Vancouver – BC Notaries support the Province of B.C.’s proclamation declaring April 10 – 16, 2016 “Make-a-Will Week” to encourage residents who don’t have a Will to create one to ensure their final wishes are clear and carried out after their death.
Wills help to protect family members, especially dependent children by appointing someone to care for your under-age children if you die.
“This is particularly important for single parents or blended families where the law may not align with your wishes,” says Tammy Morin Nakashima, President of BC Notaries and a Notary in Steveston. “If you don’t designate custody, the decision may be made by a stranger through the court system.”
A legal Will also ensures that those you love and care about receive the benefit of your estate, if those are your wishes. Additionally, the right Advance Care Planning documents will make certain your wishes are clear to your family or healthcare providers when you can’t speak for yourself. That takes the guesswork and pressure off family members’ or other loved ones’ shoulders.
“Creating a Will or Advance Care Planning documents takes less time than most people think and can usually be completed in one, two or three short meetings,” says Sidney Notary Public Laurie Salvador. “A good way to start the process is to identify a legal professional, such as a Notary Public in your community—someone you trust who can assist you in preparing a proper and legal Will.”
“For many clients, creating a Will provides more certainty and peace of mind for both the Will-makers and their families,” adds Vancouver Notary Public Susan Tong.
BC Notaries share five ways a legal Will can protect families.
- Creating certainty when there are changes in your family.
Creating a Will and making sure all your documents are up-to-date is very important for the many people whose relationship status has changed (eg. due to marriage, separation, divorce) or when there has been a birth or death in the family. This will ensure that your assets are divided or assigned as you currently wish them to be.
- Arranging long-term care for dependent children.
A Will enables you to designate who would care for your dependent children if you die. While this is something most parents don’t want to have to think about, if you don’t designate custody, the decision may be made by a stranger through the court system.
- Protecting your pets.
For many British Columbians, pets are family. Many people want to ensure their pets will continue to be cared for as they as they are now if something were to happen to them. A Will can designate those provisions.
- Reducing conflict within the family.
Careful planning with a legal professional can eliminate or at least reduce stress, taxes and conflict amongst loved ones of the deceased. Without these documents, there can be doubt, anxiety, hurt feelings and delays. The kindest thing you can do for your loved ones is to have your legal affairs in good order.
- Solidifying circumstances around homeownership.
If you share ownership of your home with a partner or others, it’s important to understand how you own property. There are various ways shared ownership can be structured, and that structure impacts what happens to the ownership of your home if you die. Your local notary can do a title search for you and discuss the various options available to ensure your wishes are possible, and your Will is clear.
A survey conducted province-wide in 2014 by Mustel Group for The Society of Notaries Public of BC found that only 55% of British Columbian adults have a current and legal Will, and people under 54 are the least likely to have one. The March 2014 omnibus telephone poll of 502 adults in BC found that only 20% of people in the 18-to-34 age range, 51% between 35 and 54, and 83% of individuals 55+ have a Will in place.
“It is worrisome that less than half of adults under the age of 55 have a legal Will,” says Vancouver Notary Public Akash Sablok. “Anyone who owns property or has dependent children should have a Will in place to make sure their wishes are followed in the event they die.”
To find a Notary near you, visit www.notaries.bc.ca.
The Society of Notaries Public of BC represents more than 355 highly trained Notary professionals. Most have locally owned and operated offices and all provide personal assistance to clients around the province. Individuals, families, and businesses seek the services of BC Notaries for a wide range of non-contentious legal matters, including residential and commercial real estate transfers, mortgage refinancing, Wills and advanced healthcare planning, powers of attorney, and other important documents.
The Notary’s Tradition of Trust spans 2000 years. Notaries first came to British Columbia over 100 years ago. They continue to serve their valued clients and their communities across the province. For more information, please visit www.notaries.bc.ca.