British Columbia Last Will (Part 7): Dependants, International Wills, and Representation Agreements!

BC Last Will

Please note that the information provided herein is not legal advice and is provided for informational and educational purposes only. If you need legal advice, you should seek professional assistance.

Remember: if you’re looking for a Legal Will in the Province of British Columbia, then look no further:

Last Will and Testament (British Columbia)

This Will allows you to:

  • name someone (Estate Trustee) to administer your estate and transfer your property at death;
  • make cash gifts, charitable gifts, and gifts of real or personal property to specific beneficiaries; and
  • transfer the residue of your estate (i.e. the left over assets) to your surviving spouse OR to your surviving issue (e.g. children, grandchildren) OR in trust to your surviving spouse with the remainder going to your surviving issue when your spouse passes away.

Remember: this Last Will and Testament is lawyer-prepared, customizable, affordable, and comes with a ton of free guidance (a video tutorial and written guides!). All for just a fraction of the cost a lawyer would charge (which in 2010, was over $344 for a simple Will for just one person: check out page 3 of 6 in this national fee range report).

What about Dependants?

If someone is a dependant in British Columbia and has not been adequately provided for in a Will, they might have some recourse. Section 2 of the Wills Variation Act, R.S.B.C. 1996, c. 490 allow a deceased’s spouse (including common law spouses) or children to apply to the court for support where the deceased has not made adequate provision for their proper support in their Will. If the court finds that the deceased’s spouse or child has shown a need for financial support, then the court may order a certain amount of money be paid to them out of the estate.

What about International Wills?

Unlike other provinces and countries, British Columbia is NOT YET contracting party to the Convention Providing a Uniform Law on the Form of an International Will. That said, when the Wills, Estates, and Succession Act, S.B.C. 2009, c. 13 comes into force (expected in late 2012) that Convention WILL be adopted by British Columbia. When that happens, if a Will is made in the form of an International Will (i.e. in accordance with the form prescribed by that Convention in the Schedule and Annex in the Wills Act or the Wills and Succession Act when the latter Act comes into force) concerning two or more contracting parties, then the Will is valid as between those parties irrespective of where it was made, the location of the assets or the nationality, domicile, or residence of the Testator / Testatrix. At present, some the contracting parties to the Convention include: Belgium, most Canadian provinces (Manitoba, Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, Prince Edward Island, New Brunswick, and Nova Scotia), Cyprus, Ecuador, France, Italy, Iran, Portugal, the Russian Federation, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America. An important difference with an International Will is the requirement that an authorized person (in British Columbia, this will mean a lawyer) attach to the Will a Certificate establishing that the obligations of the Convention have been complied with.

What is a Representation Agreement?

In British Columbia, a “Representation Agreement” is a legal document that allows an adult to name another person (called a “Representative”) to make health care, personal care or financial decisions on their behalf when they can no longer do so on their own. Representation Agreements are governed by the Representation Agreements Act, RSBC 1996, c. 405. Under Section 7 of that Act, an adult may authorize his or her Representative to make decisions about any or all of the following: the adult’s personal care (including where and with whom the adult is to reside), routine management of the adult’s financial affairs (e.g. paying bills, buying food or accommodation, making investments, etc.), major or minor health care, and obtaining legal services (except divorce proceedings). A Representation Agreement must be written, dated, signed and witnessed: section 13 of the Act. Note: some people may not sign a personal directive either on behalf of the maker or as a witness: section 13(5). Keep in mind that a Representation Agreement only has relevance while a person is alive (unlike a Will, which applies only after a person passes away).

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