20Will Preparation20 New Year’s Resolution to add to your list

As we all look toward the fresh opportunities of 2020, many of us will make New Year’s resolutions to lose weight, spend more time with family, or finally take that long-awaited vacation trip: activities intended to benefit our own lives and those we love.

Another positive and caring commitment we can make for ourselves and our families is to prepare a Will – or encourage our loved ones to do so.

A province-wide poll conducted by Mustel Group for The Society of Notaries Public of BC in November found that only 51% of British Columbians aged 18+ have a current and legal Will.

A properly executed Will can create certainty of our intentions for the distribution of assets and personal effects, the guardianship of minor children and pets, the responsibility for carrying out our wishes, and other vital details such as funeral arrangements.

When someone dies without a Will, it can create additional grief for heirs. 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—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.

In my experience, 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 all.

If know of someone who does not have a Will, please introduce them to me and I’d be pleased to help.

Yours truly, Irina Bartnik B.Sc.M.A.(ALS)