ESTATE PLANNING: Testamentary Wills
What happens if you die without a Will?
When someone dies without a Will, it can create additional grief for family and friends.
If a person dies without a Will, they are said to be “intestate” and the WILLS, ESTATES and SUCCESSION ACT (“WESA”) will govern how assets will be distributed.
Without a Will, any one of the heirs may apply to the court to administer the estate. If the other heirs do not agree with this appointment -- or if no one steps up -- by law, the office of the B.C. Public Guardian and Trustee must manage the estate and charge a fee for the work.
It can take the B.C. Public Guardian & Trustee approximately 12 months to distribute the assets under an intestacy. The fee the government charges for this appointment will range between 3% and 5% of the value of the estate, depending on the complexity of the affairs.
Some people face years of financial expense and time to unravel a loved one's finances. To those left behind to handle the paperwork, a Will is priceless.
Commentary from Cheryl Vavra, Notary Public:
“The Society of Notaries Public of BC conducted a province-wide poll in 2010 and found that, on average, only 51% of British Columbians ages 18+ had a current and legal Will.
In my experience, most people are relieved after they make a Will and are surprised at how easy the process is.
Estate planning and the related discussions among loved ones can open important channels of communication, bring people closer, and create more certainty and peace of mind for all.”
If you would like to discuss preparing a Will or wish to refer a family member or friend, please contact Cheryl at Notaries in Sooke, at 250-642-3318 and I will be pleased to help.