Making a will in B.C.

Why Parents of Young Children Need Wills

Let’s face it, no parent wants to think about what would happen if they were no longer around to care for their children.

The task of choosing a guardian or determining how to divide up your estate (or debt) is the last thing you want to think about when you’re busy with diaper duty, dance class drop-offs and all-night feedings.

I’ll admit, I’m guilty of prolonging the task, and according to a new online survey, I’m definitely not alone.

The 2018 IPSOS results revealed that a whopping 66 per cent of parents of children 18 or younger in B.C. do not have a will.

While I’ve heard rumours about what can happen to my family if, Heaven forbid, something were to happen to both Jason and myself, I wanted to separate facts from fiction.

Alisyn Killeen

I recently reached out to Langley-based Lawyer, Alisyn Killeen from CBM Lawyers, to find out why it’s vital for parents to make a will early on, and how to go about doing so.

Killeen’s law practice primarily focuses on wills and estates, and real estate law, with some corporate law and commercial law. She also attends different events to present on the topic of wills and estates.

Here’s her advice for parents of young children wanting to make their will.

Why is it important for parents to make a will?

I know it’s the last thing most of us want to think about, but it’s the best way to protect your family for two reasons: A. To name a guardian for any children under the age of 19; and B. How to adequately provide for your children so that they’re taken care of. There is also additional planning to consider if there’s a second marriage or blended family involved.

What is the cost of creating one?

Prices do vary from firm to firm. For basic wills for a couple, we charge less than $900 including disbursements and taxes.

What could potentially happen if you neglect to make one? What happens to your kids? Your assets?

You pass intestate, so there is a specific set of rules in our legislation that say who gets how much of what. Generally starting with immediate family, and working outwards from there. However, often those rules aren’t where you’d like your assets to go.

With no executor to perform duties, someone has to step up an apply, and it might not be the person you’d want to apply. Also, having no guardian named means, the worst family member you know could apply to the court and raise your kids.

how to write a will in bc

How do you write a will?

There are specific standards in B.C. about how to create a valid will, so making one at home is not as easy in this province as it is in some others.

How do most parents go about naming a guardian for their child? How on Earth do you choose?

Parents have to remember that no one is going to replace them as their kids’ parents. Instead, if you really think about it, the list of people you trust with your kids is usually pretty small (maybe five people).

And who you choose to be guardian, isn’t necessarily who the kids have to go live with. The guardian can decide that if it’s in the best interest of the child to remain local living with a family friend, then that’s doable. The alternative to not choosing a guardian is much worse. See above about that terrible family member applying and raising your kids.

What are the pros and cons of doing your will online or with a software program?

Con: Not having a guide to walk you through the process. A person who is able to immediately answer questions, and ensure your desired results actually happen.

Con: You won’t know if the will was done correctly until it’s too late. Then your loved ones are not only dealing with the grief of losing you, but also dealing with unnecessary issues arising from a will that wasn’t done properly.

Potential Pro: I’m not sure how much online wills or software programs cost, so it has the potential of being cheaper? At least in the short term.

How often or when should you update your will?

It depends on your life circumstances. Sometimes a couple comes in with a 30-year-old will, we’ll review, and there are no necessary changes so we’ll send them on their way. Some clients are in every six months to change their will.

The general rule of thumb, it’s good to at least review your will after life milestones (Ex. Marriage, divorce, separation, death, and birth).

About CBM Lawyers

For 40 years, Campbell Burton & McMullan LLP has been a strong member of the Fraser Valley community, serving as both a legal services provider and an engaged community partner. Alisyn Killeen grew up and continues to live in Langley. She can often be found at CBM Lawyer’s booth at the Langley Rib Fest, the Aldergrove Good Times Cruise-In, and the Maple Ridge Home Show. Currently, she’s a member of the Langley Animal Protection Society (“LAPS”), Fraser Valley Boss Ladies, Canadian Bar Association, and was recently appointed as South Langley’s Community Director for Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce.

For more information on starting your will, call Alisyn at 604-256-5936, email info@cbmlawyers.com or visit cbmlawyers.com.

young parents and wills in B.C.

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post.

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