Only 51 per cent of British Columbians have a current and legal Will, according to a province-wide poll conducted by Mustel Group for The Society of Notaries Public of BC.
“Many people are making New Year’s resolutions to exercise more, pay off debt, or spend more time with family in 2012. Preparing a Will is another important and positive commitment.” says Wayne Braid, Chief Executive Officer of the BC Notaries. “These are all worthy and important initiatives to enhance our own lives and the lives of those we love.”
The Mustel Group omnibus telephone poll was conducted just over a year ago (November 2010) among 502 adults in B.C. It found that 15 per cent of people in the 18-to-34 age range, 49 per cent between 35 and 54, and 80 per cent of individuals 55+ have a Will in place.
A properly executed Will creates certainty of your intentions for the distribution of assets and personal effects and the guardianship of minor children. It designates who is responsible for carrying out your wishes (an executor) and covers other vital details such as funeral arrangements.
“When a person dies without a Will, any one of the heirs may apply to the court to administer the estate. If the other heirs do not agree with this appointment, or if no one steps up to do it, by law the office of the BC Public Guardian and Trustee must manage the estate and charge a fee for the work. Some people face years of financial expense and time to unravel a loved one’s finances. To those left behind to handle the paperwork, a Will is priceless,” said John Eastwood,President of BC Notaries and a Notary Public.
“A good way to start the process is to identify a legal professional in your community—a BC Notary or a lawyer—someone you trust who can assist you to prepare a proper and legal Will to serve your needs. “Most people are relieved after they make a Will and are surprised at how easy the process is. Will-planning and the related discussions among loved ones can open important channels of communication, bring people closer, and create more certainty and peace of mind for everyone,” says Eastwood.
The Society of Notaries Public of BC represents more than 320 highly trained Notary professionals. Most have locally-owned and operated offices and all provide personal assistance to clients around the province. Individuals, families, and businesses seek the services of BC Notaries for a wide range of non-contentious legal matters, including residential and commercial real estate transfers, mortgage refinancings, Wills and advanced healthcare planning, powers of attorney, and other important documents. The Notary’s Tradition of Trust spans 2000 years. Notaries first came to British Columbia over 100 years ago. They continue to serve their valued clients and their communities across the province.
– Philip Kanigan, Notary Public