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WILLS AND ESTATES

A will is a legal document that says how you want your estate to be divided once you die.  You are not legally required to prepare a will. However, if you don't have a will, the laws in your province or territory will determine how your estate is divided.

Utilizing a lawyer to prepare your will can help avoid pitfalls inherent in trust creation issues for children, specific requests, when there are complicated special needs situations and more.

A lawyer can also complement the planning process with creation of

  • Powers of Attorney - a legal document in British Columbia for personal planning and is made by adults who want to plan in case they need help with financial and/or legal affairs in the FUTURE.  They are a method for an appointed agent to act on your behalf while you are alive.

  • A Representation Agreement is a legal document under the Representation Agreement Act of BC (RA Act) and the only legal planning document to use when planning for health and personal care matters.

Estate Administration is often a daunting task.  In BC, the process involves gathering all of the assets of the estate, paying out all of the liabilities and distributing the assets of the estate to the beneficiaries of the estate.  Typically the executor, or an agent appointed on behalf of the executor, manages this process. 

Often a will needs to go through probate – a process that ensures a will is real and was left by the deceased and the executor named in the will has the authority to deal with the estate of the deceased person.  Should the estate value be evidenced as $25,000 or less, the probate fees are waived.   When the assets of the estate exceed $25,000, probate fees amount to approximately 1.4 percent of the value of the assets.

A lawyer can help smooth over the application for grant process and ensure a timely flow of the process.

Estate Litigation occurs when the validity of a will is challenged or a will is challenged.  Generally there are strict timelines involved with this process and the earlier you speak with a lawyer the better.