This week is Make a Will Week in the province, reminding British Columbians to write their will or bring an existing one up to date.
To further encourage people to write and update their will, as of Dec. 1, 2021, people can also create electronic wills, which ideally should be saved in PDF format.
This means, in addition to paper wills, people will be able to use technology to sign and store the document, making it easier and more convenient to make a will, particularly if it is witnessed remotely.
This builds on legislation introduced in 2020 that allows British Columbians to remotely witness physical wills during the COVID-19 pandemic. Remote witnessing is especially beneficial for those who have mobility challenges, are quarantined, or live in rural and remote towns.
When someone dies without a will, their estate is divided according to legislation, and may not be distributed in the way they would have wished. This may potentially delay important decisions, like who will raise their children, and may require a court application. This is why it is important to have a will.
It is also important to regularly update a will to adjust with significant life changes, such as a marriage, the birth of a child or the purchase of a home.
A notary or lawyer can help get a will started and provide an estimate for the cost of writing one. Kits are also available for people to make their own will, but the province says it is advisable to get legal advice.
To learn more about Make a Will Week, visit: www2.gov.bc.ca.