Making a will: not just for senior citizens

According to the poll, 45% of B.C. adults do not have a current and legal will

As part of Make a Will Week 2015, the Province is zeroing in on the younger generation, and calling for people under the age of 40 to get busy and make their wills now, said Suzanne Anton, Attorney General and Minister of Justice.

A provincewide poll conducted for the Society of Notaries Public of B.C. found that 80% of people age 18 to 34 do not have a current and

legal will. While people in this age range may think they don’t need a will, the fact is many important life events generally occur during those years.

People may build a career, open a business, and purchase major assets such as real estate or property.

Many individuals in this age range embark on adventures abroad, get married and start a family.

All these events should signal the need for a will.

According to the poll, 45% of B.C. adults do not have a current and legal will. The telephone poll also found that 49% of adults age 35 to 54 do not have a will. That figure drops to 17% for people age 55 and over.

To encourage British Columbians to create a will or update their existing will, the Province has proclaimed April 6 – 12, 2015, as “Make-a-Will Week.” The revised Wills, Estates and Succession Act (WESA) came into force March 31, 2014, and lowered the age at which you can make a will from 19 to 16, and simplified the process of making a will.

Many people don’t realize that if you die without a will, you are deemed to have died “intestate” (without a will) and your estate will be distributed according to the WESA, not necessarily in accordance with your wishes.

If you die without a will there are default rules that are applied to divide money between spouses and children.

For those individuals with an existing will, they should consider revising it every five years or more often if significant changes occur in their life, finances, health or family situation.

Life events that may prompt you to write a will or revise your existing will:

* The birth of children

* Deaths in the family

* A change in family financial circumstances

* Marriage or divorce

* Purchase of major assets such as real estate or property

* Entering or exiting ownership of a business

* Before major surgery

* Embarking on travel

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