Wills & Estates Lawyers
Serving Coquitlam, Vancouver & Lynden, British Columbia
At Norton Law we have been serving local communities for decades. If it’s a will that you need, call our office to set up an appointment. We will send you some forms to fill out before you come in for your initial consultation. This will get you thinking about what areas of estate planning are of importance to you.
Benefits of having a Will
Why do I need a Will?
You need a will so you can:
- decide how your property is divided and who benefits from what;
- choose who will care for any minor children that you have;
- avoid unnecessary taxes;
- ensure that the people you want to benefit receive the gift(s) you wish to leave them.
What if I don’t have a Will? – Not having a will allows a default law to determine who will receive what when you die.
What is needed to get a Will prepared?
- The name of your Executor / Executrix: This is the individual responsible for carrying out the terms of your will. It should be someone you completely trust. An alternate Executor/Executrix is advisable in the event that the first named is unable or unwilling to act for some reason. Naming an alternate will avoid you having to amend your will in the event of the death or other unforeseen circumstance with respect to the first named Executor/Executrix.
- The name and address of your Trustee: The primary purpose of a trustee is to administer any money and property that you may leave to an individual “in trust”. For example, if your children or grandchildren are under the age of 19, you will need a trustee to manage the money and to keep any moneys that you are bequeathing to your children in trust until such time that your children or grandchildren reach at least the age of 19 years, being the age of majority in British Columbia. Your trustee would be responsible for keeping your money invested and making any payments of interest and/or capital for the support, upbringing, maintenance, eucation, etc. of your children. Your Executor and Trustee can be the same person or two different people.
- The name(s) of the Guardian(s) for your children in the event that you and your spouse die before any or all of your children reach the age of 19 years.
- You should give some thought to any personal bequests that you may wish to make to any family members or close friends. This may include jewellery, china or other personal effects that have a sentamental value attached and which you wish to give to a particular individual.
What is required in a Will to make it legally binding?
All wills must be signed by the Testator or Testatrix (the person making the will) and witnessed by two (2) witnesses (who cannot be named as beneficiaries under the will) all three of whom have to be present at the same place and must sign in front of one another. The will must also be dated.
If one or more of these requirements are not present, it may invalidate your will.
In addition, a will should include the following:
- Your full name and address
- Statement revoking prior Wills – Every will, to be legally binding, includes a statement whereby you revoke any other wills or testamentary documents ever made in the past. That is so, if you have already made a will and cannot locate it for purposes of destroying it, your new will automatically revokes any other earlier dated will.
- Naming your Executor – You need to name an Executor to carry out the instructions in your will. This includes ensuring that the people that you leave as beneficiaries under your will end up receiving the money, property or gifts that you leave to those beneficiaries.
- Specific Bequests – A specific bequest is leaving someone a particular item or sum of money. For instance: “I give and bequeath the sum of One Thousand Dollars ($1,000) to my sister, Susan Doe.” Or perhaps it’s something special: “I give and bequeath my 3-legged milk stool to my best friend, Cindy MacLean.”
- Residue Clause – After indicating what specific items or amounts of money you want to leave to specific people, all wills should contain a residue clause. “Residue” is a legal term used to describe what is left over after payment of debts, taxes, expenses and the distribution of any specific gifts under a will. This clause is necessary to ensure that absolutely everything else (often the bulk of an estate) is to be distributed under your will to those people you wish to benefit.
A failure to include any of these clauses in your will can create confusion and conflict for your loved ones when they are trying to carry out your wishes after you have passed.
Although there are a number of other areas that will be canvassed during our appointment, they are better left until that time. The purpose of providing you with the aforementioned points to consider is so that you (and your spouse) can have some time to reflect on them prior to coming to see us. These make up the fundamentals of your last will and testament.
Contact Norton Law for your Wills & Estate Planning Needs
At Norton Law, we have over 40 years of experience drafting and preparing wills and estate planning documents for our clients. Our team of lawyers understands the essentials and complexities that go into each individual’s wills as well as wills that take into consideration spouses, family members and others. We are here to ensure that your estate planning documents are prepared with your personalized wishes in mind.
In order to best protect you assets, interests and estate, you should work with a lawyer to draft your will. If you are seeking to start the process of preparing your will, call Norton Law at (855) 810-5286 to book a consultation with one of our family and estate lawyers at one of our offices in British Columbia. We will help you write a will tailored to your wishes and protect the distribution of your estate and assets.