Lawyers at Invicta Law Corporation can assist you with:
- Estate Planning Advice
- Wills and Codicils
- General, Limited, and Enduring Powers of Attorney
- Representation Agreements
- Applications for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
What Happens If You Die Without a Will in BC?
If you die without a will in BC, your estate will be distributed to your surviving relatives according to a specific scheme set out in the Wills, Estates and Succession Act. The application of this legislative scheme means that:
- If you are survived by your spouse and any descendants, your spouse will be required to share the estate with your descendants in a set proportion, subject to a preferential share. This could be problematic if you want your spouse to be entitled to and capable of drawing upon your entire estate for support.
- If you are survived by your spouse and/or any descendants, they will receive the entire estate and there will be no provision for any other relative, such as an elderly parent with a financial need or a favourite sibling.
- If you do not have any surviving relatives, your estate will escheat to the government. You will not be able to provide for a non-spouse partner (i.e. a non-common law boyfriend or girlfriend), any other non-relative friends, or a charitable cause that you support, etc.
Other consequences of intestacy include:
- You will not be able to select a guardian for your minor children (unless you have already done so under the Family Law Act).
- You will not be able to set trust conditions on gifts held in trust for any minor children.
- Your beneficiaries who are receiving disability assistance may become disentitled to such benefits if they receive a sudden inheritance that pushes them beyond a certain asset threshold, which is a situation that can be avoided through careful estate planning.
Estate planning, including the preparation of a will and strategic organization of your assets, can help give you greater control while increasing certainty, simplifying required estate procedures, and minimizing the costs on your estate for the sake of the loved ones you leave behind.
Why You Should Seek Professional Advice When Preparing a Will
Mistakes and oversight by non-legal professionals when drafting and executing a will can lead to deficiencies that invalidate the will, void certain gifts under the will, create partial intestacies, increase the risk of a successful wills variation challenge, or result in a variety of other unintended consequences. Lawyers at Invicta Law Corporation are happy to meet with you to review your individual circumstances and create a professionally drafted will that is tailored to your needs.
Powers of Attorney and Representation Agreements
While wills are legal documents intended to dispose of the assets in an individual’s estate after he or she has passed away, powers of attorney and representation agreements are legal documents for use while the individual is still alive.
A General Power of Attorney allows you to authorize someone to make decisions about your finances, property, and legal affairs on your behalf. A General Power of Attorney will terminate when you revoke it, become mentally incompetent, or pass away.
A Limited Power of Attorney allows you to authorize someone for a specific task, such as selling a property that you own on your behalf, and terminates when the task is completed or on a specified date.
An Enduring Power of Attorney allows you to authorize someone to make decisions about your finances, property, and legal affairs, and such authority continues even if you lose your mental capacity to make these decisions. An Enduring Power of Attorney can also be drafted to trigger upon the occurrence of a particular event.
A Representation Agreement is used for setting out health care planning and personal care matters, as well as arranging limited legal and financial affairs. Personal care matters include decisions about living arrangements, diet preferences, participation in activities, and contact with others.
If you are uncertain which legal document would best suit your needs, please feel free to contact our office to set up an appointment with one of our lawyers.
Applications for Grant of Probate or Letters of Administration
If you have been named as an executor in a will, or if someone in your family has recently passed away without a will, our lawyers can assist you with preparing an application to the Supreme Court of British Columbia for a grant to administer the deceased’s estate. For further information, please contact our office by calling (604) 674-7104