If you have a will, you have taken a valuable step towards communicating your end-of-life wishes. It can be difficult to think about this topic but being prepared can provide a peace of mind to you and your loved ones. If it has been a while since you initially wrote your will, it may be time to review it as life circumstances do change.
Here are some questions to consider if you are thinking about whether or not you need to update your will.
1. Did your marital status change?
If you got married or divorced, you may want to update your will to reflect the change. Under these circumstances, reviewing your beneficiary designations may also be a good idea.
2. Did your family structure change?
If you had or adopted a child recently, you would probably want to update your will so you can appoint a guardian to act in the event the surviving parent dies, leaving a minor child or children. Also if you have become a grandparent, you may want your grandchild to receive a benefit under your will. If there was a death in the family, you may also want to review your will.
3. Did you move?
Most estate law is provincial, therefore a move across provinces could mean different laws apply, which could affect the terms of the will. Even when you move locally, if your property and its address was identified in the will, you may want to update your will to reflect your current residency.
4. Has your financial situation significantly change?
If your financial situation has changed, you may want to make some adjustments to your will. If you are wondering about probate fees and taxes, the Canadian Bar Association has some information on their website here.
5. Are your representatives still appropriate choices?
If you have appointed executor(s), trustee(s) and attorney(s) in your will, are they still willing and able to act in those capacity?
There is a lot of information available to help you learn more about wills, here are a few resources:
- Wills and estate planning and Make-A-Will Week resources (from the Government of British Columbia)
- Writing your will (from The People’s Law School)
- Wills and personal planning resources (from Courthouse Libraries BC)
- Information about advanced planning tools (from the BC Notaries)
While Consumer Protection BC licenses and regulates the funeral industry, we do not have the authority to oversee wills. For more information about your rights and responsibilities when it comes to BC’s funeral services law, explore our website or blog.