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Legal Tips

A Will and Estate Planning Checklist for B.C. Residents

Discussing the future can be exciting. However, when it comes to figuring out how to prepare your will and estate documents, that excitement may turn into stress. Discussing B.C. inheritance laws doesn’t need to be complicated. For example, an estate planning checklist is a step-by-step guide to help you through the process. Creating a will and estate planning checklist helps organize important assets for your future and the future of your loved ones.

Wills and Estate Planning Checklist

A will and estate planning checklist is a document you can create on your own or with your estate planning lawyer. However it is prepared, a checklist will help you keep important documents and decisions organized during the estate planning process.

Prepare Documents

Gathering all of the appropriate documents for will and estate planning can be overwhelming. When you make a checklist, the process may be easier. Some important documents to gather include the names and contact information of immediate family members as well as those outside the family you wish to leave your assets to. One of the most important parts of wills and estate planning is a list of all the assets and investments that have personal and monetary importance to you. Including why they are important in the document is also beneficial when going through the estate planning checklist.

Choose Executor and Witnesses

Once the details and documents are organized, the next step is to find an executor and two witnesses to oversee the signing process. The executor is the person in charge of handling the documents once you have passed away. A will and estate lawyer is especially helpful during this point of the process because they know the ins and outs of B.C. inheritance laws. They can help guide you toward the best choice and support your decision. When signing all of the documents, you will need two witnesses to oversee the signatures for them to be valid. Making sure to have two witnesses near the beginning of the process helps once the end of the list nears.

Decide on Beneficiaries

Deciding on beneficiaries can be daunting. A beneficiary is someone you leave important items or assets to once you have passed away. Creating this list can take time and you want to make sure it is thought through with a clear mind. If there are personal items connected to certain people, you want to discuss what items are assigned to who. Having a lawyer at this point can make this step less intimidating.

Notarize the Documents

The next part of the will and estate planning checklist is working with a notary. All documents in the will must be notarized to be valid. You will also need two witnesses present when the documents are notarized. They are to be over the age of nineteen and be in the presence of the notary. The notary will give the witnesses permission to sign the necessary documents and notarize the will.

Register the Will

Once the documents are properly completed, signed, and notarized, the will must be registered. The document is registered with the B.C. Vital Statistics Records office. You can visit an office near you to complete a Wills Notice. This document will explain who wrote the will and give details as to its whereabouts once registered.

Even though registering your will may seem like the final step in the process, it’s important to continuously revisit and review your will a few times a year. Decisions and relationships change over time. If changes are necessary for any reason, contact your lawyer.