On June 8, 1948, Cecil George Harris lay dying in a field, pinned under a tractor. While help eventually came, he spent nearly 10 hours under that tractor and died in hospital the next day. When Harris left the house that morning, he didn’t have a will, but he soon feared he’d need one. While trapped, he dug out his pen knife and scratched a message into the fender of his tractor:
In case I die in this mess I leave all to the wife. Cecil Geo Harris
A few days after his death, this message was found. The fender was removed and the court followed through with his impromptu will. You can still see the fender on display at the University of Saskatchewan’s College of Law.
Wills written this way are called holographic, or handwritten, wills. They’re not valid in BC (with a few exceptions). That isn’t to say that there isn’t an easy way to write a will in BC.
MyLawBC is our newest website and one of things it does is offers a quick and easy way for you to write a will. Since it was launched earlier this year, almost 2,000 people have used MyLawBC to help write their wills.
The first thing you need to do is to go through the Make a will pathway. This is where the site asks you a series of questions about your situation. It then uses your answers to figure out how it can help you.
If you need a simple will — that’s a basic will that avoids situations like owning a business or property outside of BC — then you’ll be given a Word form template. As you fill out the form, it populates a will with the information you put in. Once you’re done, you’ll have a will that contains all the necessary legal language. All that’s left to do is for you to sign it.
MyLawBC is free to use, so there’s no excuse to wait until you’re under a tractor and absolutely need a will to write one.