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).
If you die without a will, the administration of your estate usually takes longer and costs more. This means that your loved ones may receive less at the end of a long, complicated and time-consuming process.
Under intestacy, the following distribution scheme applies:
- spouse and no issue – entire estate to spouse (you may have more than one spouse in law and, if so, the estate is divided proportionately)
- spouse and one child or issue of deceased child – spouse gets first $65,000, household furnishings, life estate in spousal home (as long as spouse lives in the house or rents it, but terminates if the spouse sells the home); spouse and child/issue share residue equally
- spouse and more than one child – spouse gets first $65,000, household furnishings, life estate in spousal; spouse gets one third of residue and two-thirds to children/issue
- issue (no spouse) – entire state to issue per stirpes
- father and/or mother
- brothers and sisters (per stirpes)
- nephews and nieces (per capita)
- other next of kin (same blood line)
- kin of half blood
- provincial crown
Intestacy can be a significant problem if any of the beneficiaries are receiving disability assistance. If a single person has assets of more than $3000 ($5000 per person with dependants), they become ineligible for disability assistance.
The benefits of having a Will are clear. You should make your will NOW. There is no need to wait until you get married, you start a family, or some other type of significant life event occurs. 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.
See you legal advisor to assist you in moving forward with this very important part of you estate plan and obtain the legal advice you need to leave dispose of your estate as you wish.
The information provided on this website is merely an informative guide and should not be relied upon for legal advice. It is intended to provide general information only. It is recommended that you see a lawyer about your particular legal situation and request legal advice.
©Avery Law Office, September 2011