Posts tagged wills
Have You Made a Will?

If you haven’t made a will, you’re not alone. According to a Global News Morning BC report, only one third of parents in BC with children under 18 have a legal will. If you have children, do you know who’s going to look after them if you and your spouse die? This week (April 8 to 14) is BC’s annual Make a Will Week — perhaps it’ll inspire you to write or update your will.

Why make a will?

Without a will, your money and personal possessions might not be distributed as you’d like, and your children’s future may be decided by government agencies. Making a will can give you peace of mind. You’ll know who gets your assets, no matter how modest, and who’s going to look after and raise your children.

How do I make a will?

MyLawBC can help you make a simple will online that reflects your wishes and fits your situation. MyLawBC, which is free to use, guides you through its Make a will pathway where you’ll learn about the important decisions you need to consider.  At the end, you’ll get an easy-to-use form in Microsoft Word to complete, print, and sign.

Before you start, the Check your situation link in the sidebar will show you whether you can use MyLawBC for your will. If your situation is complicated, MyLawBC can’t provide a will. But you’ll still get basic information about what you need in your will, and where you can get help.

If you have a complicated situation, or can afford legal help, getting help from a lawyer or a notary is a good idea.

More information

You can find out more about making your will with MyLawBC in this video. And in addition to MyLawBC, the Make a Will Week website has links to many useful resources.

Civil lawLegal Aidwills
You don’t need a tractor to have a will
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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.

Planning for the future
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Having a will is important. We all know it, but many of us don’t have a will. Planning for your own death is uncomfortable; no one likes to think about dying. Despite that, having a will and planning for your future is important. MyLawBC has two different pathways to help you with these decisions. The Make a will pathway helps you create a simple will. It explains the decisions you need to make and what you need to consider for those decisions. Depending on your situation, MyLawBC can also provide you with a form you can fill in to create a valid will. Even if MyLawBC can’t provide a will to fit your needs, it gives you information about what to put in your will and how to get help to complete one.

The Plan for the future pathway covers personal planning. This means planning for a future where you might not be able to act independently; for example, if you got into an accident and fell into a coma. You’ll learn about all the available documents and find out which ones are best for you. This includes the various kinds of powers of attorney and representation agreements. We worked with Nidus on this pathway to make sure you get the best information.

Welcome to MyLawBC!
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Over the last year, you may have heard whispers about a new project we’ve been working on called MyLawBC. Today we’re happy to announce that MyLawBC has launched and is now ready to be used! What’s the big deal about MyLawBC? It’s a new way of delivering legal information; it’s interactive and focused on giving you information you can act on. Where many other legal websites are like a book, MyLawBC is more like a conversation. You answer a series of questions about your problem and the site creates an action plan for you. This plan covers the information you need to know, the first steps you can take to resolve your problem, the next steps you’ll need to take after that, and where you can get more help.

MyLawBC has information on separation, divorce and family orders, abuse and family violence, missed mortgage payments, and wills and personal planning. Only have a smartphone? No problem! These pathways work just fine on any mobile device.

The Dialogue Tool is another part of MyLawBC that we’re proud of. It helps couples who are splitting up create a fair and lasting separation agreement. It helps you and your spouse identify what’s important to you as you split up and provides you with an online platform and tools to work together on, as well as links to other services that can help, so that you can create a separation agreement you can download and print in the end.

This just scratches the surface; we’ll be talking about more in depth over the next few days. In the meantime, feel free to dive in yourself and see what the site has to offer!