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Wills FAQs

(Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What happens if I don't have a will?

2. How should I choose an executor?

3. What property is not included under my will?

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1.  What happens if I don't have a will?

Without a will, your assets will be divided among your relatives in accordance with the Wills, Estates and Succession Act ("WESA" , new legislation in force in 2014).
 -  see online version of WESA at:  www.bclaws.ca/civix/ document/id/ complete/ statreg/09013_01
 -  see also article in the Probate section lawyers-bc.com/probate/articles/nowill.htm

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2.  How should I choose an executor?

You should choose someone that you trust implicitly, and who is capable of handling financial matters prudently.

Another consideration is how long the estate administration may last.  If your children (or any other beneficiary) won't receive their full share of the estate for another 10 or 20 years after you pass away, consider whether your executor will still be able to handle your estate then.

If you have minor children, don't appoint your executor as the guardian.  Raising children is costly, so under most wills, these costs are paid from their share of the estate assets. Executors who are also guardians will be in a conflict of interest:  they will either pay themselves too much and deprive the children, or pay themselves too little and assume the additional costs.  This can be avoided by choosing different people for these two roles. The most common exception, of course, is choosing a spouse to be both.

Many people choose their spouse as the first executor and name an alternative, in case their spouse cannot act. You may choose two or more executors, depending on how complex the estate is, and how much you trust them.

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3.  What property is not included under my will?

Proceeds are paid directly to a beneficiary named in your life insurance policy. These proceeds do not form part of your estate.  
(This section under review)

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This page last updated: 2014.05.14
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