Wills and Estate Planning
Making a Will
Making a will is an important part of planning for your family’s future. If you die without a will, your property will be divided according to B.C. law, and the costs to administer your estate will increase. You’ll also be giving up the right to appoint the guardian of your choice for any children in your care.
To learn more, read:
- Making a Will and Estate Planning from the Canadian Bar Association's British Columbia Branch
- About Wills and Estates from the B.C. Ministry of Justice
- Having a Will and Making Funeral Plans (PDF) from the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) Ministers Responsible for Seniors
- Testaments et des arrangements funéraires (French - PDF) from the Federal/Provincial/Territorial (F/P/T) Ministers Responsible for Seniors
Although you can use a kit to write your own will, it’s a good idea to get help from a lawyer or notary public to make sure your will is legal. If your will isn’t considered legal, it can create a lot of problems for your heirs.
For information about creating a will and choosing an executor, see:
- Do You Have a Will? (PDF) from Public Guardian and Trustee of B.C. This publication is also available in Chinese traditional, Filipino, Punjabi, Spanish and Vietnamese.
For information about wills and estates for First Nations people, please read:
- Wills and Estates on Reserve from the Legal Services Society of B.C.
Living Wills, Advance Directives, and Representation Agreements
Although B.C. doesn’t use “living wills,” advance directives and substitute decision-making agreements like representation agreements can serve a similar purpose. In a medical crisis, these documents will allow the person of your choice to make important health care decisions for you, if you’re not able to make those decisions yourself.
To learn more, see our pages on:
If you don’t have a representation agreement or advance directive for health care decisions, the law may allow family members or the Public Guardian and Trustee to make decisions on your behalf.
Being an Executor
Being the executor of someone else’s estate can be a complex and daunting responsibility. The Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) offers information for Executors, including “What to do following a death” and “Preparing returns for deceased persons.”
CRA also provides online forms related to estate matters like RRSPs, property, tax deferments, and deductible funeral expenses. These forms may have to be included when filing an individual’s final tax return.
For a list of all CRA executor information, see:
- Individuals - Executors from the Canada Revenue Agency
British Columbia Bereavement Checklist
This checklist is a tool that can assist with identifying key federal departments and provincial ministries that should be notified of a death to terminate benefits and services or to initiate benefits for survivors.