How to Write a Will in BC

By George Lawrence J.D.
Wills describe how you want your property to be divided when you die.

signing a contract image by William Berry from Fotolia.com

One of the most important documents you can write is your will. If you die without writing a will, you have no control over where your property goes. Also, according to the People's Law School website, administrating your estate without a will is more expensive and your family will receive less than what you intend. Wills must be written (by hand or typed). In British Columbia, Canada, you must be at least 19 years old to write your will.

Declare the document to be your will. Title the document “[Your Name]’s Last Will” and include a sentence beneath the title such as “On [date], I, [Your Name], hereby write and intend this document to be my will. I revoke all other wills executed prior to this date.”

Appoint an executor and an alternative. Your executor is responsible for handling your affairs after your pass away. Appoint someone you can trust; include an alternate in case your first choice is unwilling or unable to act on your behalf.

Gift specific items to your beneficiaries. List a person’s name and then clearly indicate what you want to leave them. For example, you could write: “To Sam Wise, my nephew, I leave my gold watch, which can be found on my person or on my bedside table.”

Give away the remainder of your estate. It is unlikely that you can remember or find a home for every asset you have. After leaving specific gifts, give away the remainder. You can give it all to one person, or split it up. For instance, you might write: “I give the remainder of my estate to my children, to be divided equally among them.”

Include miscellaneous provisions such as appointing a guardian to care for your minor children or any other wishes.

Bring the completed will to a notary in British Columbia along with two witnesses. The witnesses must be at least 19. Sign the will in the presence of the notary. Instruct the witnesses to sign. Notarize the will.

Register your will in a British Columbia Vital Statistics Records Office. Visit a local office and fill out a Wills Notice, which explains that you wrote a will and describes where it can be found.

Keep your will in a safe place. Re-visit your will every few years to update it. Write a new will if substantial changes occur in your life, such as divorce, marriage or deaths in the family.

About the Author

Based in Traverse City, Mich., George Lawrence has been writing professionally since 2009. His work primarily appears on various websites. An avid outdoorsman, Lawrence holds Bachelor of Arts degrees in both criminal justice and English from Michigan State University, as well as a Juris Doctor from the Thomas M. Cooley Law School, where he graduated with honors.

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