Every year in BC thousands of people die without making a Will. When that happens their debt and property is distributed according to the BC Wills, Estates and Succession Act, s.20-23 (“WESA”). The property and debt of a deceased is called their estate.
When a Will is drafted, it will include the appointment of one or more Executors. Their job will be to organize the deceased’s Estate. The Executors would arrange a funeral, pay bills and divide the remaining Estate in the manner described in the Will. If you do not have a Will, you will not have an Executor. The process is quite simple and many law firms offer simple wills at very affordable prices.
When a person dies without a Will their Estate vests with the court. This means that family members, friend, or others, cannot sell or dispose of the Estate. In order to administrate the Estate of a deceased person, an interested person would apply to the court for a Grant of Administration. This would empower the person to act like an Executor.
As the Administrator would not have a Will to tell them the deceased person’s wishes, they would follow the order of priority set out in Section 130 of the WESA. You can find a copy of the WESA at:
If no one steps forward to be an Administrator, the court may appoint an Official Administrator and pay for that person from the Estate. This can be quite expensive. It is far better to have a Will. They normally cost a few hundred dollars, but can save thousands.
If you have children, Wills are a must. Wills allow you to appoint Guardians under the Family Law Act (BC) which will help you to properly provide for your children.
At Butterfield Law, we do not prepare wills. However, if you call us we can direct you to a local lawyer who is very experienced in this area.
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