Make a Will week

October 1 to 7, 2023 is Make-a-Will Week (PDF 513KB) in British Columbia. The purpose of Make-a-Will Week is to encourage the public to write their will or bring an existing will up-to-date.

Making a will is now even easier

Since December 1, 2021, electronic wills have the same recognition as physical wills. Wills are now able to be signed and stored electronically. As an added benefit, all unaltered electronic copies of an electronic will are considered an “original” for the purpose of submitting to the court, so you can save copies on multiple devices and/or online locations to make it easier for your executor to locate an original.

You may also wish to print off an electronic will and keep that with your other important physical documents. A printout of an electronic will is considered the same as a photocopy of a physical will and can only be used if none of your electronic wills can be found.

While all formats of an electronic will are accepted by the courts, if you choose to make an electronic will, you are strongly encouraged to save your will in PDF format. Saving your will in PDF format will make the probate process as easy as possible for your executor.

An increasing number of British Columbians are making a will

According to a 2020 survey for the BC Notary Association, 50 percent of British Columbians had a signed, legally valid and up-to-date will. That is up 6% from 2018 when only 44% of British Columbians had a will! 

2020 represents the first time that the BC Notary survey has indicated that at least half of British Columbians have a will. The number of homeowners with a will is even higher.  A little over half of British Columbian homeowners under 55 have a will and 80% of homeowners over 55 have a will. While the overall increase in the number of people with a will is great, there is still room for improvement.

You don’t just need a will when you are old. Having a will ensures your wishes are respected if the unexpected happens.

  • A will is the best way to ensure that the people, charities and organizations you cherish most receive the benefit of your estate
  • If you die without a will, your estate may not be distributed in the way you would have wished, and the costs of administering your estate may also be higher
  • Having a will helps ensure that important questions for parents – like who will raise your young children if both you and your spouse die – are answered

The cost to have a will written depends on the complexity of your situation

Ask a notary or lawyer for an estimate. If your situation is straightforward, you may be able to write your own will using a kit from a store or an online service provider. However, obtaining the assistance of a professional is always a good idea.