise young children if both spouses die – are answered.
Creating a will is a straightforward process with a notary or lawyer, but there are options for writing a will without professional input. Find a Canadian will kit online at the Self-Counsel Press (self-counsel.com).