INTESTACY – Do I Really Need A Will?
The simple answer is YES! Your will gives you some control over what will happen to the things that you own upon your death. You can make sure that the things that you own will go to the people you want to have them.
Your will is a legal document that leaves instructions about what you want done with everything you own at your death. Everything that you own at your death is called your estate.
If you die without a will, there is legislation that sets out who will get your estate. You will have died intestate. If you die with a will that does not fully dispose of your estate, you have died partially intestate. The law that governs what happens to your estate on intestacy is called the Estate Administration Act (BC). (**Separate rules apply for First Nation persons under the Indian Act).
It is important for you to make a will when you are capable of doing so. This means that you are in good health and that you are mentally capable. If you are mentally incapable, you are not able to make a will. Mental capacity requires the following:
- you must understand that you are making a will and disposing of your property
- you must not have a mental disorder (e.g. delusions, dementia)
- you must not be a minor (under age of 19) except in certain circumstances
- you must realize what is in the will and agree that is what you want (knowledge and approval)
- you must make your will of your own free choice and without any undue influence
An important characteristic of joint tenancy is the right of survivorship. With this right, when a joint tenant dies, their interest in the property is extinguished, increasing the holdings of the survivors. On the death of the second to last co-owner, the remaining owner will hold the full interest.
Joint tenancy is often used as an estate planning tool for spouses and, more and more, for children.
Survivorship occurs by operation of law and is an alternative to transfer by will. Joint tenancy eliminates the need to seek probate to obtain a change in the registration of title to land (to remove the name of deceased). Joint tenancy may also offer some insulation from creditors as a creditor is generally unable to seize the deceased joint tenant’s interest in the property as the right to do so is lost on their death. Joint tenancy may also avoid the need for probate and probate fees in relation to certain property.
There are two conventional forms of concurrent ownership: joint tenancy and tenancy in common
A general partnership requires two or more persons working together to carry on business with a view to profit. This structure occurs as a matter of law. You do not need to see a lawyer to create a partnership, but it recommended that you seek legal advice. Many important aspects of the relationship between partners is not dealt with in law and should be addressed in a partnership agreement. Examples of matters to be covered in a partnership agreement include the initial and ongoing capital contributions of partners, the manner in which partner distributions are to made and the admission of new partners.